If your dog is licking or scratching excessively, it’s time to do some allergy testing. Allergies caused by a dog’s diet may create behavioral issues, resulting in increased irritability and sudden aggressiveness in dogs. You’ll want to determine what is causing your dog’s allergies. We’ve reviewed some of the best dog allergy tests to help you choose the right at-home testing kit for your dog.
Choosing the best at-home dog allergy test is crucial. A testing kit’s accuracy affects your approach to addressing your dog’s allergies. This, in turn, determines how effective your treatment will be and how much your dog will improve. With that said, keep in mind that with allergies, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible, before a secondary infection begins. If you fail to do so right away, your dog could get those dreaded “hot spots” and suffer from inflammation or hair loss.
What are Dog Allergy Tests?
Using an at-home dog allergy testing kit is the most effective way to determine if your furry best friend has allergies. Numerous dog allergy testing companies will provide dog parents with all the necessary tools to take saliva or fur samples that get sent off to the lab via mail. If you suspect that your dog may be prone to allergies, it may be a good idea to try out a testing kit so that you can determine what needs to be changed at home.
In a rush? Here are the top picks!
With very positive ratings, we believe the 5Strands allergy testing kit for dogs is very good. 5Strands scans your pet’s hair sample (10-15 strands) using bioresonance technology to provide an extensive and easy-to-understand report.
This test will help to identify temporary imbalances in your dog’s body that may be causing your dog’s unwanted intolerance symptoms. These symptoms are non-life-threatening responses and usually take up to a few hours or several days to show up in pets. Intolerances do not involve the immune system.
You can expect to receive your pet’s test results within 7-10 days after the hair sample arrives at the 5Strands processing center. The Food Intolerance Test includes 250+ items, including proteins, grains, vegetables, fruits, fats, seafood, additives, and preservatives. Keep in mind that if your dog shows a food intolerance, it means it lacks the digestive enzyme to break that particular food down. You’ll need to stop feeding your dog that food to help mitigate their allergies.
The Environmental Intolerance Test includes 100+ items, including fabrics, cleaning supplies, grasses, trees, mold, other animals’ dander, and chemicals. The severity of response upon exposure to each item is measured and provided in an instant 60-90-day elimination guideline.
- Utilizes bioresonance technology
- Offers 4 different types of tests
- Provides instant elimination guidelines for temporary imbalances
- Measures your dog’s DNA’s reaction to different food and environmental factors
- Tests for 300 items which include most proteins, fruits, vegetables, grasses, trees, preservatives, and grains
- Only requires a few strands of hair
- Does not involve the immune system
- Shows food intolerances
- Can be used with cats
- Easy to understand at-home allergy test
- Website details all allergens they test for
- Takes a long time to receive the results
The Canine Allergy Test with Saliva Collection Device differs from the fur test that 5Strands offers. This test measures the proteins in your dog’s sample collected with a saliva collection device. The test has several positive ratings and helps you discover the food and environmental factors your dog is intolerant of.
For the price, it’s worthwhile to test if you think your dog is allergic to common food ingredients. The Canine Allergy Test screens for significantly fewer food and environmental allergens than the 5Strands test, but it can still help you identify what your dog is allergic to.
The Canine Allergy Test is highly effective at detecting allergens affecting your dog. This at-home canine sensitivity test measures immunoglobulins, which react to allergens. It will adequately pinpoint environmental and food intolerances in your dog.
- Affordable allergy testing kit
- Includes easy-to-follow recommendations on the best foods for your pet
- Intolerance and sensitivity test
- Supplements don’t interfere with the test
- Uses proteins in your pet’s saliva to measure their sensitivities in around 100 common allergens
- Very affordable
- Involves simple at-home saliva collection
- Measures proteins found in your dog and state up to 100 plus allergens
- Shows you which foods to avoid
- Custom analysis
- Informative and attractive packaging
- Results take between 2 to 3 weeks
This internationally patented food intolerance test allows you to find your dog’s food sensitivities and feed the right diet for optimal health. It is by far the best dog allergy test available for testing at home.
