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 which may result 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 at-home dog allergy testing kits, to help you choose the right one for your dog. With that said, keep in mind that with allergies it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before a secondary infection begins. If you fail to do so right away then your dog could get those dreaded “hot spots” and suffer from inflammation or hair loss.
Allergic dermatitis that results from lick-granuloma like syndrome is the most common issue of allergies. With research demonstrating that up to 50% of cases are allergy-related and 50% psychogenic, it’s important to find the best dog allergy test to see if your dog suffers from allergies.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein adds 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.”
Additionally, they add that dogs with food sensitivities can present with a myriad of symptoms, including gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, or dermatological signs like itchiness, poor skin and coat, and chronic ear or foot infections. The AKC in turn encourages everyone to work together with their veterinarian to manage their dog’s symptoms. Using an at-home dog allergy test certainly can help you rule out certain foods at a significantly lower cost than veterinary testing.
Treatment for dog allergies can be a lifetime process meaning that you’ll need to be a hands-on pet parent since dogs with sensitivities may have some level of recurring symptoms.
Nonetheless, if allergies stem from fleas or food sensitivities, in the case where the allergen can be detected and removed from a dog’s environment, then this will be short term if diagnosed and treated right away. As with all skin and health issues in pets and people, don’t let these issues linger on because they become more difficult to treat.
Skin allergies in dogs are not only very painful but can cause serious secondary bacterial infections. Use a safe and effective flea preventative for dogs, and as with any drug, make sure that the side effects are minimal. With that being said, we will review the best allergy tests for dogs.
In a rush? Here are the top picks!
With very positive ratings, we thought that the 5 Strands 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 from 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.
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. Keep in mind that if your dog shows a food intolerance then it means that your dog is lacking the digestive enzyme to break that particular food down. You’ll need to stop feeding your dog that particular food to help mitigate their allergies.
- Utilizes bioresonance technology
- Offers 4 different types of tests
- Provides instant elimination guideline for temporary imbalances
- The frequencies are used to test DNA’s reaction to different food and environmental factors.
- Tests for 300 items which include most proteins, fruits, vegetables, grasses, trees, preservatives, grains,
- Results are available in a week
- 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 is different from a 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 to discover the food and environmental factors that your dog is intolerant of. For the price, it’s worthwhile to test if you think that your dog is allergic to common food ingredients. This allergy tests doing significantly less testing than the one for 5Strands, but can help you identify what your dog is allergic too.
This is a good test with the most effective sources of measuring the allergens that may be affecting a dog’s wellbeing. This at-home canine sensitivity test measures immunoglobulins which react to the allergens. It will adequately point out environmental and food intolerances in your dog.
- Affordable allergy testing kit
- Measures proteins in your dog utilizing a saliva collection device for a full analysis
- Includes easy-to-follow recommendations on the best foods for your pet
- Intolerance and sensitivity test
- Supplements don’t interfere with the test
- This test uses the 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
- Awesome packaging
- Results take between 2 to 3 weeks
This is an internationally patented food intolerance test that allows you to find your dog’s food sensitivities and feed the right diet for optimal health and to thrive. 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 (300 foods) 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. This is a test developed by one of our favorite veterinarians, W. Jean Dodds, and it’s one of the best choices. High antibody levels indicate that the animal has a food sensitivity and intolerance to the food. It’s extremely accurate and will help you narrow down your dog’s allergies.
- Veterinary formulated and approved
- Gold Standard for Dog Allergy Testing
- Recognizes 56 foods by easy saliva collection
- This test can be used to detect a developing or latent food reaction in dogs as early as 5-7 months prior to overt clinical signs
- Only 0.5 ml of saliva is required for testing
- Tested more than 17,000 canine samples via Nutriscan done by 2017
- 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 Easy DNA testing kit for dogs gives pet parents information about foods and supplements that 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 Easy DNA Dog Allergy test is one of the most affordable allergy tests on the market on the market.
It’s not going to be as accurate as the Nutriscan food intolerance and sensitivity kit, but it will help you narrow down the ingredients that your dog is going to be allergic too. It will also point out various intolerance levels to show how allergic your dog is to each of the ingredients.
