Golden Retriever Allergies: Most Common (& How To Treat Them) (2024)

Posted on January 20, 2023 by Galen Kauffman


Allergies in dogs, such as Golden Retrievers, can be a stressful and unpleasant experience for both you and your canine companion. But don’t panic! With the appropriate information and approach, you can make your dog feel more at ease.

Allergies can be caused by a variety of factors, including fleas, pollen, grass, dust, and food, and identifying the source of the allergy is the first step in managing it.

This article will cover all you need to know about allergies in Golden Retrievers, including how to identify allergies, and manage those allergies, as well as various types of treatment and the pros and cons of each treatment.

Common Allergies In Golden Retrievers

Golden retrievers are such friendly and lovable dogs, but they, like us, can suffer from allergies. Skin allergies are a common problem for Golden Retrievers, and they can make their skin itchy and irritated.

Food allergies can also occur when their body reacts to something in their food. Flea allergies, in which the pet is allergic to flea saliva, can also result in itchy skin and hot spots. Finally, Golden Retrievers can develop environmental allergies, such as sensitivity to grass or pollen, which can cause skin irritation or respiratory problems.

If you suspect your Golden Retriever is exhibiting any of these symptoms, take them to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Allergy To Fleas

Flea allergies, commonly known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), are widespread in dogs, particularly Golden Retrievers. Itching is the most prevalent symptom of FAD, and it can range from mild to severe. Redness, inflammation, and hair loss may occur at the location of flea bites in dogs with FAD, which is commonly on the lower back or base of the tail.

Even though fleas can cause itchiness in most dogs, those with flea allergies itch far more badly than those who do not have flea allergies. They will itch furiously and find it difficult to concentrate on other things.

Allergy To Pollen, Grass, & Dust

Pollen, grass, and dust allergies (inhalant allergies) are common in dogs, especially Golden Retrievers. These allergies are caused by the immune system overreacting to environmental allergens such as trees, grass, and weed pollens, mold spores, and dust mites.

Allergy To Food

Food allergies in dogs, particularly Golden Retrievers, are an immune response to specific proteins or carbohydrates in their diet. These responses can occur with any item in a dog’s diet, but the most common allergens include proteins such as beef, poultry, fish, and dairy, as well as grains such as maize, wheat, and soy. According to veterinary research, food allergies account for roughly 10% of all canine allergies.

Symptoms of Allergy In Golden Retrievers

Allergy symptoms in Golden Retrievers vary based on the type of allergy and the particular dog.

Flea allergic dermatitis (FAD) in dogs, including Golden Retrievers, can cause the following symptoms:

  • Itching: FAD is characterized by acute itching, which can induce self-trauma from excessive scratching, licking, biting, and gnawing at the skin.
  • Flea bites can produce red, irritated skin as well as inflammation at the bite site.
  • Scratching and biting can cause hair loss, especially near the base of the tail and on the lower back.
  • Secondary skin infections: Constant scratching and biting of the skin can result in secondary skin diseases such as hot spots or pyoderma.

Inhalant allergies in dogs, such as Golden Retrievers, can cause the following symptoms:

  • Itchy skin, especially on the face, ears, paws, and belly.
  • Scratching, licking, biting, and chewing at the sore spots.
  • Wheezing, sneezing, or coughing.
  • Hives, skin redness, and a rash.
  • Ear infections, recurring or chronic
  • Scratching at the paws and tail’s base.
  • Face, paw, or ear swelling or puffiness.
  • Skin that is red, inflamed, and/or has hot spots.
  • Runny nose and/or eyes.

Food allergies in dogs, including Golden Retrievers, can cause the following symptoms:

  • Itchy skin, particularly around the ears, paws, and face.
  • Scratching, biting, or licking affected regions.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea are examples of gastrointestinal problems.
  • Hives or facial or paw swelling.
  • Appetite suppression and weight reduction.
  • Some dogs may exhibit nonspecific signs like tiredness and a lack of energy.

How Can These Allergies Be Diagnosed?