It’s relatively high priced but measures 112 ingredients. This is a GOLD standard allergy test and one of the most accurate tests on the market, which measures 2 antibodies (IgA and IgM) twice with robotic automation. You’ll even see many veterinarians use this test.
By comparison, hair, serum, and DNA tests are not clinically predictive of adverse food effects. This test measures antibodies for 24 purified food extracts or ingredients in the saliva of dogs. High antibody levels indicate that the animal has a food sensitivity and intolerance to the food.
Many people mistake this food allergy test for a DNA test. However, this test will not give you the DNA results for your dog. High antibody levels indicate that the animal has a food sensitivity and intolerance to the food. It’s extremely accurate and will help narrow your dog’s allergies. One of our favorite veterinarians, W. Jean Dodds, developed this test, and it’s one of the best choices you can make.
- Veterinary formulated and approved
- Gold Standard for dog allergy testing
- Recognizes 56 foods by easy saliva collection
- Can detect a developing or latent food reaction in dogs as early as 5-7 months before overt clinical signs
- Only 0.5 ml of saliva is required for testing
- Tested more than 17,000 canine samples via Nutriscan
- Small animal saliva collection device for easy saliva collection
- Measures 2 antibodies (IgA and IgM) twice with robotic automation
- Measures antibodies to 24 selected foods in the saliva of dogs and cats
- Veterinary-approved and formulated
- May be pricey, but definitely worth it!
The EasyDNA testing kit for dogs gives pet parents information about foods and supplements their dogs may be allergic to. There’s also a guide as to what products, food, treats, and supplements can be beneficial for your dog or for which they show no reaction. The test also gives you detailed information about the allergens that the dog tested positive for.
The EasyDNA Dog Allergy test is one of the most affordable allergy tests on the market. It will not be as accurate as the Nutriscan food intolerance and sensitivity kit, but it will help narrow down the ingredients your dog is allergic to. It will also point out various intolerance levels to show how allergic your dog is to each ingredient.
- 119 allergens tested
- Demonstrates 3 intolerance levels
- EasyDNA has over 18 years of experience in the pet/human DNA niche
- Uses the latest state-of-the-art technology and equipment
- Uses proteins in the dog’s system to find intolerances and sensitivities
- Simple at-home collection
- Uses a three-tier ranking system: strong intolerance, mild intolerance, and no intolerance
- Uses accredited laboratories
- Detailed report
- Discounts when purchasing multiple tests
- Offers an add-on Premium package for 3 tests, including the Dog Genetic Age test, Breed test, and Allergy test.
- Results take 2 -3 weeks
- Can only purchase via their website, not on Amazon
Glacier Peak Holistics’ Pet Wellness Life Stress Scan uses Biofeedback Technology with hair and saliva samples. They use these samples to measure food and environmental factors that an animal has been exposed to. Their ultimate goal is to show you what removing or reducing incompatible items can do to help your dog’s allergy symptoms. This test can identify energetic imbalances based on over 300 food and environmental factors.
Biofeedback energy status analysis measures the body’s bioenergetic balance or homeostasis in relation to various food and environmental factors that an animal has been exposed to. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) would call this a balance of yin or yang, with the ultimate goal of removing or reducing incompatible energetic disturbances that diminish the body’s Qi or life force.
- Uses Biofeedback Technology with hair and saliva samples
- Biofeedback can read the energetic resonance that emanates from hair and saliva samples.
- This test identifies imbalances and disturbances in the entire body
- Non-traditional testing
- Organic cotton swabs provided
- Scan searches for and identifies the stressors in your pet’s life
- Identifies over 300 food and environmental triggers
- Priced affordably
- The sample sheet includes a list of items that may be affecting your pet (200+ food items, 100+ environmental triggers), and beneficial herbal and holistic remedy suggestions
- Also available for cats and horses
- A phone consultation is included in the cost of the kit
- Free shipping
- 10-14 day results
Does my Dog Have Allergies?