- 119 allergens tested
- Demonstrates 3 intolerance levels
- Easy DNA has over 18 years of experience in the pet/human DNA niche
- Uses the latest state of the art technology and equipment
- The test uses proteins in the dog’s system to find intolerances and sensitivities
- Priced well
- Simple at-home collection
- Uses a three-tier ranking system: strong intolerance, mild intolerance, and no intolerance
- Uses accredited laboratories
- Detailed report
- Features a second or third dog allergy test purchase with a discount of $89 or a Premium package at $195 for 3 tests which include the Dog Genetic Age test, Breed test, and Allergy test.
- Results take 2 -3 weeks
- Can only purchase via their website
This 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 the dog allergy type 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 has the ability to 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
- Manufactured by Glacier Peak Holistics
- Sample sheet included with items that may be affecting your pet (200+ Food Items, 100+ Environmental triggers, and Beneficial Herbal and Holistic Remedies
- Also available for cats and horses
- A phone consultation is included in the cost of the kit
- Free shipping
- 10-14 day results
What are Dog Allergy Tests?
The most effective way to determine if your furry best friend has allergies is to use an at-home dog allergy testing kit. Numerous dog allergy testing companies will provide dog parents with all the necessary tools to take saliva 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.
How Do Allergy Tests Work?
Limited ingredient diets need to be veterinary approved prior to your conducting a diet trial with your dog. Allergy testing kits utilizes natural antibodies in your dog’s saliva to test for reactivity to a variety of foods.
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 anyhow.
Why Should you Test You Dog For 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.
Cummings Veterinary Medical Center explains that “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,” via Cummings. They also added that two new studies evaluated the most common blood and saliva food allergy/ sensitivity tests.
In the first study, which was done in Europe, investigators compared a popular saliva test and a popular blood test in three groups of dogs – those with known food allergies to identified ingredients, healthy dogs with no allergic signs, and dogs with suspected food allergies that were undergoing diet elimination and re-challenge testing.
Between 20-30% of the healthy dogs had a strong positive reaction to one or more foods, depending on the type of the test. Another 53% of healthy dogs had weak positive reactions on the saliva test. In fact, there were more positive saliva reactions in healthy dogs than in allergic dogs! Overall, the number of dogs with positive reactions on the tests was not different between healthy and food-allergic dogs. Only 1 of the positive blood tests corresponded to a known allergy in one of the allergic dogs,” via Cummings.
In the second study, which was performed at the Cummings School, 30 healthy dogs were tested with the same saliva test as the European study as well as two popular blood tests here in the US. Between 60-100% of dogs tested positive for one or more foods on each test. Two dogs tested positive for all antigens on one of the blood tests, while a different dog tested positive for all antigens on the saliva test. Keep in mind that these are healthy dogs with no evidence of allergies,” via Cummings.
According to Cummings, what’s to note with these studies is that saliva and blood tests for food allergies do not reliably differentiate enough between healthy and allergic dogs and should not be used for diagnosis of food allergy! They add that the use of blood and saliva could result in false identification of plenty of common foods as allergens. Cumming recommends following diet elimination so that no unnecessary foods are eliminated from your dog’s diet.
When determining the first clue as to whether your furry best friend is suffering from allergies, you should examine whether your dog was recently introduced to a new treat or dog food, and also as to whether the symptoms are seasonal?
If they’re seasonal, then they’ll just affect your dog at certain times in the year, and they’re probably resulting from environmental allergens. These could be various pollens or fleas that tend to affect dogs more during the summer months. Nonseasonal allergies would most likely be food allergies. The most common causes of skin inflammation in dogs are fleas, atopy, and food.
If your dog has a sensitive stomach or watery eyes, it’s always a good idea to use an allergy testing kit. With that said, these kits should never replace a veterinary consult and proper diagnosis with treatment for your dog’s condition.
What Type of Allergies Are Tested?
Dog allergy testing kits test for sensitivity or intolerance to ingredients in food, as well as environmental allergies. They do not test for IgE which are immunoglobulin E allergies linked to the immune system.
Common Dog Allergies
Just 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. Vets will sometimes recommend Benadryl for pets with allergies.
Today, 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 these symptoms, he may be reacting to household allergens that can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, and even the gastrointestinal or respiratory tract.
Symptoms of 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.
