Dogs and their allergies

Summer is upon us and just like people, a dog can have allergies too!

Allergic symptoms occur when their immune system starts to recognise certain substances and everyday allergens as a threat.

 

What are the general symptoms of dog allergies?

  • Itchy skin, red, moist or with scabs

  • The increase of scratching

  • Itchy, watery eyes

  • Irritated ears and ear infections

  • Sneezing

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Snoring caused by inflammation of the throat

  • Paw chewing and swollen paws

  • Constant licking

 

Dogs are usually allergic to a variation of substances, among them includes the following:

  • Trees, weeds and grasses

  • Mold spores

  • Dust and household dust mites

  • Dandruff

  • Feathers

  • Cigarette smoke

  • Food ingredients (beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat or soya)

  • Prescription drugs

  • Fleas and products for flea control ( the bite of just one flea can trigger intense itching for 2 or 3 weeks)

  • Perfumes

  • Cleaning products

  • Fabric

  • Insect shampoo

  • Rubber and plastics

 

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You should keep in mind dogs can be allergic to certain foods as well, but sometimes a little detective work is needed to identify what substance is causing the reaction.

It is common for dogs with a food allergy to have itchy skin, diarrhoea and vomiting. If your dog is allergic to specifically chicken, for example, you have to avoid giving them any product which contains protein or chicken fat.

 

Category of allergies in dogs

Principally 2 types of allergy exist: Food allergy and environmental allergy.

If you notice your dog starting to itch during spring, the summer or the autumn, they are probably reacting to seasonal and environmental allergens. If their symptoms continue throughout the year, it’s likely their reaction is caused from something in their surroundings, or diet.

There are however a few exceptions to this rule. If you live in an area that does not have frost in the winter, the environmental allergens can accumulate and cause problems all year for your dog.  In addition, the seasonal allergies can progress to become a problem all year around.

 

How can dog allergies be treated?

The best way to treat allergies is to get rid of the offending allergens in their environment. The prevention is better than the treatment for allergies caused by fleas.

 

  • Start a control program for all your pets before the season starts. Ask your vet for some advice about the best flea control products for your dog.

 

  • If dust is a problem, you should clean your dog’s bed once a week, including rugs, curtains and whatever other material collecting dust.

 

  • A weekly bath can help alleviate itching, get rid of environmental allergens and clean pollen from your dog’s skin. It’s advisable to speak to your vet about the best medical shampoo, since frequent baths with the wrong products can dry out skin in no time.

 

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Products used for dog allergies

Due to the fact certain substances cannot be eliminated from the environment, your vet can recommend certain treatments to control the allergic reaction of your dog:

  • In the case of allergens carried through the air, your dog could benefit from anti-allergy injections. These help your dog to develop resistance to the irritating agents, in place of simply masking the itch.

 

  • Antihistamines like Benadryl can be used, but are only beneficial for a small percentage of dogs with allergies. Ask your vet first.

 

  • Fatty acids like supplements help alleviate itchy skin. As well as shampoos that help prevent skin infection, which commonly occurs for dogs with allergies. Aerosols can also be used containing oatmeal, aloe vera and other helpful natural products.

 

  • An immunomodulatory drug could be useful as well.

 

  • There are a various amount dust prevention products, applied monthly to the dog’s skin.

 

  • If the problem is serious, it’s possible you may have to resort to cortisone to control the allergy. However, these treatments are strong and should be used with precaution and only under the supervision of your vet.

 

 

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