Allergies in dogs present much like allergies in humans. Like their pet parents, dogs can be exposed to allergens causing them to have watery eyes, sneeze, scratch, lick, and even become aggressive. Some allergies cause behavioral changes in dogs. Here are common symptoms of dog allergies:
- Itching of the face, ears, front legs, and stomach area
- Secondary skin infections with scabbing and wounds, as well as hair loss
- Entire body itch
- Licking and chewing of paws, with itching of the face, and even the eyes.
Research demonstrates that less than 10% of dogs are known to be genetically predisposed to sensitivities from allergens in the home. Airborne allergen allergies in dogs usually begin at around 6 months to 3 years in dogs. If your dog has the symptoms listed above, he or she may be reacting to household allergens that can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin or gastrointestinal or respiratory tract.
Why Should You Test Your Dog For Allergies?
Simply put, allergen tests help identify the source of your dog’s allergies. The most common symptoms of allergies in dogs include pain, itching, flaking, scabbing, hair loss, and infection. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian as soon as you notice excessive itching or licking.
As to why you should test your dog, it is your job as a pet owner to ensure your pet’s well-being. Should your dog have allergies, you must be proactive in controlling what your dog eats and/or interacts with. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), there are three main causes of skin allergies:
The following sections discuss these main causes and what you can do to address them.
Fleas and Flea Allergy Dermatitis
We adore our dogs, and there’s nothing worse than seeing them itch incessantly. Additionally, it may be hard to spot the allergic reaction at the beginning of a flea allergy. Dogs with flea allergy dermatitis will have symptoms like itching, chewing, and scratching, resulting in red scabby skin and hot spots.
The affected skin will be hot to the touch and may also show up as postulates and/or wet or dry scabs, which dogs will keep licking, causing a painful secondary skin infection. Your veterinarian can treat hot spots in dogs, but you’ll need to visit your vet as soon as you notice the excessive licking and scratching, even if you don’t notice any fleas on your dog.
Additionally, indoor dogs can get fleas brought in via shoes or clothing. Fleas are not always visible, and dogs can often lick them off when grooming excessively.
Fleas transmit diseases and cause allergies or anemia in pets. With over 2,200 species of fleas recognized today, there are fortunately only a few species within U.S. homes. The cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) and the dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis) are two common species. Use a safe and effective flea preventative for dogs, and as with any drug, ensure minimal side effects.
Dog food allergies seem to be common in dogs today. Because symptoms are similar in food and airborne allergies, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian immediately. Allergies don’t just disappear but worsen with skin sensitivities developing into bacterial infections. Discuss switching to a grain-free dog food formula if your dog has a dog food allergy.
Dog Food Allergy Symptoms
A dog food ingredient allergy can occur even during puppyhood. It’s your job to figure this out early on to prevent your dog from ongoing hot spots and sensitivities that are painful and exhausting. Just like with people, these signs should not be ignored. Take your dog to the vet to get diagnosed and treated. Allergies are painful and should not be ignored. Here are some signs your dog may have dog food allergies:
- Itching and licking his paws
- Excessive itching and licking of body parts
- Chronic gastrointestinal issues with plenty of gas and diarrhea (visit vet ASAP)
- Inflammation with pain
- Repeated chronic ear infections
- Head shaking, behavioral changes, whining
AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein says that “true food allergies result in an immune response, which can range in symptoms from skin conditions (hives, facial swelling, itchiness), gastrointestinal signs (vomiting and/or diarrhea) or a combination of both. In some rare cases, a severe reaction resulting in anaphylaxis can occur—similar to severe peanut allergies in humans.”
The AKC adds that additional symptoms of food allergies could include poor skin and coat, and chronic ear or foot infections. Thankfully, you will have quick treatment if the particular foods can be identified and eliminated from your dog’s diet. It is important to note that limited ingredient diets need to be veterinary approved prior to your conducting a diet trial with your dog.
Dog Allergy Tests Simplify Elimination Diet Trials
Allergy tests are great because in cases where a diet trial would be difficult to accomplish, you’ll get some direction as to which ingredients to avoid for the trial. It greatly simplifies a limited-ingredient diet which is great because they’re so difficult to do.
