Best Dog Allergy Test 2024

dog allergy test

Best Dog Allergy Test

Every year, millions of dogs in the U.S. suffer from allergies that cause them discomfort and affect their quality of life.  That is why having a dog allergy test is vital to determine your pet situation. Some common triggers include environmental factors like pollen, dust mites, and molds. However, dietary allergies from certain proteins are also prevalent. If your dog is exhibiting itchy skin, ear infections, or gastrointestinal issues, dog allergy test is vital in pinpointing the culprit allergen and is key for effective treatment. This article will explore the different types of diagnostic dog allergy tests available to determine your pet’s allergies. By the end, you’ll understand the options to discuss with your vet for properly diagnosing and managing your dog’s allergies.

Dog allergy Skin Testing

Also called intradermal testing, this is typically the first line of diagnostic exams conducted by professional veterinary dermatologists and allergists. Here’s an overview:

  • Skin prick test: An allergen extract is applied to the skin and pierced with a small needle to assess a localized reaction. Quickest test but not as sensitive.
  • Intradermal testing: Small amounts of diluted extract are injected between skin layers under local anesthesia. Considered safer and more reliable than a skin prick test.
  • What’s tested: Common environmental allergens like pollens, mold spores, dust mites, and certain proteins. Panels are regionalized based on local prevalent triggers.
  • How to read results: Redness and swelling within 15-30 minutes indicates a positive reaction or allergy to that substance.
  • Benefits: Fast, non-invasive, and can detect multiple allergies. Drawbacks are discomfort and risk of falsely negative reactions.

Dog allergy Blood Tests

Two main blood-based options are available for dog allergy test screening without direct exposure to allergens:

  • Allergen-specific IgE testing (RAST test): Measures antibodies against individual triggers. Can reveal hidden food or inhalant sensitivities.
  • Total IgE level: A higher than normal amount suggests an atopic or dog allergic tendency, but follow-up tests are then needed.
  • Process: A simple blood draw is analyzed in a dog allergy laboratory.
  • Results time: Within 1-2 weeks from sample receipt at the lab.
  • Sensitivity: Higher than skin tests, but reliability depends on lab and specific assays used.

Elimination Diet Trial

If skin or blood tests are inconclusive, an elimination diet supervised by your vet can pinpoint dietary triggers:

  • Hypoallergenic diet: Novel protein sources not implicated by prior tests are fed exclusively for 8-12 weeks.
  • Challenge food reintroduction: Slowly reincorporate each suspected protein, observing symptoms closely each time.
  • Patience required: Can take months until reactions fully resolve and new triggers appear.
  • Accuracy depends on strict compliance, but allows identification of uncommon food sensitivities.
  • Drawbacks are time commitment and risk of nutritional deficiency if too many foods are permanently excluded.

Combining dog allergy testing methods often yields the clearest diagnostic picture for prescription therapeutic diets or allergen-specific desensitization immunotherapy.

Environmental Control and Testing

For pets struggling with environmental allergies, identifying indoor inhalant triggers through testing allows targeted prevention steps:

  • Allergen concentration analysis: Air or surface samples check levels of dust, pollen, mold spores and mite allergens present.
  • High Environmental Control (HEC) or Low Allergen diet trials: Removing suspected triggers through deep cleaning and air purifiers supports skin symptom relief.
  • Mite counts: Examining dust sample debris under a microscope reveals visible levels of this pervasive home allergen.
  • Mold culture: Growing samples identifies specific mold species present. Some cladosporium, aspergillus and penicillium molds frequently cause allergies.
  • Miticide usage: Anti-mite solutions and encasements may help reduce reaction-causing house dust mite populations if implicated as a trigger.

Combining home testing with dietary modification and environmental controls improves allergy management long-term.

