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Does your itchy dog have ESP and allergies?

Posted October 16, 2013 in Advice Column, Downtown

Like people, dogs can be allergic to ragweed, grass, pollens, molds and dust mites. Humans’ seasonal environmental allergies are typically shown by sneezing, running nose and red, irritated, watery eyes. But when a dog is affected by seasonal environmental allergies the typical symptoms are much different.

What are the signs of seasonal environmental allergies in dogs? The ESP Test ( — which stands for Ears, Skin and Paws — is a simple check you can do to determine if your dog is showing symptoms of seasonal environmental allergies. Dogs may show one or all three of the signs.

Ears. Fact: Seasonal allergies can cause ear infections with strong odor, discharge, shaking the head, scratching the ears and/or reoccurring infections. Skin. Fact: Seasonal allergies are a major cause of skin infections with itching, licking, red or inflamed skin, skin lesions, rubbing against furniture and/or hair loss. Paws. Fact: Itchy paws can be a sign of allergies. It can be the same thing you are allergic to, causing itching, redness or soreness on the paws, licking leading to hair loss and/or discoloration of the coat from licking.

If you’ve noticed that your dog has ESP and is scratching more often, has ear infections or any other skin issues flaring up this fall, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Information provided by Dr. Nancy T. Peterson, DVM,  Ingersoll Animal Hospital, 3009 Ingersoll Ave., 274-3555.

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