“The best therapist has fur and four legs.” Summer is here, which means it’s time…
Allergies stem from an overactive immune system. Allergic reactions occur when non-harmful substances (allergens) are flagged as threats by an immune system. This is true for we humans, as well as our dogs. Dog allergies cause extreme reactions that would be harmless to the majority of other animals. Are you concerned that your dog is suffering from dog allergies? Continue reading for the answer.
Dog Allergies’ Symptoms
Allergens are inhaled, ingested or acquired by physical contact with a dog’s skin. A plethora of skin, respiratory and digestive symptoms may occur.
Here are some of the most common dog allergy symptoms:
- Itchy or scabbed skin
- Increased scratching
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Itchy rear or base of tail
- Inflamed ears and ear infections
- Inflamed throat (leads to snoring)
- Swollen paws
- Constant licking
- Coughing or sneezing; asthma
- Nasal discharge
- Hair Loss
It’s important to remember that your veterinarian is the only one who can give confirmation that your dog has allergies. Furthermore, they will need to run tests to confirm the source of your dog’s allergies. While it’s possible for your veterinarian to diagnose dog allergies from a physical exam, skin or blood tests and diet adjustments may be necessary for a full diagnosis. In the event that your dog is prescribed a drug regimen, get all the facts before administration. Many drugs just mask the symptoms of dog allergies and some are known to cause serious side effects.
Environmental Allergens (Atopy)
Your dog can develop allergies from a seemingly limitless amount of environmental elements. Here are some of the most common of these allergens:
- Prescription drugs
- Grass and weed pollen
- Mold Spores
- Dust and dust mites
- Cigarette smoke
- Rubber and plastic materials
Generally, dog allergies that stem from inside the house, are present all year round. However, outside the house allergies are seasonal in nature. In the event that your dog has an environmental allergy, do everything you can to limit the allergens in the house. Vacuum a couple times a week and wash bedding fabrics weekly. Bathing your dog more frequently may help reduce allergic effects to your dog’s itchy skin. Be sure to use a gentle shampoo and consult your veterinarian before application. Washing your dog’s paws regularly can help remove unwanted dog allergens from the house as well.
It’s impossible to cure environmental allergens. However, managing your dog’s allergies is possible with the right strategy. Consult your veterinarian and develop a plan for managing your allergies in dogs.
Dog Food Allergies
Regardless of your dog’s age, they can develop a dog food allergy at any point in life. Regardless of your dog’s age, he needs diversity in his diet. It’s possible that your dog may be allergic to a particular protein within the dog food he’s been eating. Your dog might also develop dog food allergies from other ingredients in the food, such as grains and carbohydrates.
There is only one way to diagnose and treat a dog food allergy. Feed your dog a hydrolyzed protein diet, and nothing else for a 12 week period. This gives your dog’s body a chance to recover and allows the dog allergen to be completely removed from the system. After the 12 week period, you can start reintroducing dog foods in a gradual manner. Pay close attention to any foods or ingredients your dog may be reacting to. For dogs with food allergies, homemade dog food and raw diets are great for positive responses, once the dog allergen has been diagnosed.
Prescription Drug Options
If you’ve exhausted all options for treating your dog’s allergies, it may be time to consult your veterinarian about alternative treatment options. Injections behoove some dogs with airborne allergies. Other dogs respond to Benadryl and related antihistamines. Some shampoos help prevent allergic skin reactions in dogs. For severe cases of dog allergies, corticosteroids such as Triamcinolone help to control the allergy. However, drugs of this sort are last resort for most cases due to their serious side effects.
Dog allergies are tough to deal with, especially for your beloved pooch. It may be a long process, but stay diligent with finding dog allergens. Diagnosing and treating your dog’s allergies will increase the quality of life for your dog. Hopefully, this information will help get you started. This article is not a replacement for your veterinarian’s diagnosis.