flat-coated retriever skin allergies

Unveiling the Causes and Solutions to Flat-Coated Retriever Skin Allergies

Are you dealing with Flat-coated retriever skin allergies? If you’re the proud owner of a flat-coated retriever, you know these charming dogs are some of the sweetest and most loyal companions. But, as with all dogs, flat-coated retrievers can experience various health problems throughout their lifetimes, including skin allergies.

When it comes to these types of ailments, it’s essential to be well-informed and recognize the signs. Skin allergies can be uncomfortable and even debilitating for dogs if left untreated. This blog post concerns flat-coated retriever skin allergies, including potential causes and solutions.

Overview of Flat-Coated Retriever Skin Allergies 

flat-coated retriever skin allergies

Flat-Coated Retrievers are known for their thick and elegant coat, which adds to their overall beauty. But, this coat can also be a major downside as it is the primary reason for their susceptibility to skin allergies. Their coat tends to trap dirt, dust, dander, and other airborne allergens in between their fur, leading to skin irritation and itching. Moreover, their long ears also tend to grow yeast infections, another leading cause of skin allergies.

Apart from their physical attributes, Flat-Coated Retrievers are genetically predisposed to skin allergies. Certain genes and mutations in their DNA can make their immune system overreact to specific allergens. As a result, the body triggers an immune response, which causes itching, inflammation, and redness on the skin.

Common Symptoms of Flat-Coated Retriever Skin Allergies 

The common symptoms below may indicate that your loving doggo is struggling with skin allergies.

1: Frequent Itching and Scratching

Does your doggo often scratch excessively and uncomfortably? If yes, then he might be experiencing an itchy sensation due to skin allergies. Constant scratching may cause skin lesions and, sometimes, sores, allowing bacterial infections.

2: Excessive Licking, Especially at Their Paws

Dogs with skin allergies tend to lick their affected skin area regularly. The paws are the most common area for them to lick. If you notice your Flat-Coated Retriever doing this, then it’s a warning sign. Licking can cause excessive moisture on the skin, increasing the skin infection likelihood.

3: Biting and Gnawing of the Skin

Allergies can cause severe irritation and discomfort to your pet, leading them to bite or gnaw at their skin to relieve the discomfort. This behavior can lead to infection or further irritation and should be taken seriously. 

4: Red, Inflamed Skin or Rashes

One of the visible signs of skin allergies in flat-coated retrievers is red, inflamed skin or rashes. Allergens can cause an allergic reaction, leading to the skin’s inflammation and redness. If you notice any patches of red, inflamed skin or rashes on your pet, it’s best to take them to the vet as soon as possible. 

5: Dry or Oily Skin

A dog with skin allergies can have either dry or oily skin. If your pet’s skin feels tight and flaky, it could be caused by dry skin. On the other hand, oily skin can cause a more pronounced smell. Both conditions make the skin more susceptible to parasites and bacteria, leading to severe skin infections.

6: Hives and Bumps

Hives are usually red and swollen patches on the skin that are itchy and uncomfortable for your dog. These hives may be small, scattered, or concentrated in a particular area. Scratching or picking at them is not advisable as it could lead to more significant complications. Instead, visit your vet immediately for treatment options and advice.

7: Fur Loss

Fur loss could happen in patches or be extensive, affecting large areas of your dog’s body. If your dog loses more fur than usual, immediately take them to the vet. The vet may run some tests to determine the cause of the hair loss and recommend the appropriate treatment.

8: Frequent Head Shaking Due to Itchy Ears

Flat-coated retrievers are prone to allergic reactions that can affect their ears. When allergic reactions affect the ear canal, your dog may start shaking its head frequently or scratching the ear with its paws. Repeat shaking of the head, and excessive scratching could indicate an allergy related to the dog’s ear canal.

9: Swollen Paws and Face

Also, Flat-coated Retrievers’ allergies can cause facial or paw swelling. Swollen paws could be a sign of paw allergies or a reaction to things such as the food, medication, or objects your dog has been in contact with. The swelling could be accompanied by redness and itching, making your dog uncomfortable.

