What Is a Dog Allergy?
Dogs with an allergy have an immune system that overreacts and produces antibodies to substances that it would normally tolerate. This over-response is known as an allergic or hypersensitive reaction. Allergies can develop to any substance that a dog is frequently exposed to, such as food, fleas and seasonal environmental allergens such as grass or pollen.
What Are the Symptoms of Dog Allergies?
Although there are many symptoms, the most common symptom associated with dog allergies is itching of the skin and ears. In certain cases, the symptoms also involve the respiratory system which causes coughing, sneezing, and or wheezing. Some pups will also experience runny discharge from the nose and mouth. In more serious cases, allergies are known to affect the digestive system, resulting in anal gland issues, vomiting and diarrhea.
Do Most Dogs Suffer from Allergies?
Unfortunately, allergies are very common in dogs. They affect dog breeds of all shapes and sizes. In most cases, allergies appear around the pup’s first birthday, however, can appear as early as six months in age.
Food Allergies in Dogs.
Food allergies make up between ten and fifteen percent of dog reported allergy cases. Known symptoms of food allergies in dogs include chronically soft stool, chronic anal gland inflammation, compulsive itching, vomiting, and chronic ear infections. There is a difference between your fur-legged friend reacting to something that didn’t agree with his stomach versus an actual allergic reaction. A onetime upset stomach after eating a certain food isn’t cause for great concern, however, if your pup gets “sick” or shows signs of an allergic reaction after eating the same type of food he may be allergic to what he is consuming. In an allergic reaction to food, special antibodies are produced against a part of the food’s protein or complex carbohydrate. Since the production of these antibodies is required for an allergy to develop, food allergies usually manifest after eating the same food for an extended period of time.
Best Way to Test My Dog For Food Allergies?
There are not many reliable allergy tests for food allergies. Blood and saliva tests that claim to detect food allergies have not yet proven to be completely accurate. Before going this route, the “food trial” method is what many dog owners use. This consists of a very basic and limited-ingredient diet with a novel protein that your pup has never ingested before. Feeding your dog a source of protein such as venison versus beef or chicken is an example of this. This “trial” will allow you to add one ingredient at a time until you see your dog react. It is at that point you can point out which ingredient caused the allergic reaction. This does take time though and a lot of patience.
Flea Allergies Are No Fun.
There are a variety of anti-flea products on the market that will help combat these pesky creatures. A good indication that your dog has fleas is excessive scratching, normally in a generalized area. Your pup’s skin (under his fur) may be red and inflamed which is certainly painful. Should you suspect a flea allergy, it is always wise to contact your veterinarian for guidance and information.
Treating Dog Allergies
Since each dog and each allergy is different, there are a wide variety of dog allergy treatments available. It is always suggested to keep in contact with your veterinarian who can recommend and adjust treatments. Generally, the levels of treatment are based on what your dog is suffering from. Keeping a journal of your dog’s symptoms and what he did or ate before the symptoms arrived is also something that will allow for a better plan of action.
The Most Common Types of Dog Allergy Treatments
Anti-itch medication: Daily oral or monthly injectable medications that block itch pathways inside your dog.
Medicated liquid shampoos: This will allow you to keep your pup’s skin barrier healthy by keeping allergens from forming on your dog.
Antihistamines: These are used for breathing symptoms such as sneezing and also help to stop a runny eye or nose.
Hypo sensitization: A very fancy word for an allergy shot which can be administered by your veterinarian.
It’s A Part of Being a Dog Owner Although dog allergies can be frustrating, at times, it is a part of owning a dog. After all, our pups are living creatures who experience the same physical ailments that we do. By taking a proactive approach some allergies can be prevented. Allergies that cant are able to be controlled