Allergies in dogs can be difficult to diagnose and may require a combination of diagnostic tests. The particular tests and strategy for the diagnosis will be determined by the type of allergy suspected as well as the individual dog. Diagnostic tests may include:

  • Physical examination and medical history: The veterinarian will examine the dog thoroughly and collect a complete medical history, including a history of symptoms, exposure to potential allergens, and any past treatments.
  • Blood tests: These can be used to detect the presence of certain antibodies, which can suggest an allergic reaction.
  • Skin tests: These can include intradermal skin tests, which involve injecting tiny amounts of suspected allergens into the skin and monitoring for a reaction, or skin scraping and cytology, which can be used to detect the presence of parasites or skin diseases.
  • Food elimination trial: This entails exposing the dog to a new food (one they have never been exposed to before) and gradually reintroducing suspected allergens one at a time to see whether symptoms recur.

Working closely with your veterinarian to decide the best course of action for diagnosing your dog’s allergies is critical. It is critical to have a professional evaluation because it can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and several illnesses may mimic allergies.

Allergy Testing For Dogs

Allergy testing for dogs, particularly Golden Retrievers, is a method of determining which allergens are causing an allergic reaction in the dog. Depending on the suspected allergen and the individual dog, multiple types of allergy tests may be employed.

The following are some examples of typical allergy tests that can be performed to diagnose allergies in dogs:

  • Intradermal skin testing: In this test, small quantities of probable allergens are injected into the skin and a reaction is observed. This test is often regarded as the most precise means of identifying allergens that cause skin problems.
  • Blood testing: These tests determine the number of antibodies (IgE or IgG) in the blood that is connected with an allergic reaction. The test is typically used to detect inhalant allergies.
  • A cytological or histological examination: This test involves collecting a sample of the affected skin and examining it under a microscope for signs of an allergic reaction or other disorders that may be causing the symptoms.
  • Food elimination trial: This test involves transferring the dog to a new diet (one they have never had before) and gradually reintroducing suspected allergens one at a time to see if symptoms reappear.

Treatment Options (Pros And Cons Of Each treatment Type And When To Use Them)

Allergy treatment in dogs, especially Golden Retrievers, often consists of multiple measures, including limiting allergen exposure, providing symptomatic relief, and addressing underlying issues. The specific treatment strategy will be determined by the type of allergy and the individual dog. Here are some popular allergy treatment options for dogs:


Itching and inflammation can be controlled with antihistamines, corticosteroids, and fatty acid supplements. Antibiotics may be required in some circ*mstances to treat secondary skin infections. Medication can be used to treat dogs with allergies, including Golden Retrievers, when other treatments, such as allergen avoidance and dietary adjustments, are ineffective or when the symptoms are severe and require quick relief.


  • Medications can help reduce irritation and inflammation immediately, thereby offering symptomatic relief.
  • Secondary skin infections can be treated with antibiotics.


  • Medications may cause negative effects and are not suitable for all pets.
  • Certain medications, such as corticosteroids, might harm the dog’s overall health if used for an extended period.

Dietary Changes

A dietary change is a process of removing potential food allergens from the dog’s diet to figure out if the symptoms are caused by a food allergy. This can be done with a food elimination trial. When a food allergy is suspected, this method can be used.


  • A dietary adjustment can effectively resolve allergy symptoms by removing the allergen from the dog’s diet.
  • For dogs with food allergies, a diet that excludes common allergens such as chicken, beef, wheat, soy, and corn can be useful.
  • A hypoallergenic diet including a novel protein, such as duck or venison, is usually recommended for dogs with food allergies.


  • Determining the source of a food allergy can be difficult and time-consuming on the side of both the owner and the veterinarian.
  • Working with a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist is critical to ensuring that the dog’s diet is nutritionally balanced and complete, as some diets may be deficient in some essential elements.
  • Some dogs are fussy eaters and may not get used to the new food right away.

Other Remedies

Aside from medications and dietary changes, other alternative treatments may be beneficial for managing allergies in dogs, including Golden Retrievers. Among these therapies are:

Topical therapy: this involves applying lotions, sprays, or gels containing anti-inflammatory drugs or omega-3 fatty acids to inflamed skin to calm it and reduce inflammation.

