Dogs are particularly prone to chronic skin inflammation known as atopic dermatitis, but cats and horses are at risk, too. The condition, also referred to as “atopy” is usually brought on by allergies and can make animals miserable.

pet itching

Where dogs and cats are concerned, you may notice them licking and chewing at their paws and fur (particularly on the face and in the underarm areas). In fact, cats and dogs may disturb the itchy area to the point that hot spots form. Hot spots are raised, red warm patches that may become infected and even ooze pus and blood if left untreated. Cats may also develop feline acne as part of their allergic reaction. Horses, in addition to chronic itching known as “pruritis,” may develop hives (also referred to as urticaria).

Trigger Allergens

Just as seasonal pollens stir up human allergies, they can make pets miserable, too. Dust and mold can also trigger animals’ allergies.


Allergies run in animal families. In fact, in dogs, some breeds are more prone to atopic dermatitis than others including Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Shar-Pei, Dalmatian, English Bulldog, and English Setter.

Will it Get Better with Time?

Since animals’ skin often becomes more sensitive as they age, atopy tends to linger and even worsen with time. Though they may once have just had seasonal flare-ups of atopic dermatitis, the condition may progress into a year-round problem for many pets as they get older.

How do I get Relief for my Pet?

Since atopic dermatitis is triggered by allergens (many of which are airborne), it’s hard to fully safeguard your pet. Keeping them indoors may help to some extent, but all it takes is a waft of pollen entering the home when you open a door or window to set your pet off. Also, if your pet has a dust allergy, there’s plenty of that indoors (no matter how clean you are!) to make them miserable.

Talk to your veterinarian if your pet shows signs of atopic dermatitis. There are a number of treatment options including medications (to help with short-term symptoms) or allergy immunotherapy (which can desensitize the body to allergens for long-term relief). Allergy immunotherapy is available through shots or through under-the-tongue allergy drops available through PALLERGY™.