10: Regular Rubbing Against Surfaces

It could indicate skin allergies if you’ve noticed that your Flat-Coated Retriever has been rubbing against surfaces such as furniture, carpets, or even trees. When dogs develop skin allergies, they tend to feel itchy and uncomfortable. By rubbing against surfaces, they are attempting to relieve the itchiness. However, this can cause further aggravation and lead to secondary infections.

11: Open Wounds

Another indication of skin allergies in Flat-Coated Retrievers is open wounds. These wounds may appear as itchy, red bumps that your pet has scratched open. As a pet owner, you must regularly check your pet’s skin for these open wounds. Wounds left untreated can lead to secondary infections and additional discomfort for your pet.

12: Watery Eyes

Watery eyes can also indicate that your Flat-Coated Retriever is struggling with skin allergies. Dogs with skin allergies often have an excessive discharge from their eyes. This is because the allergy may also affect their sinus and respiratory systems. If you observe your dog rubbing its eyes frequently or see it wiping its eyes with its paws, it indicates that they are having trouble with itchy eyes.

These are obvious physical signs to look out for if you suspect your Flat-Coated Retriever has skin allergies.

Causes of Flat-Coated Retriever Skin Allergies 

flat-coated retriever skin allergies

So, what could be causing your pet’s skin allergies? Common causes of flat-coated retriever skin allergies include:

✍️Environmental Allergies:

Flat-Coated Retrievers can develop environmental allergies like tree and grass pollen, mold spores, and dust mites. These allergens can trigger an immune response, causing your dog’s skin to itch, become red and inflamed, and even cause infections. These allergies can be seasonal or year-round, so pay attention to the timing of your dog’s symptoms to help determine the cause. Your vet can perform tests to determine specific environmental allergens affecting your dog.

✍️Food Allergies:

Flat-Coated Retrievers can also have food allergies, which can cause skin irritation, itching, and gastrointestinal problems. Common allergens include beef, chicken, wheat, and soy. Food allergies can be difficult to diagnose, and your vet may recommend an elimination diet to determine what foods may be causing the symptoms. It’s important to note that food allergies can develop at any age, so it’s crucial to monitor your pet’s reactions to new foods and treats.


Folliculitis is a bacterial infection of the hair follicles, which can cause skin irritation and inflammation. Flat-Coated Retrievers are prone to folliculitis due to their thick coat, which can trap bacteria and dirt close to the skin. The infection can cause hair loss and a foul odor, which can be painful.


Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect a Flat-Coated Retriever’s skin, with symptoms including itching, redness, and circular lesions. While ringworm doesn’t typically cause serious harm, it can be uncomfortable for your dog and contagious to other animals and humans.


Impetigo is a bacterial infection that can cause skin lesions, which can be itchy and painful. Flat-Coated Retrievers can develop impetigo when bacteria enter small wounds or abrasions on their skin. The infection can cause a foul smell and spread to other areas of the body if not treated quickly.

✍️Ticks and Fleas:

Insects like ticks and fleas are common culprits that cause skin allergies in dogs. These pesky parasites can bite and irritate their skin, leading to itching, rashes, and even hair loss in some cases. Flat-Coated Retrievers that enjoy outdoor activities are more prone to tick and flea infestations, making protecting them with flea and tick-preventative products crucial.

✍️Yeast Infections:

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of a specific type, which can cause skin irritation and itching in dogs. Flat-Coated Retrievers with allergies or other skin conditions may be more prone to yeast infections, which can be uncomfortable for your pet.


Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a rare but severe immune disorder that can affect Flat-Coated Retrievers. This autoimmune disease attacks healthy tissues, leading to skin lesions, rashes, and inflammation. SLE can be challenging to diagnose, and treatment requires specialized care from your veterinarian. If you suspect your dog has SLE, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Like humans, dogs can have dandruff too. One recipe for promoting healthy skin is making a rosemary tea solution and mixing it with their shampoo. Be cautious, however, as some dogs are sensitive to essential oils, and tea tree oil may irritate the skin.

These causes of skin allergies can be difficult to diagnose and manage. If you suspect your Flat-Coated Retriever has any of these conditions, contact your veterinarian for immediate medical attention and treat the problem.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Flat-Coated Retriever Skin Allergies 

The diagnosis and treatment of itchy skin in your Flat-Coated Retriever will vary depending on the underlying cause.