Bathing: regular bathing, as well as using a medicated shampoo or rinse, will help to eliminate allergens from the dog’s coat and soothe inflamed skin.

Alternative therapies: alternative therapies such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, and veterinary chiropractic, may be beneficial in the treatment of allergies in dogs.

It’s essential to remember that these remedies are frequently used together and should only be administered under the supervision of a veterinarian, as some may have significant negative effects and may not be suited for all dogs.

Tips For Managing Dog Allergies

With all of the different types of allergies that your adorable golden retriever may be prone to, as well as the treatments we discussed earlier, we also have to know as pet owners how to manage allergies in dogs ourselves. Although it can be a difficult task, there are a few things we can do to help alleviate their symptoms and make their lives more comfortable.

Keeping the dog’s environment free from allergy triggers

One of the most important factors in addressing allergies in dogs is to keep allergy triggers out of the dog’s environment. Here are some suggestions to help keep allergies out of your dog’s environment:

  • Vacuum and dust your home regularly: This can help to minimize the number of allergens in the air, such as dust mites.
  • Use an air purifier: If you have pets or live in a location with high pollen counts, an air purifier can help eliminate allergens from the air.
  • During peak pollen seasons, keep windows closed. This can help keep pollen out of your home.
  • Bedding and blankets should be washed regularly. This can help in the removal of allergens such as dust mites and pollen.

Monitoring Dog’s Diet And Environment

Maintaining a close eye on your dog’s diet and environment is essential for managing allergies in dogs. Here are some tips for keeping an eye on your dog’s diet and environment:

  • Keep a record of your dog’s symptoms in a diary. This can aid in the identification of trends and probable triggers for your dog’s symptoms.
  • Keep an eye out for changes in your dog’s skin and coat. Redness, itching, and hair loss can all indicate that your dog is having an allergic response.
  • Pay attention to the timing of your dog’s symptoms: If your dog’s symptoms emerge at certain periods of the year or after certain activities, it can help identify probable allergens.
  • Keep track of everything your dog eats, and if you suspect a food allergy, collaborate with your veterinarian to undertake a food elimination experiment.

You can discover possible allergies and take action to minimize your dog’s exposure to them by monitoring his diet and environment. This, in turn, can help to reduce your dog’s symptoms and enhance its general health and comfort.


Always Consult a Veterinarian

Allergies in dogs, such as Golden Retrievers, can be a stressful and unpleasant experience for both the dog and the owner. However, with the support of a veterinarian, you can work to identify ways to alleviate your dog’s symptoms and improve its general health and comfort. Your veterinarian can help you identify the specific allergies that are causing your dog’s symptoms and prepare an appropriate treatment plan.

FAQs About Common Allergies In Golden Retrievers

How Do I Know If My Golden Retriever Is Having An Allergic Reaction To Vaccine?

The most typical symptoms of an allergic reaction in dogs include difficulty breathing, intense scratching, coughing, and vomiting. If you discover any of these symptoms after your pet has been vaccinated, you should contact a veterinarian right away.

Can Allergies In Golden Retrievers Be Passed Down To Their Puppies?

Allergies in Golden Retrievers can be caused by a mix of genetic and environmental causes. While it is probable that a Golden Retriever with allergies will pass on an allergy tendency to their pups, there is no likelihood that the puppies will develop allergies.

Galen has been connecting quality Golden Retriever breeders with loving families since 2012 and is the founder of My Golden Retriever Puppies. He and his wife have four children and love spending time together, traveling (lived oversees for 4 years), enjoying the outdoors and connecting Golden families.

Golden Retriever Allergies: Most Common (& How To Treat Them) (2024)


How can I help my Golden Retriever with allergies? ›

Organic, hypoallergenic and sulfate-free shampoos can calm your dog's inflamed, itchy and irritated skin, especially with products that include natural anti-inflammatories such as aloe vera and tree tea oil.

What are Golden Retrievers most commonly allergic to? ›

Pollen, grass, and dust allergies (inhalant allergies) are common in dogs, especially Golden Retrievers. These allergies are caused by the immune system overreacting to environmental allergens such as trees, grass, and weed pollens, mold spores, and dust mites.

