Allergies are generally divided into three groups- environmental (also known as atopy), flea, and food allergy. Environmental is by far the most common, while food allergies only affect around 0.2% of dogs. Potential triggers (or allergens) in the environment can be as diverse as pollens, dander, mold, dust mites and cleaning products. The most common food allergens are beef, lamb, chicken, dairy, and wheat. Given this wide range of different allergens, and the fact that an allergic pet can react similarly to many different triggers, it is very difficult to isolate exactly what may be causing your pet’s symptoms.
The most common sign that your pet may have allergies is general itchiness, which can show as scratching, licking, rubbing against objects, scooting their bottom, or rolling around on their back to scratch a particularly difficult itch! Ear and foot infections are also very common. The allergic response leads to breakdown of the skin’s natural immune functions, which allows bacteria and yeast to easily overgrow and cause nasty infections.