GSP Health issues

Allergies and German Shorthaired Pointers: Are GSP Hypoallergenic?

As a German Shorthaired Pointer owner, you may have heard that these dogs are hypoallergenic. So, what does that mean? Hypoallergenic dogs are considered to be less likely to cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to animal dander or fur. Some breeds are more commonly referred to as being hypoallergenic than others, but there is no definitive list of breeds that qualify for this title. While it’s true that German shorthaired pointers tend not to provoke allergies in humans as much as other dog breeds do, they aren’t immune from this problem entirely. Here’s what you need to know about allergies and GSP:

Are German Shorthaired Pointers Hypoallergenic?

No! German shorthaired pointers are not hypoallergenic. Under their short, thick top coats lies a dense, water-repellent undercoat. Those with an undercoat shed more than GSP without one, which means more dander.

Dander is the skin flakes that fall off your pet’s coat and float in the air as they move around or play. It floats around with the dust bunnies we sweep up from our floors (or don’t sweep up). It’s also found on carpets and furniture when petting your dog at home or sleeping next to one in bed at night. Dander can trigger an allergic reaction in people sensitive to it by causing sneezing and nasal congestion, for example. It may even lead to asthma attacks if you have severe reactions!

Therefore, GSP aren’t considered hypoallergenic but aren’t the most allergy-prone either.

What is an allergen in dogs?

An allergen is any substance that can cause an allergic reaction. The most common types of allergens in dogs include:

The allergy to Flea 

The most common skin disease seen in dogs is an allergy to fleas. Even one or two flea bites per week can make affected dogs itchy. Itchy is thought to be caused by an allergen in flea saliva.

The allergy to Seasonal/Environmental factors

Environmental or seasonal allergies occur from substances in your home, backyard, and wherever you leave your dog.

As with pollen, these allergens can be inhaled as well as absorbed through your dog’s skin. Among the most common triggers (allergens) for these allergic reactions are pollen, plant or animal fibers, dust mites, and mold spores.

The allergy to Food 

As a result of eating certain foods, adverse reactions can occur. Allergies to certain types of food can develop in dogs at any time during their lives, regardless of how much they have eaten these types of foods before. 

The most common food allergy in dogs is an allergy to a protein source, but sometimes it can be an allergy to grains as well.

Each time a pet eats food containing these substances, the antibodies react with the antigens, and symptoms occur.

Are German Shorthaired Pointers allergenic?

Pointers are genetically more likely to develop skin allergies and atopic dermatitis than other breeds. A variety of allergens can cause skin allergies in pointers. It is common for Pointers to have skin reactions caused by dust, pollen, mold, fleas, shampoos, and food.

What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?

A dog can exhibit various allergy signs, including itching, scratching, licking, facial rubbing, red skin, fur loss, ear infections, and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. There is a variation in severity and type of allergy signs depending on your dog’s allergy.

Symptoms of Dog Flea Allergies

In addition to itchy skin and irritation at the base of the tail, flea allergy dermatitis can affect other parts of the body as well. 

Symptoms of Dog Seasonal/Environmental Allergies

Four common symptoms are associated with this condition: scratching and itching, licking (especially the paws), and rubbing of the face. Additionally, infected dogs may develop red skin, fur loss, and recurrent ear or skin infections. Red skin or fur loss may appear on your dog’s paws, lower legs, face, ears, armpits, and belly.

Symptoms of Dog Food Allergies

Symptoms of food allergies are often similar to those of seasonal or environmental allergies. Other GI symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, or overactive bowel movements.

How to take care of a dog with allergies?

Allergies are treated based on what the vet determines your dog is allergic to. Below are a few examples of how your vet might treat allergy symptoms.

Allergy treatment for fleas

Flea allergy dermatitis is treated to relieve itchy skin and irritation until the fleas are eradicated. In order to eliminate flea allergy symptoms in a flea-allergic dog, strict flea control is necessary.

Flea control products and medications are highly effective. A few are topical, such as Advantage, Revolution, and Vectra, which you apply to your dog’s skin. Simparica, NexGard, and Comfortis are chewable medications. If you are unsure of what to do, you should consult your veterinarian. 

A dog’s environment must also be treated for fleas in severe cases. The vacuum bag should be discarded after you have vacuumed thoroughly to remove eggs, larvae, and pupae. All flea life stages can be treated with insecticides inside and outside your home.

To stop flea eggs and larvae from developing, use an insecticide containing an insect growth regulator, such as methoprene or pyriproxyfen. Alternatively, you can hire a professional exterminator, but make sure they treat fleas only. 

Allergy treatment for seasonal and environmental factors

The treatment will be symptomatic if allergy testing has not been performed, which means that it will aim to reduce or eliminate your dog’s symptoms. Oral medications, such as Apoquel, Atopica, or antihistamines; Injectable medications, such as Cytopoint; Fatty acids; Steroids; Frequent bathing can be used as treatment options.

Long-term use of steroids is not recommended for the management of allergies due to the risk of significant side effects.

If an allergy test has been performed, the ideal allergy treatment for dogs is to avoid the allergen. However, most dogs have allergies to a variety of substances that can be difficult to avoid.

An allergy vaccine, also known as immunotherapy, can also be given by injection under the skin (allergy shots) or by mouth. Immunotherapy reduces the immune system’s reactivity to allergy-causing substances.

Allergy treatment for food allergies

For 8-12 weeks, dogs with food allergies should be fed a hypoallergenic diet. Using this method, you can determine if your dog has a food allergy. 

Diets containing hypoallergenic ingredients either contain a few ingredients with an uncommon protein source or are processed differently (hydrolyzed) to minimize allergic reactions. In general, a dog cannot be allergic to food that it has never eaten.

Make sure your veterinarian recommends the right diet for your pet. During this period, treats, flavored medications, and human foods may also have to be eliminated. 

Dog allergy treatments also reduce symptoms while waiting to see if a diet change is beneficial. Itching may be controlled with Cytopoint, Apoquel, or steroids while you wait to see whether your dog’s allergies respond to a hypoallergenic food trial.


If you are allergic to dogs, mainly German Shorthaired Pointer, it is best to consult a veterinarian before adopting one of these dogs. The doctor can help you determine if any alternative pets are available that will be less likely to trigger an allergic reaction in humans.

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