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Everything You Need To Know About German Shepherd Allergies

Everything You Need To Know About German Shepherd Allergies

It is a well-known fact that German Shepherds are one of the most known breeds in the world, and there are plenty of reasons for that. These dogs have admirable intelligence and working abilities, but that is not all.

Besides their brain, they are also blessed with beauty. They have a beautiful double coat that comes in different colors. Beneath that lacious fur can lay a secret, and that secret is known as German Shepherd allergies.

This is probably not the answer that you were hoping to hear, but don’t worry – it is not as scary as it might sound. 

These pooches can develop different allergies, and we are here to help you out with that.

What Can Cause German Shepherd Allergies?

german shepherd lying on the hay

German Shepherd dogs (GSDs) are prone to developing different types of allergies that are mostly shown on their skin. Because of that, whatever your German Shepherd might be allergic to, it is usually referred to as a skin allergy.

To be clear, German Shepherds are not only dogs that can develop allergies. Every dog breed can showcase some type of irritation towards certain things. 

The difference is that these doggies are more prone to them than other breeds. This doesn’t mean that your GSD will for sure develop an allergy, but it is a good thing to know what they can be allergic to.

This way, you will be able to detect the thing that is bothering them quicker. Here are some of the things that can cause German Shepherd allergies.

1. Food Allergies

These dogs are known for their endurance, but their stomach… well, not so much. They can develop conditions known as Bloat and Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. These health issues can cause your dog to develop intolerance and allergies towards certain foods.

Food allergies are one of the most common types of allergies that this dog can develop, and it may not shock you that much. The ingredient that causes allergies the most might shock you. Meat is the number one cause of irritations with German Shepherds.

The allergy will mostly be shown as a skin rash, and it can cause even more problems with their digestive system. 

Here is the list of food you should keep an eye on when giving to your German Shepherd dog:

Chicken. This is one of those animal proteins that can give your GSD a lot of problems. This might be unusual because chicken is mostly the number one meat that dog owners decide to give to their dogs. The tricky part about chicken is that it can be found in the majority of dog foods. Sometimes, chicken will not be the main ingredient, but it will still be there in traces. Because of this, you should read the label carefully to make sure that the dog food you decided on has no chicken in it at all.

Beef. This ingredient is even trickier. It has been proven that beef is the number one allergen to many dogs… even more common than chicken. Unfortunately, for dog owners who have a dog that is allergic to beef, it can be found in many dog foods, just like chicken. Read the ingredient list carefully!

Diary. The thing about dogs that are allergic to dairy products is that it is not necessarily true that they can’t eat dairy at all. This might sound confusing. Lactose, which is the key to these allergies, is not the same in every dairy product amount-wise. Cow’s milk will have more lactose than, for example, goat milk. This means that your pooch might have some goat milk from time to time. Cheeses and whipped cream can be tricky, depending on the milk that is used, so keep an eye on that.

Wheat. This ingredient has a lot of debates surrounding it. You probably heard about grain-free dog food, and that it is believed to be better for dogs, but it may not be as good as we think it is. We suggest you do intense research when it comes to wheat and grain-free foods. You can also always ask your vet for some advice. 

Some other foods that can also cause food allergies, but are not that common, are:

– eggs

green beans




fish, like tuna, for example


2. Insect Bite Allergies

german shepherd dog was bitten by a tick at veterinarian

Flea bites and tick bites can be generally tricky, let alone with dogs that are allergic to their bites. What causes this allergy? Well, the reason why a German Shepherd can react to a tick or a flea bite is due to their saliva.

The saliva causes the dog to develop allergic dermatitis. This can be noticed easier when they get a tick bite. Whether you see a dried up dead tick or a live one on your dog, you will be able to notice a reaction where the tick is.

With fleas, it is a bit more difficult to notice since these tiny insects can be all over your dog, and their bites are not as big as with ticks.

Since the bite marks will be itchy, you shouldn’t be surprised when you see your dog scratching and licking the irritated parts. This can be dangerous. If they touch those parts a lot, they can develop either bacterial or yeast infections.

3. Environmental Allergies

When you think about environmental allergies, the first thing that can pop in your mind is pollen. You may also think that this is only reserved for humans, but this is not the case. Dogs can easily develop pollen allergies.

Other environmental allergens are:




Cleaning products

Cigarette smoke



– Feathers

Some of these can show up as seasonal allergies, like pollen. Others can be there all year round. These can be difficult to detect because there is also an option where your dog can be allergic to many of the things we listed.

Your dog can get dermatitis, but it can also sneeze a lot, cough, and even show lack of energy.

4 Contact Allergies

german shepherd dog face with allergic rhinitis lying on the floor

This type of allergies are the least common with any dog breed, including the German Shepherd. Long-haired German Shepherds will be even less likely to get this allergy than German Shepherds with a shorter coat.

As the name says itself, the dog will need to get in contact with the allergen to have a reaction. It has to go all the way to their skin. 

Some of these allergens are:


Flea treatments






– Wool



The thing about this type of allergy, even though it is not that common, is that it is usually the most aggressive one. This means that the dog will have a really bad reaction to some of these allergens. 

For example, a flea bite can cause a lot less irritation than a pesticide if the dog has developed an allergy to any of those. 

How To Treat German Shepherd Allergies

german shepherd eating a pill from owner's hand

Treatment truly depends on the type of allergy and the severity of the reaction. For example, your dog might be allergic to some type of medication, so the first thing you will do is stop giving the medication in the first place.

After that, you might use some cream to make sure that the rash goes away. 

If your dog is allergic to flea bites, the most logical thing you can do is get rid of the fleas. You can use an anti-flea shampoo or some other remedies. When the fleas are gone, make sure that your dog is protected from any more flea infestations.

Here are generally the things that can be used for getting rid of an allergic reaction:



Change in the dog’s diet



Try not to determine the treatment by yourself. The best option is to ask the vet for advice, and for him or her to give the proper treatment. Even if you know that your dog is allergic to chicken, for example, you should always ask the vet what to do next.

You will know that you need to cut chicken out of the dog’s diet, but maybe there are some more steps that you need to follow.

To Sum It Up

German Shepherd allergies are not to be played with. They need to be taken seriously, even when the reactions that they cause are not that severe. A mild rash can turn into something serious if you don’t take care of it for a long period of time.

There are quite a few things that can cause a German Shepherd to have an allergic reaction. We hope that reading our list has helped you determine what might be the cause for your German Shepherd.

If you notice any type of skin condition on your dog, you should go to the vet. The chances of figuring out what might be the allergy that your dog has will be higher if you consult a vet.