Allergies not only affect humans, but dogs as well. Just as in humans, allergies in dogs can be annoying and even painful to deal with. There are five known types of allergies that affect dogs everyday, including dog food allergies. It is important to determine the different symptoms for each allergy to diagnose your dog and provide him with proper treatment. There are many different symptoms you can watch for to help identify your dog’s allergy and treat it immediately.
Some allergies are seasonal and can be treated with simple antibiotics. Others can lead to serious and recurring infections such as dog ear infections and skin disease.
- 1 Help with Canine Allergies
- 2 Dealing with Allergies in Dogs
- 3 Dog allergic reaction and symptoms
- 4 How to treat allergies in dogs
Help with Canine Allergies
Did you know that about 40% of dogs suffer from allergies every day? An allergy is a hypersensitivity to exposure of a harmless substance, known as an allergen. Allergens cause the body’s immune system to overreact, causing irritation on the skin, among other symptoms.
Dealing with Allergies in Dogs
Dog allergies can be respiratory, as in humans, but are more common on the skin. The only difference between humans with allergies and dogs with allergies is that dogs have no way of telling us what is wrong with them. It is up to the owner to pay attention to their symptoms and get them the help they need to live long, happy and healthy lives.
Some allergies in dogs may be very minor, but still need medical attention. If your dog’s allergy goes untreated, it could lead to serious health issues like recurring ear infections or hot spots. Not only are they extremely painful for your dog, but they are very expensive to treat. Diagnosing your dog as soon as you notice a change in his behavior can save him from a lot of suffering.
Dog allergic reaction and symptoms
Dog allergies have both common and unique symptoms. The most common dog allergy symptoms is excessive itching. It is important to determine other unique symptoms and diagnose the allergy.
Along with excessive itching, there are other common dog allergies symptoms that you should be aware of and monitor your dog for. Some common symptoms are listed below.
This information can then be brought to your veterinarian who will be able to properly diagnose your dog’s allergy symptoms and provide him with the best treatment.
Otisis Externa, or dog ear infections, can occur from your dog’s allergy. 92% of ear infections happen in the outer ear of your dog. Some dog allergies symptoms are head shaking, yellow to brown colored discharge in your dog’s ears, redness and swelling, and unpleasant odor.
Biting or Chewing
If your dog is constantly biting or chewing on his fur or skin, this is because he has flea or tick but he may have an allergy. Dog allergies usually affect the skin first. Chewing on the skin can cause sores and hair loss.
Irritated, Red Rashes
Skin rashes on your dog can be difficult to diagnose because of a dog’s thick fur coat. If your dog is scratching constantly in one area, be sure to check the area. The area is usually flakey, red and slightly swollen. Often times the rash can pop up within the first few hours in contact with his allergy.
Shedding or Flakey Skin
This is common in bacterial and contact allergies. These allergies deal primarily with your dog’s skin. If you notice flakes of skin among your dog’s fur, along with other symptoms such as itching or sores on his skin, he may have an allergy.
This can be a symptom of dog allergies. So it is important to note if your dog has any other symptoms along with watery eyes
Bumps or Sores On the Skin
Sores on the skin are also known as “hot spots”. A hot spot is a localized area of skin inflammation and infection. Hot spots are easily detected. Redness, oozing, itching and hair loss. Common areas for hot spots are on the paws or right above the tail.
Upset stomach is most common in food allergies, because the allergen is being ingested. Vomiting or diarrhea are dog allergies symptoms of an upset stomach, much the same as in humans.
How to treat allergies in dogs
While there is no one simple fix all solution or standard treatment for your dog’s allergies, there are many different treatments to help relieve your dog of his allergy symptoms. The allergies occur because of the immune system that is hypersensitive to any particular substance or environment. Below, you will find treatments for the 5 different types of dog allergies: skin allergies, flea allergies, food allergies, bacteria allergies, and inhalant allergies.
Noticing these signs is the first step in helping your dog live a long, healthy and happy life. It is always important to monitor your dog’s behavior and reaction to its environment, food and fur. It is important to treat your dog immediately to ensure its condition does not worsen. Your dog may suffer from different allergies and depending on the severity, the treatments vary.
