Allergy season can wreak havoc on you - itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and constant congestion can be annoying and challenging to treat. Sometimes people suffer from allergies to dogs and that isn't easy when you love dogs and want to be a pet parent. The good news is, you can look for large dog breeds that are hypoallergenic to bring into your home, where you are bound to experience far fewer allergies.
But, if you’re a dog owner, you may also notice that your dog is experiencing allergies, too.
So, how do you know if it’s allergies? And, how do you treat them?
Allergies are pretty common in dogs and typically affect their skin and ears, but sometimes they can have other reactions. It can be challenging to know when your dog is suffering from allergies and whether it’s time to take a trip to the vet.
Our dogs can’t tell us when they are suffering from allergies, so as owners, we must pay attention to the telltale signs.
Here are some common allergy symptoms you may see in your dog and what you can do to help treat them.
Common Allergies in Dogs
There are varying types of allergies that occur in our pups. A simple definition of allergy is a reaction to a foreign substance by the body’s immune system. The symptoms can vary in your dog; some may be the same, from one type of allergy to the next.
The types of allergies most commonly found in canines include:
Allergic dermatitis or skin allergies are one of the most widely found allergies in dogs. Causes of skin reactions include food allergies, environmental allergens, or a flea bite allergy.
Food allergies - your dog can react to something in its dog food or something else it ate (and shouldn’t have). Your dog may also experience some digestive tract issues with a food allergy.
Flea Bite allergy - some dogs are more prone to be allergic to a flea’s saliva. So, their skin can become extremely irritated at the site when they suffer a flea bite.
Environmental allergens - many things can cause allergies in the air, including pollen, dust, grass, mold, and other elements found outside. Most of the time, these types of allergies are more seasonal, so your dog may only suffer at certain times throughout the year.
Acute Allergic Reaction
Anaphylactic shock is no joke and your dog can experience this alarming allergic reaction. Acute allergic reactions happen quickly and are severe reactions to a particular allergen, such as a bee sting.
You should always keep a close eye on your dog after vaccination as well. Sometimes these can cause acute allergic reactions. It can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Signs and Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs
Your dog's symptoms when having an allergic reaction can vary, depending on the cause. If a dog has an acute allergic reaction and goes into anaphylactic shock, it can cause different signs than any other type of allergy.
The typical symptoms and signs that your dog demonstrates when having an allergic reaction include the following:
Constant or continuous itching
Hives (noticeable red spots on the skin)
Inflamed or red skin (usually where the dog is itching)
Swelling in the ears, lips, eyelids, or face
Red, runny eyes
Constant licking or chewing
These signs can also indicate a different type of health issue. When you notice anything that looks to be an allergic reaction or see your dog showcasing these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian to ensure an accurate diagnosis is provided.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Dog Allergies
When you bring your dog to your vet with allergies, your vet may need some allergy testing. Skin, hair, saliva, and blood tests can help determine seasonal or environmental allergies.
Unfortunately, these tests cannot detect food allergies in your dog. For a food allergy, you have to do some elimination within your dog’s diet to determine the type of food(s) causing the problem. Your vet may need to rule out other conditions before looking into allergies and providing an accurate diagnosis.
Flea bite allergies are the easiest for your vet to diagnose. Your vet may check for fleas and apply a flea-killing product to see if the issue can be resolved, such as a shampoo or topical flea and tick prevention product. You will most likely need to treat your dog with flea-preventative products frequently so it doesn’t get bit again.
The best way to treat allergies in dogs is by avoiding the cause of the allergen once identified. This can be problematic if your dog is allergic to pollen and dust. But, you can work to keep your home and outside areas clean where you know your dog will be to help prevent an allergic reaction from occurring. Likewise, removing the ingredient in the food causing the allergy will treat the food issue.
Whatever lifestyle or diet changes are necessary for your dog, your vet may still prescribe allergy medication to help control the signs and symptoms of the reaction. It can help prevent your dog from itching, breaking its skin, and causing an infection.
In some cases, desensitization can be helpful. Your dog will be given the allergy in the form of a shot in small amounts during a period of time. Eventually, your dog will get used to the allergen and no longer display signs of a reaction. However, it isn’t a foolproof method, but it can have some success.
With an acute allergic reaction, you need to get your dog into an emergency vet hospital immediately.
Take Care of Your Dog’s Allergies
It’s important to understand that the symptoms of allergies in your dog can be confused with other health disorders. It would be best if you got an accurate diagnosis for dog allergies from a veterinarian or professional.
Ensure that you follow your vet’s advice closely to help relieve your pet’s symptoms. Instill preventative measures to care for your dog’s well-being and ensure it doesn’t sprout another alarming reaction.
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