Allergy is a state of hypersensitivity in which exposure to a harmless substance known as an allergen induces the body’s immune system to “overreact.” Dogs usually manifest their allergies or hypersensitivities in the form of skin disease, as opposed to people who usually display symptoms of respiratory disease or “hay fever” (watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing). This will often present as the “itchy” patient or the patient with skin disease resulting from self-excoriation and secondary skin infections. The 3 most common allergens to affect canines are: flea allergy, airborne allergy (this will be referred to as “atopy” hereafter), and food allergy. Each of these will be discussed in further detail. Allergies to all of the above usually result in some form of itching, licking, or chewing of the skin. Skin allergies can be very difficult to manage, and even with the best care, many dogs will still experience some degree of itchiness. Unfortunately, we are not usually able to “cure” allergies and this is typically a life-long problem that your dog may experience in varying degrees throughout the year. Our goal is to control allergies as best as possible to improve the quality of life for you and your pet.