Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatments


It’s fairly easy to determine whether your dog is suffering from allergies. Dog allergies can affect any breed of dog, no matter where you live. The symptoms of dog allergies are the same for all breeds and the treatments for those allergies are usually the same.

Some of the symptoms of dog allergies are: excessive scratching, pawing at the face or eyes; excessive sneezing, continual runny nose, watery eyes, acute coughing, skin rashes or dry, crusty skin, continually rubbing its face on the floor or furniture , and chronic ear infections.

Seasonal allergies affect many dogs and are caused by spores or pollen grains in the air. These allergens are inhaled and sometimes are able to penetrate a dog’s skin.

Seasonal dog allergies usually occur when a dog is between the ages of 1 and 3. However, some dogs don’t develop seasonal allergies until they are 6 to 8 years old.

If you notice allergy symptoms in your dog you’ll need to schedule a vet visit to have blood tests performed. This is the only way to confirm if the dog really does have seasonal allergies or if the symptoms could be related to a disease that has infected the dog.

Two methods veterinarians use to determine if a dog is suffering from allergies are an ELISA test, the most commonly used test to diagnose allergies; and intradermal testing.

To effectively treat seasonal dog allergies, the vet first has to determine the cause of the allergy, and then you’ll need to limit or eliminate exposure to that allergen. Most dog owners whose pets suffer from seasonal allergies will keep the dog out of grassy or flowered fields during pollen seasons and will also keep the grass on their lawn cut short.

The vet may recommend topical ointments to relive the dog’s itchiness and the other symptoms of seasonal allergies. In addition, regular bathing of the dog’s skin will help reduce allergic reactions.

Some dog owners have reported that a change in their dog’s diet reduced the allergies by strengthening the dog’s immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to help in boosting a dog’s immune system.

The vet may also prescribe antihistamines and steroids if the dog’s allergies continue to worsen.

Some vets also use immunization therapy to reduce a dog’s allergic reactions. This is accomplished by injecting the allergen in small amounts in the dog’s system and after a few shots, the dog will begin to build an immunity to the allergens.

The symptoms of dog allergies should not be ignored and treatment should begin as soon as you know for sure that your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies.

Dog Vaccines

The list of vaccines to prevent common dog viruses contains only seven vaccines. Each of these vaccines can be used to protect against one or more viruses that can affect a dog.

Vaccines contain a viral or bacterial agent that is added to a liquid and then given to a dog through ingestion, inhalation or injection. This causes a dog’s immune system to create antibodies to a specific illness and will protect the dog from infection if exposed to that virus.

Each of the vaccines listed below refers to the level and type of the virus or bacteria in the vaccine, and the level and type of protection a dog will acquire after receiving the vaccine.

1. Monovalent Vaccines
Monovalent vaccines provide protection for one disease at a time. An example of this is the Rabies vaccine. This vaccine contains only the rabies viral agent added to the liquid.

2. Multivalent Vaccines
Multivalent vaccines contain several bacterial or viral agents that have been added to the liquid the dog will ingest. As many as 8 or 9 disease agents can be combined into one Multivalent vaccine. A common vaccine called Duramune is known as a “core vaccine” and protects against four of the most common dog viruses.

3. Recombinant Vaccines
Certain antigens on infectious organisms stimulate a greater antibody response in a dog. In a Recombinant vaccine the genes of the virus are fragmented into separate parts and the parts that will produce the best immune response are isolated and used in the vaccine.

4. Injectable Vaccines
Injectable vaccines are injected into a dog’s muscle or under the skin. When injected in the dog’s muscle it is referred to as an intramuscular vaccine and if injected under the skin it is called a subcutaneous vaccine. Some vaccines can be injected using either method but some such as the rabies vaccine must be injected intramuscularly.

5. Modified Live Vaccines (MLV)
In Modified Live Vaccines, live virus particles are altered in a laboratory to keep the virus alive but kill its ability to produce the disease. When introduced to the dog’s body, the viral agents reproduce and trigger an immune response without causing an outbreak of the infection. MLV vaccines stimulate a dog’s antibodies more quickly and in larger amounts.

6. Killed Vaccines
In a Killed vaccine, the actual viruses or bacteria are killed and then placed in a liquid solution. The viruses or bacteria are then not able to multiply within a dog’s body. More of the virus or bacteria particles are introduced in an attempt to trigger an immune response. There is one disadvantage to this type of vaccine and that is it can put a dog at an increased risk of developing an allergic response.

7. Intranasal Vaccines
Intranasal vaccines are designed to protect against diseases of a dog’s respiratory system. They are processed into a liquid to squirt or drop into a dog’s nose. The vaccine is transmitted directly into the dog’s bloodstream and provides protection more quickly than an injectable vaccine can.

It is important that you consult your veterinarian to determine which vaccines are appropriate for your pet and when they should be administered.