How Does At-Home Dog Allergy Testing Work?
Are you wondering how to test for dog allergies at home? How do these kits work? All you have to do is collect a saliva or hair sample (it depends on each company) and mail it to the company’s lab. Then, you’ll receive results via email within a few weeks. You should share your results with your veterinarian to determine the best treatment plan for your pup.
Runner-Up: 5Strands Pet Food & Environmental Intolerance Test Review
The extensive 5Strands Pet Food and Environmental Intolerance Test kit tests for a whopping 380 food ingredients and environmental items. The laboratory scans your pet’s hair sample (10-15 strands) using bio-resonance technology, which “creates a profile of energies that radiates from a person or pet,” according to the company’s website. The test also provides you with an easy-to-understand report.
The results are color-coded, with red being foods and other triggers to avoid and yellow to flag those items to use with caution. They also give you dietary and lifestyle guidelines, including a recommended elimination diet (if needed), based on your dog’s results.
If you suspect that your pup is only allergic to his food or only something in his environment, 5Strands also offers less expensive separate test kits for food intolerances and environmental intolerances.
|Tests for 380 food and environmental items
|On the pricey side
|Only requires hair samples
|Get results in 7-10 days
|Website lists all allergens they test for
|Customer support via live chat, phone, and email
|For dogs and cats
5Strands often has discounted prices off of MSRP on Amazon.
As this market grows, more providers jump in with their allergy test kits. Who knows? Maybe you’ll try more than one and find one of these works better for your unique pup and situation. We’ve also reviewed:
Dog Allergy Testing Cost Breakdown By Test Type
There are many types of allergies, each requiring a different diagnostic test. Pricing depends mainly on the test type.
Here is what you can expect to pay by test type.
Dog Allergy Testing – What Happens, Costs, and Is It Worth It?
Life can be miserable for a dog with allergies. Knowing which allergens are responsible for the itchiness, discomfort, and tummy upset, however, isn’t always obvious. With dog allergy testing¸ your veterinarian is better positioned to identify offending allergens and offer your pup relief.
There’s a lot to unpack about allergy testing for dogs – from understanding the difference between tests to determining whether it’s worth it. Here we answer your most pressing questions so you can be more informed when talking to your veterinarian.
Yes, dogs can have allergies and they’re actually quite common, says Amber LaRock, a licensed veterinary technician for EmergencyVetsUSA, who explains that “about 20 percent of dogs fall victim to allergies throughout their lifetime.”
More instances of dog allergies are being reported in recent years than in the past. In its 2018 State of Pet Health Report, Banfield Pet Hospital reported that over the past 10 years, environmental allergies in dogs (like pollen, dust, and molds) had increased by 30.7 percent, and flea allergies by 12.5 percent.
It’s difficult to say whether allergies in dogs are increasing or if the rise in cases is due to a heightened awareness of pet owners and better record/data keeping by veterinarians. Regardless, more pet parents are seeking out allergy testing and treatments for their dogs.
Though dogs can develop allergies to just about anything, the most common types, according to Dr. Christina Restrepo, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist, are:
“Environmental allergens for pets vary by region and climate, but many are found in a typical pet owner’s home, including pollen, house dust mite, dander, molds, and cleaning solutions,” says Restrepo, who works at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Naples, Florida.
Food allergies in dogs are comparatively rare, says LaRock, “but they still occur in some unlucky pups.” Veterinarians estimate that 0.2 percent of dogs are afflicted, with common trigger foods including beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy, and milk.
While any dog can develop allergies, veterinarians believe genetics play a role. Certain breeds, including Golden Retrievers, Dalmatians, Boxers, Labrador Retrievers, Boston Terriers, and West Highland White Terriers are at higher risk.
All three types of dog allergies can cause symptoms (itchiness is the most common dog allergy symptom), veterinarians say. Dogs with allergies may also scratch or lick or chew themselves excessively, and their skin may appear red and inflamed.
Dog allergy testing is used to determine how a pup’s immune system will respond to specific environmental allergens like fleas, pollen, and mold spores. Veterinarians rely on two types of tests to accomplish this.
One test, called intradermal testing – or skin testing – is always performed by a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. “Intradermal skin testing is typically performed under anesthesia or sedation,” says Dr. Frank Gomez, an associate veterinarian at Heart + Paw, who works at several of their mid-Atlantic locations. “A patch of skin is shaved and a number of allergens are injected individually under the skin to assess a reaction.” This is considered the most accurate way to test for allergies, but is also more expensive, and may not be right for all dogs.
The second test, called serum testing – or blood allergy testing – is a basic blood test that most veterinarians can perform. Once blood is drawn at the veterinary clinic, it’s sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Both types of dog allergy tests can pinpoint the specific environmental allergens causing sensitivity, says Dr. Susan Jeffrey, an associate veterinarian at Odyssey Veterinary Care in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. The purpose of these tests, she says, is to determine which allergens are most appropriate for the dog’s immunotherapy cocktail treatment. “For example, if the dog isn’t allergic to dust mites based on the tests, then we would not include dust mite allergens in the allergy shot or sublingual drops.”
These tests have been in existence for many decades, says Restrepo, and “testing continues to improve and evolve.”
Neither of these tests, however, can currently identify a dog’s sensitivity to food allergies. This process usually involves feeding the dog a restricted diet over a few weeks, and waiting to see if dog allergy symptoms improve.
When you’re ready to speak to your veterinarian about dog allergy testing, the conversation will likely revolve around either (or both) intradermal allergy testing and serum testing.