Why Dog Allergy Testing Is Crucial and How to Get It

Want to find out what your dog is allergic to? Allergy testing is the best way to know. So, if your dog scratches itself too frequently and can’t seem to keep some foods down, an allergy test will keep you from constantly guessing the problem.

Find out why dog allergy testing is crucial, the types, and the cost of getting your dog tested.

When and Why to Think About Allergy Testing for Your Dog

Dogs, much like us, can experience allergies. This is why it is important to watch out for signs like:

  • excessive scratching
  • excessive licking
  • hair loss

When you notice these symptoms, it’s time to talk with your vet. Allergy testing can be a game-changer, especially if your pup has skin issues that persist despite treatment.

If your dog has atopic dermatitis and you wish to try out allergen-specific immunotherapy, scheduling an allergy test early on can be beneficial.

This proactive approach can help you identify the triggers causing your dog’s discomfort. It also enables you to work towards practical solutions. So, don’t hesitate to book an allergy test to manage your furry friend’s allergies and improve their overall well-being.

Types of Allergy Tests for Dogs

When it comes to allergy tests for dogs, vets use two main types to pinpoint environmental allergens causing reactions in pets.

These are:

  • Intradermal skin tests (IDAT)
  • Serum-based tests (RAST)

Both methods have their strengths and weaknesses, and we’ll look into them so you can make an informed decision for your furry pet.

1. Intradermal Allergy Testing for Dogs (IDAT):

Intradermal allergy testing is a top choice amongst vet dermatologists. It involves injecting small amounts of allergens just under the dog’s skin. A welt or wheel will appear at the injection site within 20 minutes if your dog is allergic to a specific allergen.


  • Quickly identifies a wide range of potential allergens
  • Relatively simple and done in a single office visit


  • Requires sedation or anesthesia for your dog
  • It needs experienced interpretation, often by a vet dermatologist
  • You must stop allergy medication for at least 2 weeks before the test, and sometimes longer, depending on your dog’s medication.

This test offers a comprehensive view of potential allergies, but it’s important to seek the skills of a veterinary professional due to its specialized nature.

2. Serum Allergy Testing for Dogs (RAST):

Serum allergy testing, known as RAST, is a blood test that gauges the levels of IgE antibodies present in your dog’s bloodstream. The immune system builds these antibodies as a response to allergens.

Incorporating RAST into your dog’s healthcare regimen can offer a less invasive and more accessible method of identifying allergies. It’s particularly suitable if your dog requires ongoing allergy medication or you seek an alternative to a specialist referral. 

While it has certain limitations, its convenience and compatibility make it a valuable option in allergy testing.

Advantages of RAST

RAST has several advantages, making this procedure popular among dog owners. They include:

Non-invasive: One of the standout benefits of RAST is that your dog gets this procedure without the need for sedation or anesthesia. This makes it a more comfortable experience for your dog and lessens potential stress for you and your furry pet.

Convenience: Your regular pet’s vet can perform this procedure during a single visit. This accessibility is a significant advantage because you won’t need additional referrals.

Compatibility with Medication: If your dog is undergoing allergy medication, they can still undergo serum allergy testing. This broadens the pool of dogs that can benefit from this allergy testing method.

Alternative to Referral: If you can’t or prefer not to seek a referral to a vet dermatologist, RAST offers an alternative path for exploring allergies and pursuing appropriate treatments.

Disadvantages of RAST

Waiting Period: A drawback of serum allergy testing is that it may take up to six weeks to receive your pet’s results from the lab. This waiting period can delay the identification of allergens causing your dog’s symptoms.

Variability: Since various companies offer the RAST assay, differences in test performance can result in varying levels of accuracy among labs. This disparity may lead to challenges in precisely pinpointing the exact allergens.

Other Types of Allergy Testing For Dogs

While intradermal allergy testing and RAST are the top two common ways of allergy testing in dogs, vets also use other types.

The Elimination Diet Method

This method is a smart way to determine if your dog has food allergies. The process is quite effortless. You and your vet pick a special diet with new ingredients your dog hasn’t eaten before.

Then, your dog sticks to this diet for about 8 to 12 weeks. Even though it might feel long, it’s important because it takes time for any problem ingredients to leave your dog’s system.

During this time, your dog can’t eat anything else. That is, no extra treats or table scraps. These sneaky snacks could mess up the test.

If your dog’s symptoms go away by the end of the trial, your vet will guide you to do a “challenge.” This means bringing back the suspected ingredient to see if the symptoms return.

If the symptoms return, that ingredient is the issue. If not, you’ll try other ingredients till you find the troublemaker. 

Checking for Flea Allergy

Fleas can be a big itch culprit. If your vet spots fleas or signs of them on your itchy pup, they’ll give your dog medicine to keep fleas away. If the itching goes away after this, your dog is likely allergic to fleas. 

Dog Allergy Testing Costs

The expense of dog allergy testing varies depending on the specific tests ordered by your vet. It usually ranges from $80 to $350.

Blood tests, like RAST, tend to be more affordable than skin tests. On average, a blood test costs $80 to $200, while a skin test costs $195 to $350.

Remember, these prices don’t cover everything. You also need to consider:

  • Veterinary Visits: These can cost between $50 to $250 or more, especially if you see a specialist.
  • Sedation Cost: Sedation might range from $75 to $200 for intradermal tests, based on your dog’s size.
  • Extra Tests: Your vet might require multiple tests, like a skin and blood test.
  • Allergy Treatment: Allergy shots for dogs can be around $40 to $80 per month.
  • At-Home Tests: If you choose an at-home allergy test, it might be between $100 and $250.

Remember that these costs can add up, so it’s good to be ready for the total financial commitment before you take your dog for allergy testing.

Get the Best Dog Allergy Testing Plan For Your Dog With Truffle Paws!

Is your four-legged companion constantly scratching or licking, or suffering from skin problems? Truffle Paws can help with allergy testing costs! We offer budget-friendly pet insurance plans that ensure allergy testing is within reach for every pet parent.

Don’t let your dog suffer in silence. Take action now with Truffle Paws and give your furry friend the relief they deserve.

Get started today and give your dog the best healthcare and allergy-free life!