Dr. Heinze of the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center explains, “while food allergies (also called adverse food reaction or ‘AFR’) are uncommon in pets, diagnosing them or ruling them out completely remains a frustrating endeavor for veterinarians and pet owners alike. As the ‘gold standard’ – an elimination diet and re-challenge – is difficult and time-consuming, many pet owners and vets reach for simpler methods such as blood and saliva testing.”
However, Dr. Heinze notes that based on recent studies, blood and saliva tests could result in false identification of plenty of common foods as allergens. Diet elimination trials, using allergy test results as a loose guide, should still be conducted so that no unnecessary foods are eliminated from your dog’s diet.
Nutritional Deficiencies & Hyperthyroidism
On the opposite side of the spectrum from food allergies, nutritional deficiencies may also lead to skin problems in dogs. Hyperthyroidism could also be a cause of skin problems. Even though it may present like allergies, it may not be allergies at all! A low-functioning thyroid can result in greasy, itchy skin. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, you’ll need to visit your vet to diagnose and treat hyperthyroidism.
As for nutritional deficiencies, a diet that skips out on key micronutrients or the correct amount of fatty acids can also result in skin issues. If the GI tract does not efficiently absorb nutrients, like leaky gut syndrome, your vet will most likely treat it as a suboptimal GI tract health issue and not a diet issue.
Environmental allergens may be slightly harder to control or eliminate. The AKC encourages everyone to work with their veterinarian to manage their dog’s symptoms. An at-home dog allergy test can help you rule out certain allergens at a significantly lower cost than veterinary testing.
Dogs’ skin allergies are painful and can cause serious secondary bacterial infections. As with all skin and health issues in pets and people, don’t let them linger because they become more difficult to treat. Untreated allergies could result in lick granuloma (when a dog obsessively licks its lower limbs).
Treatment for dog allergies can be a lifetime process, meaning you’ll need to be a hands-on pet parent since dogs with sensitivities may have some recurring symptoms. That said, we will review the best allergy tests for dogs.
If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, an allergy test will greatly simplify your elimination diet trials. Additionally, an allergy test will help you identify environmental factors to try to control in your dog’s surroundings.
Dog Allergy Tests Help Identify Environmental Irritants
When determining whether your furry best friend is suffering from allergies, you should consider whether the symptoms are seasonal or occur year-round. If they’re seasonal, they’ll affect your dog at certain times of the year, probably resulting from environmental allergens. Various pollens or fleas could affect dogs more during the summer months. (Nonseasonal allergies would most likely be food allergies.)
If your dog has a sensitive stomach or watery eyes, it’s always a good idea to use an allergy testing kit. The testing kit can help identify environmental allergens so you can remove them from your home or reduce your dog’s contact with them if they occur outside. However, these kits should never replace a veterinary consult and proper diagnosis with treatment for your dog’s condition.
Your vet will diagnose the underlying allergens via blood or intradermal allergy testing. Following diagnosis, your vet may recommend eliminating known allergens. If this is not possible, your vet may recommend Benadryl or other medications (see below), or your vet may start your dog on an allergy desensitization regime.
With a desensitization regime, the purpose is to get your dog’s body used to the allergens so it does not react negatively. Your vet will use the allergy testing results to create custom oral drops or injections. Your dog will then be given these medications over a period of time to desensitize its immune system to the allergens. This can take months to do. The good news is that this does work, and dogs do improve.
Pet Meds for Skin Allergies
Keep working with your veterinarian so that therapy is completely effective and minimizes itching, skin infections, hot spots, and hair loss. Your dog may have to take antibiotics or antifungal meds for a secondary skin infection. He or she may also need antihistamines to help ease itching by limiting inflammation. Topical medication is also used in dogs with skin allergies. This may consist of the following:
Your vet will thoroughly examine and treat your dog according to the specific diagnosis, which could be bacterial or fungal. You may have to opt for a cone so your dog does not lick off its pet meds.
