Allergies and Itchy Skin in Cats and Dogs

Bath time - Itchy skin and allergiesJust as in humans, allergies can cause irritated, itchy skin in both cats and dogs.  Many dogs suffer from allergies – with fleas, house dust mites and pollens being among the most common allergens; which means signs may vary with the seasons, being particularly bad in spring and summer.  A proportion of the canine population also suffer from atopy: an allergic, very itchy skin condition which is in part a genetic abnormality and also a problem with the skin’s natural defence.  There are three areas to consider when helping to relieve itchy skin:

  1. Getting rid of the allergens from the skin
  2. Helping to repair and improve the skin barrier
  3. Soothing the irritation

Bath time

Bathing your dog is a helpful way to relieve itchy skin, because if the correct shampoo is used, it can remove allergens and help to restore the skin’s protective barrier.   Some products even contain ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce skin irritation.

Selecting a shampoo

When selecting a shampoo, the most important thing is to pick one specifically formulated for your dog’s skin.   Dogs’ skin has a different pH to humans, so human shampoos are simply not suitable, even ‘baby’ shampoos are too acidic and may lead to further skin irritation.  Veterinary-developed shampoos, such as those in Virbac’s range, are ideal.

Allermyl® has been specially formulated to help dogs suffering from irritated skin caused by allergies.   It is a soothing, medicated shampoo that removes allergens and helps to restore and maintain your pet’s epidermal (skin) barrier.   It contains special ‘Spherulite® Technology’ which extends the benefits of the shampoo by releasing the active ingredients progressively over time, even after you have rinsed your cat and dog.

Bath time with your dog can be fun and will help to bring relief to their skin but do ensure you follow the shampoo’s instructions carefully.  Dog shampoos differ from human products – they shouldn’t lather for a start! You need to use the right product, the right amount and ensure that the product is in contact with your pet’s skin for the recommended amount of time before rinsing off.

Happy bath time!


If you have any concerns about your dog’s skin, please consult your vet.


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[Photo credit: Shoehorn99]