Dog Allergen Immune Therapy

Also called desensitization or hypo-sensitization, this prescription treatment utilizes tiny controlled doses of allergens to build tolerance over time:

  • Subcutaneous or “shot” immunotherapy: Intradermal injections of progressively stronger dilutions administered regularly for 3-5 years is the traditional method. Risk of adverse reactions exist with this approach.
  • Sublingual immunotherapy: Placement of extremely dilute allergen droppers or flavored tablets under the pet’s tongue provides a safer oral route with steady results seen in 1-2 years.
  • Requires dedicated owner compliance over an extended period to sustain benefits.
  • Mainstay treatment for severe or recurrent inhalant allergies after lifestyle modifications.

Promotes long-term remission during and even after therapy cessation versus symptom suppression alone. Close veterinary oversight ensures safety.


Choosing the Right Dog Allergy Test

Comprehensive allergy testing requires evaluating your dog’s history and clinical signs:

  • Initial skin testing determines multiple common allergens quickly.
  • Blood work reveals hidden food triggers if skin responses ambiguous.
  • Young dogs may show false negatives on allergen screens, so a diet trial provides clarity.
  • Chronic ear infections suggest inhalant testing or environmental assessments.
  • Recurring GI upset points to a potential food sensitivity investigation.

Work with your professional vet to decide the sequence of screening that yields the clearest diagnostic picture. Repeat or advanced testing may be needed depending on initial inconclusive results. The right diagnostic approach ensures proper allergen identification and tailored treatment strategy.

Implementing Diet and Lifestyle Changes

Once your dog’s true triggers are pinpointed, lifestyle modifications constitute the cornerstone of alleviating symptoms:

  • Strictly avoid confirmed allergen foods or inhalants through close ingredient reading and deep home cleansing.
  • Feed a hydrolyzed protein or novel protein therapeutic diet as directed permanently.
  • Use allergen-proof bedding, toys, and wash all surfaces in hot water weekly.
  • Run HEPA air purifiers in key rooms and limit outdoor access when pollen or mold counts spike.
  • Bathe regularly with a veterinarian-recommended hypoallergenic shampoo and rinse formula.
  • Apply corticosteroid creams short-term only and as directed by your vet under supervision.

With diligence, environmental control significantly improves quality of life for allergy sufferers. Daily compliance sets your dog up for clinical remission.

Managing Flare-Ups Effectively

No lifestyle is 100% provocation-free, so know how to quickly respond if symptoms flare:

  • Identify suspected re-exposure source through sleuthing ingredients, travel or season changes.
  • Bath immediately with oatmeal or anti-itch formulas to remove irritants.
  • Administer oral antihistamines or cytopoint injections as directed by your vet previously.
  • Contact your vet if reactions persist more than 48 hours or worsen despite home treatment.
  • Have a back-up hypoallergenic diet readily available in case of accidental exposures.
  • Monitor for secondary skin infections and treat aggressively with antifungals or antibiotics if infection sets in.

Being proactive with management prevents unnecessary suffering. Consult your vet team regularly for any changes in treatment plans over time.

Long-Term Dog Allergen Therapy

With consistent avoidance and veterinary treatments, many pets achieve remission from their underlying atopic dermatitis. However, others require indefinite immunotherapy:

  • Sublingual or subcutaneous allergen shots sustain tolerance when taken as prescribed.
  • Yearly skin or blood rechecks determine if allergen profiles have shifted requiring adjustments.
  • Monitor for side effects and be prepared to pause therapy temporarily if issues develop.
  • Good communication between owners and vets ensures the safest, most effective long-term management strategy.
  • Alternative options like acupuncture, chiropractic or herbal formulas supplement standard care for some dogs.

While a chronic condition, close multimodal allergy care allows affected pets to enjoy normal activity and comfort levels long-term.


In Summary
Canine allergies present differently in each case, so thorough diagnostic testing pairs with lifestyle changes for lasting relief. By understanding your dog’s unique sensitivities, you can give them the best quality of life through vigilant allergen avoidance and working closely with your veterinary team. Don’t lose hope – with commitment to testing, trigger identification and specialized care, many dogs find long-lasting allergy control and comfort.