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Dog Allergic Reaction


An allergic reaction is an event your dog’s immune system triggers when a certain substance enters the system. The body does everything it can to fight off this uninvited guest and this fight can result in extreme actions.

Although allergic reactions can come without any prerequisites, some are inherited. This means that allergies can come from previous blood lines.

Dog allergies come in many different shapes and forms. Mild reaction are itching, swelling and redness of the skin. Severe reaction may include organ failure, shock and even death.

Common causes of allergic reactions in dogs

There is a lot of research going on about this, and until today there are many allergies that have an unknown reason for showing up. Although your dog can experience allergic from a lot of different substances, the most common ones are:

Chemical products


Food products (especially grains)


Bites and stings

Dog allergic reaction symptoms

Allergic reactions can range from very mild symptoms until severe, life-threatening situations.

Mild reaction include:

Redness of skin



Runny nose


Mild allergic reactions can easily progress into other clinical conditions such as ear infections etc.

The more severe reactions are:

Sudden increase or decrease in blood pressure

Heart issues




Difficulty breathing


Nausea and dizziness

Swelling of tongue, neck and face

Diarrhea & vomiting


These severe reaction can come fast, even just seconds after exposure to a substance. If you dog experiences any of these systems, you should go to the vet immediately!

Anaphylactic shock in dogs

Anaphylaxis. That’s the correct term for a severe allergic reaction. This severe reaction is caused by substances which are not familiar to the dog’s body. They are also known as antigen or allergen.

Unlike a mild allergic reaction, where the immune system is fighting off the foreign substance, the body overacts in extreme ways during an anaphylactic shock.

Anaphylaxis can develop over time and is in some cases inherited. Research has shown that anaphylaxis affects mainly the liver, causing gastrointestinal clinical signs. 

Anaphylactic shock in dogs symptoms

Here’s how you can recognize a potential anaphylaxis:

Difficulty breathing




Increased or decreased heart rate

Intensive or extreme vomiting or diarrhea

Excessive drooling

Extreme swelling occurs

Dog allergic reaction treatment and first aid

Mild allergic reaction may disappear by themselves, but stronger reactions require professional veterinary care. The most common first aid procedure for severe allergic reactions and anaphylaxis is giving adrenaline.

Although most people don’t have this at home, your vet may prescribe it if your dog has a history of severe allergic reactions.

If you don’t have adrenaline by hand, you should rush to the vet immediately!

Keep an eye on vital signs, such as breathing and pulse. Monitor the dog’s responsiveness while you’re on the way to the vet.

While you’re on the way, call to the vet and tell them that you’re coming. Give as much information as possible!

Dog allergic reaction treatment

When your dog experiences mild allergic reactions, you should figure out the source. Your vet can help you out with that by doing a variety of clinical tests. 

Often times, mild allergic reactions come from the dog’s diet. Especially low quality diets with a lot of meal, corn, soy or grains can cause problems. This is often solved by starting a special hypoallergenic diet.

However, these diets are generally very expensive, so it’s better to avoid problems and start feeding quality food from the start.

If the allergic reaction is not a result of the diet, your dog may need medicinal treatment. If you suspect that your dog suffers from allergies, contact your vet ASAP. He or she will can investigate the source of the allergy and provide a treatment.

Remember: What seems harmless at first, can soon become a life threatening situation!

How long does an allergic reaction last in dogs?

This fully depends on the dog and the substance. Mild forms can disappear in a few hours, but may also last for weeks if not months. The same goes for severe cases. Although extreme cases are often life-threatening, chronic allergic reactions may be controlled by medicine.  

Dog allergic reaction to food

The most common allergies come from the dog's diet. Generally speaking, these are mild forms and require just a change in diet. Pay close attention to your dog's diet and investigate the food he or she is consuming. Does it contain a lot of corn and soy? 

Corn and soy are common ingredients in cheap dog food and provide little to no valuable nutrition. Change your dog's diet to a high quality meal plan, suitable for his or her situation. There are a variety of high quality brands providing different types of food, depending on your dog's size, health and physical activity. 

If the allergic reactions persist, you should try a hypoallergic diet. This is usually prescribed by your vet. 

That was it for today! 

Thank you for staying with me, I hope you've learned some useful information. 

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