You have probably never considered the possibility that your dog may need allergy treatment. Just like we humans can suffer from allergies that range from mild to severe, so can your furry friend. Dogs are just as commonly affected by allergies as we are and, depending on the allergy, it can affect them in many different ways. It could be horribly itchy and dry skin, ear infections or even diarrhea and vomiting
If your dog has shown any of the above symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian about the issue. They will be able to advise you on possible allergies your dog may be suffering from and the proper dog allergy treatment you need to follow. To get a better idea of common allergies your dog could be suffering from, we have compiled a list of types of allergies, common symptoms and possible treatments.
Just remember after reading this: if you think your dog is suffering from allergies, always contact your vet prior to starting any treatment.
TYPES OF ALLERGIES
According to the main allergen, there are several types of allergies your dog can suffer from:
All dogs will react to different allergens differently, which can make it hard to diagnose exactly what kind of allergy your dog may have. Symptoms of dog allergies usually include intense itching (which leads to biting and chewing of the skin), often sneezing, chronic ear infections, rash, vomiting and diarrhea.
While these are common symptoms, there are others that may present themselves less commonly like red or watery eyes, coughing and wheezing or even swelling of the face or limbs. If your dog presents any of these symptoms you should take your dog to the vet immediately. They will help you to decide what the best course of action is to restore your furry friend to optimum health.
If you’d like an introduction on what allergies are and how they affect your dog, please read our article on how to effectively treat dog allergies.
Just like us humans, dogs can also suffer from airborne allergens such as pollen from trees, grass and weeds as well as dust mites that are common in any household – even the cleanest ones. If your dog is suffering from these types of allergies you may not even know right away. Rather than having respiratory issues like humans, most dogs are affected with intense itching of their skin (commonly on their face, feet and the under arms.)
These kinds of allergies can be difficult to control (and impossible to cure), but it is doable when approached the right way. First you will need to figure out what your dog is allergic to. This can be done in many ways, but the most common is a skin test or blood test performed by your vet.
Allergy tests for dogs work very similarly to those performed on humans. A skin test is done by exposing the skin directly to certain allergens and see which the dog reacts to. A blood test can be performed as well, but will not often give as quick or accurate results as the skin test. While your dog may not be happy with the trip to the vet, they are sure to love relief from those horrible allergies!
The best way to treat airborne allergies in dogs is to avoid the allergen. If the allergy your dog suffers from is pollen related, then treatment can be as simple as keeping them inside as much as possible during seasons with high pollen count. If your dog is allergic to dust mites in your home, you may be able to aid them with the help of an air purifier.
If keeping your dog away from the allergen is not possible or just very hard to accomplish regularly, your vet may prescribe an antihistamine treatment.
Other possibilities include allergy shots (which are given regularly, usually weekly, slowly immunizing your dog to the allergen) and hypoallergenic shampoo and regular bathing.
Dogs with allergies to food can be a little bit trickier to diagnose, especially since food allergies are often side-by-side with other types of allergies. If your dog is allergic to something in his food, he will often suffer from itchy skin, ear infections, and vomit and diarrhea symptoms above others. Your vet will likely test for airborne, flea or contact allergies first, since those are easier to diagnose.
If your dog does not respond to the treatment for other types of allergies, or as soon as the medication is completed the symptoms return, then your vet is likely to assume a food allergy. Unfortunately, the only way to treat your dog for a food allergy is to avoid contact with that food. The hard part about this is finding the proper offender, when their dog food is likely a mix of things. (Usually beef, chicken, wheat, soy and egg – which are the most common foods for dogs to be allergic to.)
To diagnose a food allergy in your dog, your vet will have you feed them an exclusive diet of commercial hypoallergenic dog food or a homemade dog food for a minimum of 8-12 weeks. For that time period it is extremely important that your dog eats nothing but the prescribed food. If you give your dog any table scraps, medications or toys with flavoring then the test will be invalid. You absolutely have to stick to this diet for the advised time period.
If your dogs’ symptoms clear up, you will slowly reintroduce other foods into the diet until you know which one he is allergic to. Once this is determined then it is easy to keep your dog from further allergic reactions, simply remove the offending food from your dogs’ diet. This is the only proper treatment for a food allergy in dogs and a food test is the only way to diagnose a food allergy in dogs.
The most common allergy that dogs suffer from, are allergies produced by fleas. While this may seem obvious, you may not have considered how severe of a reaction your dog can have to flea bites. In some dogs the flea bites are just an annoyance, they will itch a little and it will be fine. In other dogs, the reaction can be thousands of times worse. The dog may itch as though he or she was bitten hundreds of times when really they only have two or three bites.
It is up to you to make sure you prevent your dog from contact with allergens as much as possible to keep them happy and healthy. Remember, prevention is the only real treatment for dog allergies.
ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR VET
This is why it is so important that you never try to diagnose your pet yourself. Your vet is trained to help your dog stay happy and healthy and they will only do what is best for them. They will test for common allergens and give your dog the proper treatment. If that treatment is only mildly effective, they will keep testing until the proper diagnosis is made. If there is any chance that something more severe than allergies is affecting your dog, your vet will be able to tell you.
After all, you wouldn’t just look up your symptoms on WebMD and make your own diagnoses about yourself or a child or spouse, would you? Of course not! So why do that for your fur-baby? While this article is here to inform you of symptoms and possible treatments to allergies in dogs, your vet is the only one you should rely on to give you a diagnosis.
Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.
COMMENTS FROM LOVINMYPUP.COM:
This is a very comprehensive article on canine allergies. It is a great followup to the last article posted. Bella and I hope that this article gives you some idea of how to deal with your dog’s allergies.