Common dog allergy treatments include antihistamines and antibiotics to reduce swelling and pain, topical ointments to treat wounds and sores, and fatty acids to reduce itching and clear dry skin. Depending on the severity of the allergy, further medications and treatments may be required.
If any symptoms are present, it is important to take your dog to the veterinarian for further treatment and diagnosis. Your veterinarian will be able to ask the right questions and help you find the answers to determine the proper treatment for your dog’s allergy.
Dog Skin Allergies – Contact Allergies
The easiest way to treat your dog for contact allergies is simply to remove the irritant. However, trying to find the cause of the reaction could be difficult. Monitoring your dogs habits and routine can help identify the allergen. If you notice your dog performing any of the symptoms in a certain situation, it is likely this is the cause of the allergy.
Medication such as prednisone or corticosteroids may be given to lessen the itching or infected areas on your dog. Antihistamines, fatty acids or prescribed shampoos can also be used to ease irritation.
The first step in treating a dog with fleas is to remove it from the flea-ridden area. This may be difficult, but is very important to ensure your dog is clear of fleas before beginning any prescribed dog allergy treatment. There are many commercially available products that kill fleas both indoors and outdoors. Pest exterminators are also an option for serious infestations. A veterinarian can customize a flea control program to satisfy the individual needs of an allergic dog.
A veterinarian may prescribe many different medications such as:
- Topical treatments
- Fatty acid supplements to aid in skin oil reproduction
- Medicated shampoos
- Steroids (or cortisone) shots
It should be noted that dogs are more resistant to steroid side effects than humans. However, the goal is always to subject your dog to the smallest amount of steroid needed to keep your dog comfortable.
Dog Food Allergies
The most effective treatment for food allergies is avoidance. To determine what foods your dog is allergic to, you need to visit a veterinarian to have a food trial test performed. A food trial consists of feeding the dog a novel food source of protein and carbohydrates for a minimum of 12 weeks. The diet must be carefully restricted. This means no treats, flavored medication and no rawhide chew toys.
Short term relief may be gained with fatty acids, steroids and antihistamines, however elimination of certain foods is the most effective and long-term solution to your dog’s food allergy.
The easiest way to be sure your dog is not in contact with his food allergy is to purchase specially prepared food or to create a homemade diet plan. However, it is imperative that a homemade diet is balanced with the correct amount of ingredients, vitamins and minerals.
If you choose to create homemade diets for your dog for a long period of time, it is recommended to visit a nutritionist to ensure your dog’s health.
Bacterial Infection In Dogs
The best way to treat a bacterial allergy is to have a blood test done to determine the specific type of bacteria that causes a reaction in your dog. Treatment may include antibiotics or immune stimulants.
It is important to note that bacteria infections have a tendency to return once the medication is discontinued. Because of this, it is best to desensitize your dog with Staph antigen for long term relief of this type of allergy.
Other treatments include antibiotics to treat hot spots or skin irritations. A positive fact about bacterial allergies is they are not contagious to other pets or humans.
There is no known cure to fully resolve inhalant allergies in dogs. However, there are several treatment options available to control any symptoms. The most efficient solution is to avoid the allergen. This can be very difficult as the allergens are often airborne and not easily controlled. Veterinarian prescribed options are also available. Antihistamines, Cyclosporine A and fatty acids are the safest form of medication to help relieve your dog’s inhalant allergies.
A major form of dog allergy treatment is hyposensitization with specific allergens. Once your dog has been tested for specific allergens, very small amounts of the antigen are injected weekly. The purpose of this therapy method is to desensitize your dog’s immune system to the allergy. This approach is recommended for middle aged or older dogs who have year-round itching caused by an inhalant allergy. There are many drawbacks regarding hyposensitization, so it is best to discuss with your veterinarian before committing to this specific form of treatment for your dog.
Did You Know?
Dog food allergies account for about 10% of all allergies found in dogs. It is the third most common allergy, after flea allergies and inhalant allergies.