Has your dog been itching and scratching recently? If so, your veterinarian may have recommended allergy testing for them. The most common types of allergy testing for dogs include skin testing and blood testing.
But you may have also heard about another type of testing which lets you purchase a kit, do the test on your dog at home, and submit the sample to a lab.
If you’re interested in allergy testing kits for dogs, we’ll help you find the best dog allergy test to use! We also share some dog allergy symptoms to look out for and a description of each dog allergy testing type so you can choose the best one for your dog!
Dog Allergy Symptoms
Dog allergies are usually not life-threatening, but they can cause severe discomfort. Most symptoms can be mild but might lead to chronic issues if untreated for long periods. Here are some allergy symptoms commonly found in dogs:
- excessive licking
- compulsive scratching
- periodic chewing on body parts
- regularly rubbing the body against the ground, walls, furniture, etc.
- frequent sneezing and/or wheezing
- skin irritation and/or fur loss.
Most of these signs develop in their second year. In their first year, dogs will be exposed to different allergens, usually through contact with the skin. Some may be caused by food and inhalants.
In the second year, a dog’s immune system can overreact to these, causing a release of immune cells that release inflammatory substances.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pup you should get them checked out with an allergy test.
Dog Allergy Testing Types
Allergy testing can be very effective in identifying the cause of your dog’s allergy. It typically takes one of two forms: intradermal skin testing, or blood testing.
Intradermal Allergy Testing
This type of testing on dogs involves injecting small amounts of allergens into their skin and is performed under sedation or general anesthesia, following a strict monitoring protocol. About 40-60 injections are given in a single area of the body.
A positive response to an allergen is seen through visible swelling that forms at the injection site. It is observed for 20 minutes. But if the swelling does not occur, then a patient is not allergic to that specific allergen.
This type of testing is considered the “gold standard” for the diagnosis of atopic dermatitis. This means that when other allergy tests are evaluated, they are usually compared to intradermal testing.
Female furry friends should not be tested through this method if they are pregnant or in heat. Aside from that, all dogs should be tested at the end of their allergy season. They shouldn’t be given baths five days before the testing, and the pets should be fasted on the morning of the procedure.
Intradermal testing has more limitations. For instance, it cannot be performed if your dog is under certain medications like steroids and antihistamines. Last but not least, this testing requires an experienced dermatologist to administer the test and interpret the results. Check out the best probiotics for dogs with allergies.
Blood Allergy Testing
Blood testing works by taking a blood sample from the dog and submitting it to a laboratory. The lab tests the blood by looking for allergen-specific antibodies against several allergens that contribute to atopic dermatitis.
Blood allergy testing is super convenient because it can be performed in a general practice and does not require a specialist to administer it. Your dog is not required to be sedated and shaved. It’s as simple as getting a blood sample!
But these tests are often associated with false positives or positive results that cannot be confirmed through skin testing. These findings can call into question the validity of serum allergy testing. When conflicts arise between the results of intradermal and blood allergy testing, intradermal testing is typically considered to be more accurate.
Best Dog Allergy Tests
Because of innovations, there is now an easy way to test your dog for allergies from the convenience of your home. We review the top three best at-home dog allergy test kits that will help you uncover what may be pestering your pup.
5Strands Pet Intolerance Test
5Strands Pet Intolerance Test Kit tests for 200 food ingredients and preservatives, and 100 environmental items! They do this by scanning your dog’s hair sample, which can be about 10-15 strands. The company also uses bio-resonance technology and provides you with an easy-to-understand report.
Although the website doesn’t have a sample report you can view, the results will come to you in 7-10 days. They are color-coded with those flagged red being foods and other triggers to avoid and those flagged as yellow to use caution.
They don’t indicate whether they offer a consult or advice with results, yet they provide customer support through phone and email.
Allergy Test My Pet
Allergy Test My Pet, or AT My Pet, tests for over 110 items, such as food, environmental, and common household products. They check the antibody reaction in your dog’s saliva against each allergen and report if there is a positive or negative reaction to each.
Although they don’t offer sample results and they only offer customer support via phone, the price is competitive, and it is a very simple and easy to use kit which requires a basic saliva collection method.
Easy DNA Dog Allergy Test
The Easy DNA Dog Allergy Test Kit is one of the most popular testing kits for dogs. It tests for 114 common food and environmental allergens by measuring the antibodies in your dog’s saliva against each allergen. High antibody levels mean that they are sensitive and intolerant to the item.
This kit is affordable, and once you mail in your dog’s saliva sample, the feedback comes in just two weeks via email. It is important to note that this is not a typical allergy test, as stated on their website.
It will help you learn your dog’s sensitivities and intolerances. The report ranks strong intolerance, mild intolerance, or no reaction. They give you a report with details that are easy to understand about each substance and associated symptoms to look for!
The kit also has dietary and lifestyle guidelines such as elimination diets, topical treatments, supplements like probiotics, and the use of corticosteroids.
Should I Test My Dog for Allergies at Home?
If you are seeing symptoms in your dog, then definitely! While not usually life-threatening allergies can pose several risks to your dog. Aside from discomfort due to itching and pain, symptoms associated with dermatologic problems may cause chronic health issues if untreated for a long time.
These at-home dog allergy test kits work with a simple hair or saliva sample from your dog that you send away. Wait a few weeks and they will send you the results showing your dog is allergic or sensitive to!