Save 15% on your first purchase. Enter SAVE15 at checkout.

Black and white dog

Environmental Allergies and Your Dog

Environmental allergies, also known as atopic allergies in dogs, are caused by exposure to certain elements both indoors and outdoors. 

Some dogs may be more prone to developing environmental allergies than others. This is due to their skin barrier function not working as it should, with allergens breaking through the outer layer of their skin. 

When this occurs, their immune system responds to environmental allergens, causing inflammation of the skin and resulting in an allergic reaction.

Illustration of dog walking past house

What Is Likely To Cause an Environmental Allergy in Dogs? 

Environmental allergens, such as dust, mold, pollen and grass can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs. 

You may notice some allergens are more common depending on the season, such as pollen allergies in dogs and grass allergies in dogs in the summer months. 

Black and brown dog lying on grass

How Do Food Allergies and Environmental Allergies Differ in Dogs?

When your dog reacts to an allergen in their diet, typically a protein, this can cause an adverse reaction which is known as a food allergy.

Environmental allergies are an inflammatory response to an allergen in your dog's environment, such as pollen and grass.

The common signs of food and environmental allergies can be very similar so it can be hard to know which your dog is suffering from. If you suspect your dog is showing any of the signs mentioned below, always speak to your veterinarian so they can identify and diagnose the issue appropriately.

Learn more about the difference between the two allergies in our article: Are My Dog’s Allergies Caused by Their Food or Environment?

White dog scratching ear on grass

Common Signs of Environmental Allergies in Dogs

The signs of environmental allergies can appear at any point throughout your dog's lifetime, and as mentioned previously, they may be more prominent during certain seasons.

The most common signs of environmental allergies in dogs are as follows:
• Itching
• Scratching
• Chewing and licking their feet
• Rashes
• Redness
• Darkening of the skin

We've also created a useful guide explaining the different types of allergies and commonly associated signs.

Why do environmental allergies occur?

Black and white dog in red dog bed

Supporting Dogs With Environmental Allergies

Once your dog has been diagnosed with an environmental allergy, your veterinarian may recommend some proactive measures to help ease any discomfort and the signs of their reaction.

Depending on the type of allergy, your veterinarian may recommend regularly cleaning your home to prevent dust from gathering, removing houseplants or keeping your dog indoors when mowing the lawn. 

To learn more about proactive measures you can implement to aid your dog, read: Nutritional Support and Management for Dogs with Environmental Allergies.

If you are concerned, speak to your veterinarian to get advice on how to support dogs with environmental allergies.

Understand Environmental Allergies in Dogs

Quickly learn about environmental allergies in dogs with these short frequently asked questions.

Dust mites, mold, pollen, and dander (skin cells) are some of the most common environmental allergies in dogs. These allergens travel through the air. When a dog is exposed to a substance it’s allergic to, its skin becomes itchy and inflamed. The reasons dogs get allergies is an ongoing topic of research, but it’s thought some dogs have a genetic predisposition to developing allergies.

Dogs can develop allergies to many things and the symptoms are often indistinguishable from one another. If your vet decides an environmental allergen isn’t the cause of your dog’s symptoms, they’ll investigate other causes, like an allergy to food or ectoparasites. They’ll also test for other health conditions like endocrine issues and auto-immune disorders, which can also cause skin conditions in dogs.

If you think your pet has environmental allergies, the first thing to do is visit your vet. A change in diet is just one of many possible treatments your vet may recommend, and they’ll need to conduct tests to identify the precise cause of your dog’s allergies. If your vet’s confident your dog has an environmental allergy, they may suggest a new diet like Royal Canin Skin Support, which has special nutrients that can support skin health and ease itching.

Dogs will typically get inflamed skin when they encounter an allergen, so you may see your dog scratching, licking, or chewing themselves more than usual. They may develop a red rash or dark patches on their skin. Skin and ear infections are also commonly linked to allergies.

It means your dog’s immune system is mistaking something in your home or the world outside for a harmful substance and triggering an allergic response. Environmental allergies are sometimes referred to as seasonal allergies because some dogs have allergies that are only triggered at certain times of year – like grass or pollen allergies.

Pack shot of Skin Support Dog Food

Supporting Adult Dogs Through Nutrition

Royal Canin Skintopic is a veterinary-exclusive wet and dry dog food that helps improve dog’s quality of life through the management of environmental skin sensitivities. Skintopic helps reinforce their natural skin barrier and contains omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.  Available in medium/large and small dog dry formulas with a wet complement.