It’s normal for a dog to scratch an itch every now and then, but if you’ve noticed that your pooch is scratching more than usual, then they might have an allergy. This is especially true if the incessant scratching is accompanied by other symptoms such as hair loss or irritated skin.
There’s nothing worse than seeing your canine pal being uncomfortable and struggling. But with so many possible allergens, it’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause of your pup’s itching. If you’ve tried changing their diet or bathing them with a hypoallergenic shampoo and yet nothing seems to be working, the culprit could be something that’s right under your nose: the dog bed.
An allergy occurs when your pup’s immune system overreacts to a substance that is normally harmless, such as a plant, food, or insect. With allergies, the immune response is more harmful than helpful, causing itching, possibly coughing or sneezing, and sometimes even digestive problems.
A lot of things can act as allergens, and yes, that includes your dog’s bed. Though contact allergy is the least common type of allergy in canines, certain materials used in dog beds can still cause itchy reactions, with wool and synthetic fabrics being the usual suspects. Fillings like down and latex memory foam, as well as vinyl coating, can be sources of discomfort for sensitive dogs too.
A dog who is allergic to their bed may have symptoms such as:
- Skin irritation at the points of contact, especially the stomach and feet
- Hair loss
- Incessant scratching
- Skin cuts or abrasions due to scratching
While keeping your dog’s bed clean is important, using a laundry detergent that your pup is allergic to can cause more harm than good. Even if your dog never goes near the product itself, coming into contact with laundered bedding can be enough to trigger an allergic reaction, usually around the face and groin.
Signs of a laundry detergent allergy in dogs include:
- Excessive scratching
- Hair loss
- Skin rashes
- Chronic ear infections
- Face rubbing
A common allergen in dogs, dust mites live in textiles such as carpets, upholstery, cloth toys, and bedding. These microscopic creatures feed on dander, or flakes of dead skin shed by humans and other animals. Additionally, the temperature and humidity of a sleeping body combined with a dark environment creates an ideal setting for dust mites to flourish. Dust mites don’t actually bite your dog, rather, it is their feces that causes your canine pal to itch.
Symptoms of a dust mite allergy in dogs include:
- Generalized or localized itching
- Ear infections
Fleas can be present wherever your pup spends time, including bedding, furniture, carpets, and floorboards. A leading cause of allergic reactions in canines, fleas inject a small amount of saliva whenever they bite to feed. For sensitive dogs, even a single flea bite can cause uncomfortable itching for days.
Signs of a flea allergy in canines include:
- Hair loss on the lower back, tail base, and rear legs, also known as “the flea triangle”
- Intense scratching
- Red, flaky skin
- Flea dirt or flea droppings in the fur
Some symptoms of a mold allergy in canines are:
- Persistent scratching
- Dry or irritated skin
- Generalized or localized hair loss
- Chronic ear infections
- Paw licking or chewing
- Respiratory problems
Because mold is present everywhere all year round, it is impossible to fully avoid it. Minimize exposure by keeping your dog’s bed out of places that tend to get damp and retain moisture, such as the basement, laundry room, and cluttered spaces. When washing your dog’s bed, be sure to let it air dry completely to keep mold and mildew at bay.
If your pooch is allergic to their bed, simply swapping it out for another one made with different materials can bring some much needed relief. If you are still seeing symptoms, talk with your veterinarian to explore other solutions to help your pup be itch-free.