Diagnosing Flat-Coated Retriever Skin Allergies

Diagnosing an allergy in a pet can be challenging, but veterinarians use several methods to pinpoint the cause. Your vet may perform a skin scrape to check for mites or bacteria, or they may take a skin biopsy to examine under a microscope. Blood tests may also be used to determine if there are antibodies present that indicate an allergy. Once the cause of the allergy has been identified, your vet can recommend an appropriate course of treatment.

Treating Flat-Coated Retriever Skin Allergies

Treatment for skin allergies can vary depending on the underlying cause. In cases where flea bites cause allergies, your vet may recommend a flea prevention medication. Your vet may suggest a special diet or hypoallergenic dog food if the allergy is related to food. In some cases, your vet may prescribe antihistamines or other medications to relieve symptoms. Your pet may require steroid injections or topical ointments to manage the allergy in more severe cases.

How to Prevent Skin Allergies in Flat Coat Retrievers

As pet owners, we can take steps to help prevent itchy skin in our pets. Here are some preventative measures to take:

1: Diet

Diet plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your dog’s skin and coat. Flat Coat Retrievers are prone to allergies, so feeding them with the right food rich in essential nutrients is essential. Choose dog foods with no artificial preservatives and additives, and feed them diets that include protein sources such as chicken, beef, and fish.

2: Grooming

Regular grooming can help prevent and alleviate skin allergies in Flat Coat Retrievers. Brush your dog’s coat regularly to promote better blood circulation and remove matted hair. Bathing your dog every 2 to 3 weeks with mild dog shampoo can also help remove irritants that may cause the skin to itch. Be sure to clean the ears, paws, and other areas with folds.

3: Environmental Factors

Another way to prevent skin allergies in Flat Coat Retrievers is to eliminate environmental irritants that may cause skin reactions. These irritants include pollen, dust, mold, and fleas. Ensure your home is clean and well-ventilated, and avoid exposing your dog to potential irritants as much as possible.

4: Regular Check-ups

Regular visits to a veterinarian can help catch any skin problems that may develop early on. Skin allergies may cause scaly, itchy, and red skin, leading to secondary skin infections if left untreated. By visiting your veterinarian, they can have an early diagnosis and create a treatment plan to manage skin allergies and other flat coat retriever health issues.

5: Medication

In severe cases of skin allergies, medication may be necessary to prevent your dog from scratching the irritated areas. Anti-allergy medications, oral antibiotics, and steroids can help control itching and inflammation to prevent secondary infections. Follow your vet’s instructions when giving medication, and consult them if you see any side effects.

6: Allergen Immunotherapy

Allergen immunotherapy is a method used to help dogs become less sensitive to allergens. It involves giving your dog small doses of allergens over time, which helps them build up a tolerance and reduces their allergic reactions. Talk to your vet if this might be an option for managing your dog’s skin allergies.

With these steps, you can enjoy spending more time with your Flat Coat Retriever without worrying about allergic reactions and skin problems.

Natural Remedies for Skin Allergies in Flat Coat Retrievers

In addition to conventional medications, there are also natural remedies that you can use to help alleviate skin allergies in your pet. Here are a few:

🌿Herbal Tea and Chamomile Soaks

Herbal tea and chamomile soaks have a calming effect on the skin. These remedies have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that reduce inflammation and prevent bacterial growth in the affected area. In order to make this remedy, steep a tea bag of chamomile or green tea in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Allow the tea to cool, and then soak a cloth in it. Apply the cloth to the affected area and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Repeat this process up to three times a day.

🌿Oatmeal Bath

An oatmeal bath is one of the best home remedies for soothing itchy and irritated skin. It contains avenanthramides, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Here’s how to prepare an oatmeal bath:

  1. Grind oatmeal into a fine powder and mix it with warm water.
  2. Allow your dog to soak in the oatmeal bath for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Rinse your dog thoroughly with water and dry them with a clean towel.

🌿Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is acidic and has antimicrobial properties that can help reduce the bacteria and fungi on your dog’s skin. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water into a spray bottle and apply it to your dog’s skin. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse your dog with water. Use this remedy once a day for one week or until the skin allergies subside.

