Dog Allergies & Smelly Skin

Allergies can make your dog miserable.
i Collie Dog on Dog Bed image by Janet Wall from

Allergies can cause constant itching, scratching and licking that keep both you and your dog up at night. Some allergies can cause the skin to become greasy and smelly. If you think your dog has allergies, your veterinarian can help stop the misery.


Almost any substance can cause an allergic reaction in dogs, but environmental substances such as dust and pollen, fleas and food ingredients are most likely to cause skin problems. If you've recently changed your dog's food or living arrangements, he may have been exposed to a new substance that causes an allergic reaction.


Symptoms of allergies vary. Some dogs have digestive problems, but most end up with skin issues such as frequent scratching, pulling out fur, hot spots, bald spots and fur-licking. When dogs compulsively lick their skin, this can cause a foul odor. Severe allergies can lead to infection, which can also make the skin smelly. However, these symptoms can also be indicative of other illnesses, so it's important to consult your veterinarian. Keep track of any changes in your dog's life that may be contributing to the allergies and report these to the vet.


Benadryl is an effective temporary remedy for dog allergies that will alleviate itching. Give 1 mg for every pound of your dog's weight. Most Benadryl capsules are 25 mg. Your veterinarian may recommend diet and lifestyle changes, give your dog a cortisone injection to alleviate symptoms, prescribe allergy medication or recommend oatmeal baths.


Systemic yeast infections can also cause the skin to be smelly and may result in severe itchiness. If your dog's fur is greasy and she is itchy with no apparent cause, this is a strong clue that yeast may be a factor. Your veterinarian may recommend antifungal shampoos, probiotic treatments or antifungal medication to alleviate symptoms.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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