Work closely with your vet, and don’t skip follow-up appointments. Sometimes your dog may need to go on a steroid or other immunomodulating drug to help relieve his inflammation, swelling, and excessive itching and licking. Although steroids are not the best drugs, they work fast and may be beneficial in severe allergy cases.
How to Choose the Best Dog Allergy Test?
You’re probably questioning why choosing a good allergy test is important and thinking they’re all as effective. Dog allergy testing kits will usually provide you with a list of allergens that could be triggering skin sensitivities and reactions. These allergy tests are usually effective in diagnosing intolerances and sensitivities your dog may be prone to.
Tests will usually give you information about food ingredients and supplements that may be causing adverse reactions. Allergy test results may do the following:
- Give you detailed information about the allergens that your dog tested positive for
- Indicate dietary and lifestyle guidelines to improve your dog’s health
- Discuss elimination diets, and also may discuss the use of topical treatments, supplements, Omega-3 oils, and discuss the use of corticosteroids.
Allergy testing will also indicate whether there is a strong intolerance, mild intolerance, or no intolerance to the allergen. You’ll receive your results within a few weeks, usually 2-3 weeks. With that said, if you prefer to do testing at your veterinarian, keep in mind that allergy testing costs may be substantially higher at your vet.
Additionally, if you’ve done private testing via allergy testing kits, your vet may have a preference as to which one you should use. So it only makes sense to reach out to your veterinarian first to discuss the best options.
Dog Allergy Test Costs from a Veterinarian
Skin testing costs for allergies can range from $195 to $250. It’s also good to keep in mind that veterinary dermatologists specialize in skin disorders and that your vet may recommend that you see one. Costs for blood tests run between $200 to $300, with skin testing between $195 to $200, and treatments with allergy shots at around $140 per month, depending on where you live.
FAQs about Best Dog Allergy Test Kits
Do at-home dog allergy test kits test for IgE?
IgE (immunoglobulin E) is an antibody the immune system makes in response to an allergen. The higher levels of IgE in the blood, the more likely your dog has allergies. Dog allergy testing kits do not test for IgE. You must go to a vet to test for IgE levels because it requires a blood test.
Do all at-home dog allergy tests screen for flea allergies?
No. Some dog allergy test kits only focus on specific things, like food allergies. You should make sure to choose a test that fits your needs. If you’re unsure what allergies your dog has, get a kit that tests for food and environmental factors, including fleas. Medication is the best way to get rid of fleas, but if you want a natural way to eliminate fleas, check out our article How To Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs Naturally!
I’ve done my at-home dog allergy test. Can I skip the vet’s allergy test?
It depends. If you think your dog may have allergies, contacting your vet should be Step 1. You should tell your vet you’re interested in an at-home dog allergy test and ask your vet for their recommendation. Once you get the results of the at-home dog allergy test, you should discuss them with your vet. Your vet may want to run additional allergy tests depending on the results. Your at-home dog allergy test results should be considered as a complement to any tests your vet may want to run.
Conclusion for Best Dog Allergy Test
There are many dog allergy tests out there, and sometimes it may be difficult to know which dog allergy testing products to choose. We’ve reviewed some of the best at-home dog allergy testing kits to help you choose the right one for your dog.
Signs of food allergies in dogs are similar to those of airborne allergies. With that said, it’s best to consult your veterinarian at the onset of any allergy symptoms to help treat excessive itching. Your veterinarian will advise you as to the best dog allergic testing kit. Additionally, if your vet suspects a food allergy, they may recommend an elimination diet that is balanced and nutritionally complete.
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Check out the Nutriscan Dog Allergy Test video:
Dr. Sabrina Kong graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in England in 2016 and has been working at a small animal clinic in Northern California since then. She grew up in the Bay Area and got her bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She also became a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner through a program at the University of Tennessee.
When she isn’t in the clinic taking care of her four-legged patients, she enjoys traveling and trying new foods with her friends and her three-legged dog, Apollo. She adopted Apollo from her clinic when he was a puppy with numerous health issues. Dr. Kong truly cares about taking care of animals.