🌿Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salt has been used for centuries as a remedy for skin allergies. It has magnesium, which helps reduce inflammation and itchiness. In order to make an Epsom salt bath for your dog:

  1. Dissolve half a cup of Epsom salt in warm water.
  2. Soak your dog in this solution for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Rinse your dog thoroughly with water and dry them with a clean towel.

🌿Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that has lauric acid, which helps to reduce inflammation and skin irritation. In order to apply coconut oil to your dog’s skin:

  1. Warm it up and apply it directly to the affected area.
  2. Massage it gently into the skin and leave it on for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Rinse your dog with water and dry them with a clean towel.

🌿Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a natural plant renowned for its soothing properties, making it one of dogs’ most commonly used natural remedies for skin allergies. This plant contains a gel-like substance that can help soothe itching, reduce swelling, and promote healing. To use aloe vera, simply break off a leaf from the plant and apply the gel directly onto your dog’s skin. You can also buy aloe vera-based products, such as creams and shampoos specifically designed for dogs.

🌿Unsweetened Plain Yogurt

This type of yogurt contains live bacteria, which can help restore the natural balance of bacteria on your dog’s skin. Thanks to its cooling and soothing properties, it can also alleviate itching and inflammation. To use unsweetened plain yogurt, apply a thin layer onto your dog’s skin, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.

🌿Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil is an essential oil with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent option for treating skin allergies. It can help reduce the swelling, redness, and itching that often comes with skin allergies. Dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and apply it directly to your dog’s affected area. It’s important to note that tea tree oil should never be applied directly to your dog’s skin, as it can cause irritation and other adverse reactions.

These are just a few home remedies that help reduce your dog’s skin allergies. Always consult with your veterinarian before trying any of these remedies. They can recommend the best course of treatment for your pet, depending on their needs and health history.

Frequently Asked Questions

How bad do Flat-Coated Retrievers shed?

Flat-Coats were originally bred for hunting, which means they have a thick double coat that protects them from cold water and other elements. As such, they shed moderately, so you must brush them at least once a week to remove loose hair and prevent matting. You should also expect seasonal shedding twice a year, which may be heavier than usual. However, with proper grooming, the shedding should be manageable to handle.

Are Flat-Coated Retrievers good for people with allergies?

Unfortunately, no. Flat-Coats produce a lot of dander and can trigger allergies, which is bad news for people with pet allergies. Therefore, if you or someone in your family is allergic to dogs, it’s best to avoid getting a Flat-Coated Retriever. Other hypoallergenic dog breeds that don’t produce a lot of dander include Poodles, Bichon Frises, and Schnauzers.

Do Flat-Coated Retrievers smell?

Not necessarily. Unlike other dog breeds, Flat-Coats don’t have a distinctive odor. However, like any other dogs, they can get smelly if you don’t bathe them regularly or if they have skin or ear infections. To keep your Flat-Coat smelling fresh, give them regular baths, check their ears regularly, and feed them a healthy diet.

How often should a Flat-Coated retriever be groomed?

As mentioned earlier, Flat-Coats shed moderately, so you should brush them at least once a week. Additionally, a bath every two months is essential to keep your dog clean and smelling good. However, a bath is warranted if they get dirty or start to smell. Consider taking them to a groomer every few months to maintain their coat and nails.

What is good for Flat-Coat Retriever hair allergies? 

If your Flat-Coat has hair allergies, it could be due to several factors, including food, pollen, dust mites, shampoos, or other allergens. To alleviate the symptoms and avoid further irritation, consider switching to hypoallergenic food or shampoo, keeping your house clean, and controlling the environment. Consult your vet if the allergies persist.

How can I stop my dog’s allergies fast?

Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to quickly stop your dog’s allergies. The best thing you can do is to identify the cause of the allergies and avoid it as much as possible. For instance, you might switch to hypoallergenic dog food if it’s a food allergy. Alternatively, you might limit their outdoor activities or give them allergy medication if it’s a pollen allergy. Your vet can also provide more guidance on managing your dog’s allergies.

Final Words

Owning a flat-coated retriever can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential skin allergies your puppies may develop. While this breed is susceptible to skin issues, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a happy, healthy life with your loving companion. You can prevent and treat flat-coated retriever skin allergies with proper care and attention, ensuring your pet is comfortable and content. It’s all about being proactive and staying informed to give your Flat-coat Retriever the best life possible.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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