Allergies are common in poodles, and dogs in general. An allergic reaction is an immune response to something in which the body is overly sensitive. Veterinarians see a lot of skin problems in dogs and cats. There are numerous conditions that cause problems with a dog or cat’s skin, but the most common is allergies.

A dog who is allergic to something will show it through skin problems and itching. It may seem logical that if a dog is allergic to something he inhales (atopy) like certain pollen grains, he will have a runny nose; if he is allergic to something he eats (food allergy), he may vomit; or if allergic to an insect bite (urticaria or hives), he may develop a swelling at the site of the bite.

In reality, your dog will seldom have these signs. Instead, he will have a mild to severe itching sensation over his body and maybe a chronic ear infection. In addition, allergic dogs will often chew on their feet until they are irritated and red (the feet are the only place dogs have sweat glands and these become inflamed with allergies). They may rub their faces on the carpet or couch, or scratch their sides and belly.

Signs Your Poodle May Have Allergies

  • Chewing on feet
  • Rubbing the face on the carpet
  • Itchy skin, biting and scratching the body
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Hair loss
  • Open sores from biting and scratching

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The skin lesions seen in an allergic dog are usually the result of him mutilating his skin through chewing and scratching. Sometimes there is hair loss, which can be patchy or inconsistent over the body leaving a mottled appearance. The skin itself may be dry and crusty, reddened, or oily depending on the dog. It is very common to get secondary bacterial infections of the skin due to these self-inflicted lesions.

Allergies are also, the most common underlying cause of ear problems in dogs. Because the wax-producing glands of the ear overproduce as a response to the allergy. Bacteria and yeast often “over grow” in the excessive wax and debris and they get ear infections.

An allergic reaction to a vaccination usually causes facial swelling in a short time after the injection. I think it’s possible having an allergy in the first place and getting vaccinated on top of it caused the allergic reaction, but it could have been an insect bite or a small sore that got infected. I do know that in the future, I will be careful to make sure nothing else is going on.

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Common Allergens

  • Trees
  • Grass
  • Weed pollens
  • Fabrics such as wool or nylon
  • Rubber and plastic materials
  • Foods and food additives such as individual meats, grains, or coloring
  • Milk products
  • House dust and dust mites
  • Flea bites

You poodle must be exposed to the allergen for some time before the allergy develops. Exceptions may occur such as an allergy to insect bites, which may develop after only a few exposures. Allergies usually start to develop between one and three years of age. They may start as late as age six or eight, but over 80% start earlier. To make matters worse, as the animal ages, it usually develops allergies to additional things and the response to any one allergen becomes more severe.