What can I give my Golden Retriever for itching? ›

Give Your Golden Retriever a High Quality Fish Oil Daily

Omega-3 helps soothe inflammation, and in some studies it significantly reduced itchiness in dogs with moderate to mild atopic dermatitis. We like Norwegian Salmon oil (also some great options on Amazon) for it's ultra-high purity.

What is the best way to treat my dogs allergies? ›

Anti-inflammatory therapy. Treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids or antihistamines, will quickly block the allergic reaction in most cases. Fatty acid supplementation in the diet can sometimes improve the response to steroids and antihistamines.

What makes dog allergies go away? ›

Clean often, keep air filters up to date, get an air purifier, and try to reduce shedding by bathing the dog often and brushing the animal often. Next, take over-the-counter medicine to reduce symptoms. If possible, keep your dogs outside to reduce allergens in your home.

Is chicken a common allergy for Golden Retrievers? ›

While chicken allergy can affect any dog breed, some are more susceptible, including Labradors, Golden Retrievers, co*cker Spaniels, and German Shepherds. What are the symptoms of a chicken allergy in dogs? Well, for the most part, it's a lot of itching and scratching, but there's more to the chicken allergy than that.

Can I give dog Benadryl for allergies? ›

Yes. Benadryl is an over-the-counter medication that is labeled for humans but is generally considered safe for dogs in the appropriate dosage. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication.

How often should you bathe a Golden Retriever? ›

You can bathe golden retrievers every 4-6 weeks or as often as necessary. Bathing them too often could inflict major harm on their double coat. Instead, focus on regular brushing and grooming to remove loose hair, dirt, and debris.

How much Benadryl can I give my dog? ›

Therefore, a simple and practical dose is 1 mg of Benadryl® per pound of your dog's weight, given two to three times a day.

How do I moisturize my golden retriever skin? ›

Home Remedies for Dry Dog Skin
  1. Symptoms Vary. Symptoms of dry skin can also vary from dog to dog, based on factors such as age, breed, and overall health. ...
  2. A Well-Balanced Diet. ...
  3. Coconut Oil. ...
  4. Vitamin E Oil. ...
  5. Chamomile or Green Tea Bath. ...
  6. Apple Cider Vinegar. ...
  7. DIY Oatmeal Shampoo. ...
  8. Olive Oil.
Aug 1, 2022

Why is my golden retriever itching and scratching? ›

Flea allergy dermatitis, seasonal allergies or atopy, food allergies, contact dermatitis (e.g., soaps and perfumes), and sarcoptic mange (mites) are some of the most common causes of pruritus in dogs. "Pruritus due to skin disease is one of the most common reasons dog owners seek veterinary care."

Why are Golden Retrievers so itchy? ›

In Golden Retrievers, common causes of the initial itch are allergies and the hot, humid environment near the skin created by their thick undercoat. Once a dog begins licking the sore spot, they irritate the superficial nerve endings in the skin, which only further stimulates them to lick, causing more self trauma.

How can I treat my dogs skin allergy at home? ›

Chamomile, calendula, and green tea have properties that soothe and cool irritated skin and reduce inflammation, making them great additions in a dog bath for itchy skin. These soaks are best for dogs who have hot, itchy patches of skin that are at risk of getting rubbed raw.

What can I put in my dog's food to help with itching? ›

Coconut Oil

It also can reduce allergic reactions. You can apply coconut oil directly to your dog's coat, dry, cracked pads, cuts and sores. Dym likes to add a little coconut oil to food. Add coconut oil slowly to your pet's diet, about a quarter teaspoon per every 10 pounds of body weight.

Is Claritin or Zyrtec better for dog allergies? ›

Cetirizine (Zyrtec® or Reactine®) is one of the most commonly used over-the-counter antihistamines recommended by veterinarians. Claritin® can be used but is not typically recommended by veterinarians as some forms of Claritin® contain decongestants such as pseudoephedrine which is very toxic to dogs.

Are Golden Retrievers high allergy? ›

While they are wonderful, obedient, and loving dogs, the Golden Retriever is not, unfortunately, considered a hypoallergenic dog breed. There are several reasons why they aren't, notably their double coat and long outer coat.

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