Can Your Dog Get Allergies?
Just like us humans, our beloved canines aren’t immune to allergies.
Our Fluffy Friends can experience symptoms that may leave them scratching due to pollen and certain foods.
In this blog post, we'll dive into the fascinating world of dog allergies.
We’ll explore their causes, symptoms and how to help your pup find relief.
Causes and Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs
What’s an Allergy?
An allergy is when a normal immune system reacts too strongly to an allergen.
Proteins from insects, plants, foods, chemicals, or animals make up most allergies.
When exposed to allergens several times for months or years, a dog’s immune system becomes more sensitive.
Thus, when your pup is exposed to the same allergen again, it causes an overreaction.
What are the Causes of Dog Allergies?
A lot of factors can cause dog allergies.
Here are some common causes of dog allergies:
- Environmental Allergens:
- Pollen: Like people, dogs can be allergic to pollen from grasses, trees, and weeds.
- Dust Mites: These mites can be found in carpets, upholstery, or bedding.
- Mould: Mould spores can trigger allergies in dogs and humans, especially in damp or humid environments.
- Food Allergies:
Some ingredients in dog food, such as beef, chicken, dairy, and grains, can cause allergic reactions in some dogs.
However, food allergies aren’t common, like environmental allergies.
- Flea Allergies:
Dogs are susceptible to flea bites.
These bites can lead to severe itching and discomfort.
This is known as flea allergy dermatitis.
- Contact Allergies:
Dogs can develop allergies to substances they come into contact with.
These can be certain cleaning products, shampoos, or materials like wool.
- Inhalant Allergies:
Inhaling irritants like cigarette smoke or perfumes can trigger allergies in dogs.
Some dog breeds are more prone to allergic reactions than others.
Breeds like Bulldogs, Boxers, and Retrievers are known to be more allergy-prone.
- Age and Environment:
Allergies can develop at any age but are more noticeable in older dogs.
Environmental changes or moving to a different location can also trigger allergies.
- Vaccinations and Medications:
In rare cases, dogs may develop allergies to certain vaccines or medications.
Related: How To Deal With Jealous Dog Breeds
What Are the Symptoms of Dog Allergies?
Dog allergies can manifest in various ways.
Also, the symptoms may vary from one dog to another.
Some common symptoms of dog allergies include:
- Skin Health Issues:
- Itching: One of the most common signs of allergies is when a dog has itchy skin. They often scratch, bite, or chew on their skin or paws.
- Redness and Inflammation: Allergic reactions can lead to red, inflamed, or irritated skin. You can see this on the paws, ears, face, and belly.
- Hives: Raised, red welts or hives may appear on the skin.
- Ear Problems: Allergies can lead to ear inflammation. Ear infections can result in itching, discharge, and discomfort.
- Respiratory Symptoms:
- Sneezing: Dogs with allergies may sneeze or have a runny nose.
- Coughing: Allergies may lead to coughing.
- Wheezing or Laboured Breathing: In severe cases, allergies can affect a dog's respiratory health. They would wheeze or have difficulty breathing.
- Gastrointestinal Issues: Some dogs may experience digestive upset, like vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Eye Symptoms: Allergies can cause watery eyes or redness.
- Hair Loss and Sores: Dogs may scratch or bite their skin so hard that it leads to hair loss and sores.
- Licking and Chewing Paws: Dogs may lick or chew their paws when itchy or irritated.
- Behavioural Changes: Discomfort and itchiness can cause restlessness, stress, or agitation.
Allergy Types, Dog Allergy Aid and Treatment
Insect Bite Allergies
Bug bite allergy is an excessive inflammatory response to insect bites or stings.
Several bites from the following can trigger an allergic reaction in dogs:
Dog flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is caused by flea saliva, the most frequent bug allergen.
While most dogs have minor flea bite irritation, others may experience acute skin allergies.
Your pet may gnaw and scratch themselves and remove a lot of fur, particularly in the tail area.
Your pooch may develop a secondary bacterial infection if the skin is broken.
A dog with FAD needs strict flea management.
Flea prevention for dogs, like collars and sprays, can be a helpful allergy ally.
When itching is severe, your vet may prescribe corticosteroids or antihistamines.
Additionally, an antibiotic will be provided for bacterial infections.
Cedar, ash, oak, grass, ragweed, moulds, mildew, and home dust mites are the primary allergens of atopic dermatitis.
You might also notice that your pup has seasonal allergies to grass pollens or cedar.
Then again, allergens like house dust mites, moulds, and mildew are always present year-round.
Atopic dermatitis causes itchy skin in dogs.
They might lick their feet or massage their faces to feel relief.
Atopic dermatitis usually appears in pups between one and three years old.
Affected dogs often have many sensitivities, including flea or food allergies.
Most allergens are environmental, so a cure is unlikely.
- Anti-inflammatory Treatment:
Most allergic reactions can be stopped immediately with corticosteroids or antihistamines.
Dietary supplements like omega-3 fatty acids may boost antihistamine response.
Some products in soft chews form also offer relief.
Oral treatments like oclacitinib and long-acting injections may also help.
Still, we need to stress that your vet should always recommend medications.
Never give meds to your dog without consultation.
- Shampoo treatment:
Bathing your Fluffy Friend with hypoallergenic shampoo can soothe itchy, irritated skin. Bathing maintains coat health and removes allergens that can penetrate the skin.
Then again, frequent bathing deters proper skin moisture and may dry out your dog’s skin.
Using therapeutic shampoos may also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the coat.
Your vet might recommend a weekly allergy injection if your pup undergoes allergy testing.
This repeated dosage can lead to immune system reprogramming or desensitisation.
Success rates vary for this procedure, so speak to your vet about it.
- Nutritional therapy:
Some diets minimise atopic dermatitis itching.
Consult with your vet for the best diets for your pooch.
Most dog food allergies are caused by protein like chicken, beef, lamb, dairy, and soy.
Symptoms include itching, stomach issues, and respiratory difficulties.
Corticosteroids and other medications rarely help food allergies.
It’s best to identify and eliminate the food allergens.
An elimination trial with a hypoallergenic diet is the most accurate food allergy test.
Because it takes 8 - 12 weeks for all other foods to be eliminated, your dog will be on a special diet.
You might need to remove all table food, snacks, and flavoured vitamins during testing.
During the trial diet, your vet might not recommend chewable tablets or other medication.
The least common dog allergy is contact allergies.
It’s caused by direct contact with allergens such as pyrethrins in insecticides, grasses, or carpets made of wool.
These allergens cause skin irritation and itching on your dog's feet and tummy.
Simply remove the allergen source.
Of course, topical or systemic therapies may be needed.
Allergies can mimic other conditions.
Therefore, seek veterinarian help before diagnosing your dog.
Products with herbal ingredients and those that are a source of natural antioxidants might not help without proper diagnosis.
Related: Caring for Disabled Pets
Like us, our beloved canine companions can experience allergic reactions to various environmental factors, foods, and more.
Recognising the signs and symptoms of dog allergies is crucial for providing them with the care and relief they need.
If you suspect your dog has allergies, don't hesitate to consult a veterinarian.
With the right approach, you can help your dog lead a happier, healthier, and itch-free life.
Also, check out our product page for all your pet needs!
Looking for some products that could help you out?
Check out our Online Shop!
Here are some useful products in relation to this blog post: