Dog Allergy Stories. Opal the Shar Pei.

Opal the Shar Pei

Opal is a five year old purebred Shar Pei and a champion show dog.  She is one of the top dogs of her breed in the country and also a wonderful family pet. Opal’s owner Sarah inherited Opal after she retired.  Opal lives in the same home as Bailey, another of our featured allergy dogs.  

Sarah says Opal never showed signs of allergies until she moved from her kennel into Sarah’s house.  Sarah isn’t certain what the cause of Opal’s allergies is, but she does know that her symptoms started after she moved indoors.  Sarah first discovered that Opal might have allergies when she started scratching her skin until it started to bleed. Opal also suffered from hair loss.

“Even top quality dogs from great breeding can have allergies,” said Sarah.  “The key for owners is to find a way to make their dog comfortable.”

Opal and Bailey - Allergy Dogs

When Opal shows signs of allergies, Sarah has found that giving her a Benadryl once a day does the trick. She’ll give Opal two per day if her allergies are particularly bothersome.  The Benadryl keeps Opal comfortable and stops the itching.

Allergies aren’t keeping Opal down.  Sarah plans to enter Opal in Rally and Obedience next year. Go Opal!

Does your dog have allergies too? If so, we’d love to hear your story. Please email us at to share your dog allergy story.

Dog Allergy Causes. Dust Allergies & Dust Mites.

Like humans, dogs can also become sensitive to dust and develop allergies over time.  When we talk about dust allergies, what we’re really talking about are dust mites.

Dust mites, related to spiders, are creatures who feed off of skin cells shed by people and animals.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you look at that photo!) these little mites are so small that they can only be seen with a microscope.  This means you could have a raging dust mite problem and not know it.

Dust mites are happiest in warm, humid environments. And, since they feed off of dead skin cells, they are most often found in bedding, furniture and carpeting.  Bedrooms are a popular hangout for dust mites.  Many dogs sleep in their owners’ bedroom, which can be a problem if they are sensitive to dust mites.

If your dog has a dust mite allergy, you’ll likely see them itching and chewing at their skin.  When our dog Elsie was allergy tested, we found that one of the many items she was allergic to, was dust.  Does this mean we found a way to eliminate all dust from our home?  Heck no!  Fat chance of that. But, we have found ways to make our home less hospitable for these little pests.

Later, when we discuss dog allergy treatments, we’ll talk about how you can minimize dust mite problems in your home.

Dog Allergy Symptom #1. Itchy, Scratchy Skin.

All dogs scratch themselves, right?  Of course, it’s part of being a dog.  There’s the occasional, normal head scratching and then there’s allergy itching. Allergic dogs scratch as if they want to remove a layer of skin – and they often will.

The itchiest areas are often their ears, muzzles and chin. If your dog often rubs their chin on the floor, rubs their paws over their eyes or scratches at their ears – they may have allergies. When my dog Elsie’s allergies were at their worst, she would wake up every morning and rub her face on the carpet. When she wasn’t rubbing her face, she was scratching at her mouth and ears.

Elsie with her ear-protecting bandage

Over time, this excessive scratching not only causes open cuts and sores, but can also lead to infections. At one point, we had to wrap Elsie’s head in bandages to prevent her from opening up existing sores on her ears.  During less dramatic scratching sessions, we would stick Band-aids on the tips of her ears to minimize the bleeding.  Sure, she would scratch them off, but they would usually hold for a couple of hours.

Although constant scratching is often a symptom of allergies, it’s important to know that other conditions such as mange and fleas can contribute to this itching.  First consult with your veterinarian prior to taking any steps to treat allergies.