Your vet will diagnose the underlying allergens via blood or intradermal allergy testing. Your dog will then begin an allergy desensitization regime, and your vet will use the allergy testing results to create custom oral drops or injections.
Your dog will then be given these throughout a period of time to desensitize his immune system to the allergens that may be the cause of his atopy. This can take months to do. The good news is that this does work, and dogs do improve.
Allergy Kit Accuracy
It’s important to keep in mind that the accuracy of the testing kit determines how much your dog will improve. It’s also based on the dog’s current health, age, other health issues or allergies.
Pet Meds for Skin Allergies
Keep working together with your veterinarian so that therapy is completely effective, and to minimize itching, skin infections, hot spots, and hair loss. Your dog may have to go on antibiotics or antifungal meds for a secondary skin infection. He 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 do a thorough examination, and treat your dog according to the specific diagnosis which could be bacterial or fungal. You may have to opt for a cone so that he does not lick off his pet meds.
As usual, 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.
Dog food allergies seem to be common in dogs today. Because symptoms are so similar in both food and airborne allergies, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian right away. Allergies don’t just go away, but instead, get worse with skin sensitivities developing into bacterial infections. Discuss switching to a grain-free dog food formula if your dog has a dog food allergy.
Symptoms of a Dog Food Allergy
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.
Dog Food Allergy Signs
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.
- 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
Royal Canine Allergy Study
Royal Canine adds that “Canine Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is the pruritic inflammatory skin disease that results from the genetic predisposition to develop allergies to environmental allergens. These can include pollens, molds, dust, and house mites.
Royal Canin Skin Support is high in levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation. It also contains curcumin, aloe vera, vitamin C, and taurine which can help support healthy skin generation and accelerate the healing process and a blend of B vitamins and amino acids to help maintain a healthy skin barrier.”
They also explain that an elimination trial will help establish whether adverse food reaction is the underlying cause of their pet’s itching and other signs, or if it’s Atopic Dermatitis. Royal Canine explains the additional benefits of their skin support diet below:
Synergistic action of the exclusive complex helps support healthy skin cell generation.
EPA and DHA
Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that promote a healthy skin and coat.
Formulated to support the skin’s natural protective barrier for optimal skin health.
A synergistic complex of antioxidants to support cellular health.
“When adverse food reaction has been eliminated as a source of skin irritation and the diagnosis of atopy has been made, Royal Canin Skin Support may help provide relief for itchy skin,” via Royal Canine.
Nutritional Deficiencies & Hyperthyroidism
Nutritional deficiencies and hyperthyroidism may also lead to skin problems in dogs. A low-functioning thyroid can result in greasy, and itchy skin. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, you’ll need to visit your vet for a diagnosis, and treatment of 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 in leaky gut syndrome, your vet will most likely treat it as a suboptimal GI tract health issue, and not a diet issue.
Fleas and Flea Allergy Dermatitis
We adore our dogs, and there’s nothing worse than seeing them itch incessantly. Additionally, it may be hard at the beginning of a flea allergy, to spot the allergic reaction. Dogs with flea allergy dermatitis will have symptoms like itching, chewing, and scratching that results 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. Hot spots in dogs can be treated by your veterinarian, 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 which are 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 that are recognized today, there are fortunately only a few species within U.S homes. Two common ones include the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) and the dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis).
How to Choose a Dog Allergy Test?
You’re probably questioning why it’s important to choose a good allergy test, and thinking that 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 that your dog may be prone to.
Tests will usually give you information about food ingredients and supplements that if eliminated from your dog’s diet, may be beneficial in eliminating 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 feel that you would 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 and to discuss the best options.
Dog Allergy Test Costs from a Veterinarian
As a pet parent, you can opt for a veterinary allergy test, or just do one at home which may be less costly. If your dog has allergies, it’s best to determine what’s causing those allergies, so that they can be eliminated from your dog’s diet or environment.
Your dog can also receive a vaccine for a specific allergen. 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.
Conclusion for Best Dog Allergy Test
There’s a multitude of 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 with your veterinarian at the onset of any allergy to help treat excessive itching. Your veterinarian will advise you as to the best dog allergic testing kit, and also as to an elimination diet that needs to be balanced and nutritionally complete, and that does not contain any ingredients that were in your dog’s diet before.
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