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 Food Allergies

Dog food allergies are common in dogs. These allergies are often due to a dog being allergic to certain ingredients in its food. If you can identify what ingredient in the dog’s food is causing the allergy, you can then remove that allergen from your dog’s diet. This should effectively reduce or eliminate any allergic reaction.

Dogs with allergies to their food may develop respiratory problems soon after eating. This often results in excessive coughing and sneezing. If the dog is having a hard time eating and swallowing food, or if it coughs the food up shortly after ingesting it, you’ll need to keep a close watch on your pet to see if this condition continues for any length of time or if it becomes worse.

You’ll need to see your veterinarian immediately if your dog can’t stop choking or is to unable to breathe as a result of an allergic reaction.

Another very common food allergy in dogs is itchiness of the skin. This can affect every part of its body, but is most common anywhere the allergic ingredient makes direct contact with the dog’s skin, including the face, nose, eyes and mouth, as well as the rectal area.

If your pet continually scratches its itchy skin, the skin will become inflamed and tender. In extreme cases, the dog’s constant scratching may cause open sores and lesions on its body.

Dog food allergies can also lead to serious problems because the dog’s body is not able to fight off any bacterial infections. These include ear infections and skin infections as well.

If you notice any symptoms of dog food allergies in your dog, you should consult with your vet who can help you determine exactly which ingredients in your dog’s food is causing the allergic reaction.

Peanut Allergies in Dogs

Peanut allergies in dogs? Who ever heard of such a thing? This is definitely something most pet owners would probably never think about, but if a dog is allergic to peanuts it can make an animal truly miserable when it contracts the allergy.

Like other canine food allergies, peanut allergy in a dog demonstrates itself by causing itching, redness and bald spots. Some dogs will also chew on their feet and legs attempting to stop the itching.

Food allergies may seem to develop without warning but actually take a long time to develop. A food that has caused no problems in the past for a pet, can suddenly cause an allergic reaction the next time it is consumed, and the dog’s body will create histamine to fight the offending allergen.

Histamine is the chemical that causes the physical signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction in dogs, and also in people.

Histamine reactions when left untreated can cause anaphylactic shock, which can affect an animal’s breathing, heart rate or ability to maintain consciousness. In extreme cases, an animal or person in anaphylactic shock can die.

All food products consumed by humans must be labeled with a warning if the food contains peanuts or has been processed in a facility where peanuts or other nuts are also processed. Unfortunately, this warning requirement does not apply to manufactured dog food.

If you suspect your dog may have a peanut allergy, first try to eliminate any other possible substance that could cause the same reactions as peanut allergies, including environmental causes like mold and dust. Also check the labels of your dog’s food for any ingredients that don’t sound familiar, especially if you’ve started feeding your pet a new brand or type of dog food.

To help determine whether a diagnosis of peanut allergies in a dog is a viable one, a vet will do skin tests on a dog to rule out any environmental causes. In these tests, small amounts of an allergen are injected under a dog’s skin to see if it produces an allergic response from its body. If there are any positive results to the skin test, the dog may be allergic to something else in addition to peanuts.

Blood tests can also help eliminate environmental causes by combining small amounts of different allergens with samples of a dog’s blood. If an allergic reaction occurs during the test, an environmental allergy is probably the cause.

Once a veterinarian has examined and rejected any environmental probabilities, food allergies are the next tests to be conducted. To diagnose a food allergy, a veterinarian usually recommends a diet that contains only protein and carbohydrates for your dog, minus the numerous (and sometimes unhealthy) added ingredients found in manufactured dog foods. Both the protein and the carbohydrate will be derived from foods the dog has never eaten before to help determine what the dog may be allergic to. This diet will probably need to be fed to a dog for about 12 weeks.

During the special diet trial period, the veterinarian will evaluate the dog’s clinical signs. If they improve, a food allergy is likely the cause. The veterinarian will then begin to re-introduce certain ingredients of the dog’s former diet in an effort to recreate the allergic response. When an allergic response is produced, the natural assumption is that the last ingredient re-introduced to the diet is the cause of the allergic response.

Peanut allergy in dogs is not a trivial matter to a dog who develops allergic reactions that include itching, redness and bald spots on its skin. Avoiding peanuts is the best way to prevent reocurrences of this allergy which means you’ll need to read all the ingredient labels on manufactured dog foods you buy, including treats and medications, to prevent accidental consumption of peanuts.

 

Do Dogs Have Allergies?

Dogs have allergies just like humans; allergies are, in fact, quite common among dogs. And, as in humans, an allergy can’t be cured in a dog but it can be treated, both with medication and also by protecting your dog from whatever is making him sick.

As in humans, allergies are caused by an immune system that overreacts to an innocuous substance, such as pollen, certain foods, or even fleas. The three most common allergies in dogs are:

  • Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is genetic. It affects dogs who have inherited a tendency to develop skin problems caused by pollens, grasses, trees, and dust mites.

This allergy is seasonal and is most often a reaction to pollen. It causes skin irritation and shows up around the top of a dog’s stomach and anal area. Your vet may give your dog steroids for short-term relief from the itching. A regimen of therapy allergy shots can lessen your dog’s sensitivity to allergens on a longer-term basis.

  • Flea Allergies

This is an allergy to the saliva of bloodsucking fleas and is the most common skin disease in dogs. In allergic dogs, a flea bite can cause extreme itching, reddish bumps, and can inflame a dog’s skin for days. Steroids and antihistamines can help a dog with flea allergies, but the only real treatment is to rid your house, yard, and dog of the fleas. Pet Bath Ultra uses Flea Blast Technology to generate super-oxygenated molecules to bathe your pet without water. This amazing brush will leave your dog with a lush coat that smells fresh and clean without all the fuss.

  • Food Allergies

Dogs can also be allergic to several different types of food. They may experience allergic reactions to dog food contents such as chicken, beef, or corn which are typical ingredients in commercial dog food. This allergy usually shows up as skin problems such as rashes, itching, and areas of infected skin. Some dogs may also suffer from an upset stomach accompanied by chronic diarrhea or vomiting.

If your dog is suffering from an food allergy, you should try eliminating certain foods from his diet. Contact your vet and ask if there is a special food they would recommend for your dog to aid in overcoming his allergy. A visit to your vet is necessary if your dog demonstrates these allergy symptoms: frequent scratching, licking and chewing; recurring skin or ear infections; flaky skin; hair loss; or chronic stomach upset.

Antihistamines, steroids, and other medications can relieve your dog’s discomfort from itching, but steroids should not be considered a long-term solution since they can cause serious health problems in your pet. Antihistamines are safer, but they can make your dog drowsy. Air filters and air-conditioning will cut airborne allergens. For dust mite allergies, wash your dog in hot water every week. Avoid letting your dog go outside in the early morning and late afternoon hours when pollen levels are at their peak.

After taking your dog on a walk, wipe it down with a moist towel to remove any pollen that might have accumulated during your outing. A good product to use after every walk or outdoor play session is Paw Clean. Just spray it on your dog’s paw pads and between the “toes” to eliminate harmful germ spreading substances. To keep an allergic dog’s sensitive skin from drying out after a bath, use a hypoallergenic dog shampoo. For flea allergies, you can fill your dog’s bed with cedar chips to keep fleas from taking up residence.

Does your dog have allergies? If so, what is he or she allergic to? Are you able to control your pet’s allergy? How? Please share your success story with our readers who may need your help.