By Mary Beth Miller via FetchFind
Humans aren’t the only ones who suffer from itchy, scratchy allergies.
Just like us, our dogs develop allergy symptoms when their immune system begins red-flagging every particle of pollen, dust, or mold. The body’s immune response, their natural defense system, recognizes these substances as dangerous and develops an extreme reaction.
Although harmless in the environment, a small allergen can become a big problem if ingested, inhaled or comes in contact with the dog’s skin.
Unlike people, our dog can’t just reach for a bottle of Benadryl, he needs you to put an end to his allergy suffering.
If your dog is a seasonal or yearly allergy sufferer, it is of the utmost importance that you learn everything you can on how to help your dog’s allergies.
Keep an Eye Out for Allergy Symptoms
Dogs with allergies are pretty hard to ignore. The constant itching, scratching and chewing are enough to make a pet owner crazy. However, there are other allergy symptoms a dog can develop that an owner may not pick up on.
In an attempt to rid the body of these “dangerous” substances, a dog develops a variety of respiratory, digestive and skin related symptoms.
Common Canine Allergy Symptoms:
- Constant licking
- Swollen paws
- Hot Spots
- Snoring (the result of an swollen throat)
- Itchy ears
- Ear infections
- Itchy back
- Itchy tail
- Watery eyes
- Scabbed, moist, red and itchy skin
Identify Allergenic Substances
Canine allergies mirror that of human allergies, but you might not think of these common allergens:
- Food Substances (soy, wheat, corn, pork, chicken, beef)
- Plastic or rubber materials
- Flea and mite shampoos
- Cleaning products
- Topical flea/tick preventatives
- Prescription drugs
- Cigarette smoke
- Weed, grass or tree pollen
- Dust mites
Keep Allergens Out of Your Home & Off Your Dog
Running around in the yard, through the flowers and wherever else a dog will roam, environmental allergens are present.
The pollen from the grass and flowers are carried in on your pet’s fur and paws. And it's not just your dog — you could be carrying them inside, too.
And don’t forget about fleas! Adult fleas and their eggs can easily be carried in on the bottom of your shoes or hitch a ride with your dog, so what can you do?
Here is a list of easy and effective tips every dog owner can do to reduce environmental and pest allergies:
- To prevent tracking in allergens, wipe your pet’s paws with a damp washcloth before entering the house and remove your shoes.
- Give your dog a weekly bath and brush him daily to remove pollen from the fur.
- Vacuum, dust and sweep the home regularly to pick up any stragglers that you might of missed.
- Wash your dog’s bedding and plush toys with a gentle, hypoallergenic detergent.
Pinpoint Your Dog’s Allergies
If your dog is suffering from an allergy you just can’t put your finger on, you may want to consider an intradermal skin test.
Performed by a veterinary dermatologist, an intradermal skin test or allergy test, will aid your veterinarian to pinpoint the cause for all that itchiness.
The process of a skin test involves shaving a small patch of hair on the dog’s body to visibly see the skin’s reaction to various allergens after they are injected under the skin.
If your dog is indeed allergic to a substance, the injection site will swell, redden and become itchy. The test is highly effective and allows the vet to isolate an allergen, planning a course of action.
Although highly effective, allergy tests can be costly, as the test alone is about $200. If having a skin allergy test performed on your dog is a bit out of your price range, there are other at home tests you can do.
Monitoring your dog’s symptoms inside and outside the home is also an effective way to pinpoint an allergy, it will just take more time. If your dog tends to have more allergies inside the home than out, you may want to focus on dust mites, mold or fleas.
Don’t forget about food allergies! Food products such as; soy, wheat, corn, pork, chicken, or beef are all common ingredients in dog food and treats.
If you notice your dog has itchy skin combined with hair loss, vomiting and diarrhea, you may want to take a look at that bowl of kibble.
Talk to your veterinarian about a safe way to conduct a food allergy experiment with your dog.
And if you DO determine your pup has some food sensitivities, you're not alone! PupJoy was founded to help provide easy access to allergen-free treats for the sensitive types.
Maintain Flea Treatment
It only takes one flea to turn your dog into an itchy mess. Flea allergy dermatitis, an overreaction to flea saliva, is very common in dogs, especially sighthounds. Hair loss on the back and tail base are sure signs your dog is allergic to fleas.
The best way to prevent flea allergies is to keep the tiny pests off Fido. Talk with your veterinarian to select the best flea preventative that works for you and your dog.
Allergies are everywhere, and we aren’t the only ones who suffer from itchy, watery eyes, and dry, scratchy skin.
But again, unlike us, your dog needs your help in treating his seasonal sniffles.
As always, when in doubt, go to the vet!
Featured image credit: Vegard Haugland (FLICKR)