Allergies in Dogs

An allergy is when some sort of irritant causes itching, welts, and rashes to name a few symptoms. The term “allergy” means there is some sort of overreaction by the dog’s immune system to a certain substance.

If you have allergies, then you know just how itchy and miserable they can make you when they act up due to pollen in the air or whatever irritant causes the allergy.

Just like their owners, dogs too are miserable when allergies they have hit their system. Allergies can cause several respiratory, skin, digestive and other issues, depending on the irritant involved.

The main categories of allergies are contact allergies, inhalant allergies, food allergies and allergies to parasites like fleas or mites. Dogs can have allergies to everything from the grass at their feet to the food they eat, and sometimes it takes a little detective work just to figure it out so they can get some relief.

Allergy Symptoms in Dogs

The allergy symptoms in dogs are pretty similar to those in people and include:

  • Itchy, red and scabby moist skin
  • Excess of scratching
  • Itchy and runny eyes
  • Extreme itchiness on back or base of tail
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Snoring (inflamed throat)
    • Chewing legs and paws
    • Swollen legs and paws
    • Constant Licking
    • Hair loss
    • Scabby or crusty skin
    • Chronic ear infections
    • Hives
    • Eye Discharge

Common Allergy Irritants

There are certain irritants that tend to be the ones that dogs are allergic to more often. These include:

  • Pollen
  • Mold spores
  • Dust
  • Dander
  • Feather
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Some kinds of foods
  • Medications
  • Fleas/flea control products
  • Perfume
  • Cleaning products
  • Fabric
  • Medicated shampoo
  • Rubber
  • Plastic

Dogs Prone To Allergies

For reasons not known, certain dogs are more prone to allergies. The dogs that tend to get allergies more often are: Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, other terriers, retrievers, setters and flat faced breeds. If you own one of these kinds of dogs, be sure to watch out for possible allergies.

Diagnosing Allergies in Dogs

In order to figure out if your dog is allergic to something, the veterinarian will do skin, blood and elimination testing. The tests are pretty much the same as the ones to determine if humans are allergic to something.

Treating Dog Allergies

Of course, the best way to treat an allergy is to keep your dog away from whatever is irritating his system. For instance, if your dog is allergic to fleas, then make sure to put him on a flea protection and control program or if he is allergic to dust, then you have to keep his bedding very clean, plus vacuum the house often. If your dog is allergic to certain foods, he will probably have to go on a special prescription dog food you can get at the vet’s office.

Dogs also can get allergy shots just like people. The vet may also prescribe antihistamines like Benadryl, fatty acid supplements for the skin, or a shampoo or spray that contains oatmeal to relive the itchiness. In severe cases the vet may give the dog cortisone shots or pills.

Other things that may help the allergic dog is cool baths with Epsom salts or medicated shampoos, taking Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplements, using a dehumidifier in your home, using an air purifier with a HEPA filter in your home, or even air conditioners as it reduces the circulation of airborne allergens because windows are then kept closed.

The bottom line is that just like us, our furry friends can suffer from allergies. If your dog is showing symptoms of some sort of allergy, then get him to the vet to diagnose and help out your pet.


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