The Complete Guide to Dog Allergies

The Complete Guide to Dog Allergies

Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from allergies. If you see your dog sniffing, sneezing, coughing, or suffering from watering eyes, then you know what that means. A lot of times, allergy symptoms will go away on their own. However, if you notice that Fido has been suffering from those symptoms for quite a while, and it’s getting worse, then it’s time to bring him to the vet for the proper medication. Keep in mind that chronic allergies can be fatal; constant scratching can lead to an infection, and allergies can result in swelling which can compromise the airway. It’s best to get rid of these symptoms before they escalate any further.

Fortunately for you, we have a comprehensive informational guide to show you everything that you would need to know about allergies in the canine species. Look for the following symptoms of allergies in dogs and figure out how to treat them.

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Allergy Symptoms in Dogs

Dog owners need to be able to differentiate between allergies and other symptoms like a cold or influenza. The significant factor that occurs only with allergies is the severe itching. If your dog is continuously scratching to the point of irritated, inflamed, and sensitive skin, then that might indicate that he has an allergy symptom. Dogs will do whatever they can to alleviate the itching by licking, scratching, and chewing on the inflamed area.

If you notice that your dog is itching his back, then it’s most likely a flea attack. If your canine companion continues to have these issues without the proper medication, they can develop atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis can lead to secondary bacterial infection if it’s left untreated. This can result in skin scabbing over, loss of hair, and severe discomfort.

Primary allergy symptoms that dog owner should look for is a runny nose, congestion, and poor coat condition. If it’s food allergies, the signs are diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. If you witness any of these signs of allergies on your dog, it’s best to see a veterinarian right away.

Other Possible Underlying Conditions

There are other possible underlying conditions that are very similar to allergy symptoms, but it’s actually a different diagnosis. For example, sarcoptic mange is a condition that is caused by mite infestation. The main difference between mites and an allergic reaction is that the sarcoptic mange is extremely contagious. The mite can travel from one dog to another and can cause a great deal of itching, pain, and discomfort. If you see that more than one dog in your house or neighborhood suffers from the same symptom, there might be a local infestation.

Causes of the Allergic Reactions

There are different causes of allergic reactions depending on what your dog is allergic to. This includes food, substance, pollen, dander, and much more. If you notice your dog sneezing, irritated, itching, and congested, your dog’s body is doing whatever it can to expel the invader.

Common Dog Allergies

There are different types of canine allergies of which dog owners should be aware. When you know what is causing your dog to suffer these uncomfortable symptoms, it’s best to keep these factors away from them or figure out how to minimize their negative effects. Below are some of the most common dog allergies.

Environmental allergies

Since your dog is constantly running and playing outdoors, he is most commonly in contact with allergens like pollen, weeds, trees, flowers, mold, and dust. Grass allergies are also common. These environmental allergens are common factors that can cause your dogs to sneeze, have a runny nose, and feel congested.

Keep in mind that there are other factors that can cause severe allergic symptoms to your dogs such as perfumes, cigarettes, cleaning products, plastic or rubber materials, fabrics, and insecticide or shampoo.

Seasonal allergy symptoms

If it's springtime, and you see your dog having runny eyes, itchy skin, scab skin, constant scratching, and irritation, then it looks like he is suffering from seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies occur because pollen is more common in the spring and summer seasons.

Food Allergies

Just like their human companions, dogs can be allergic to certain types of food. If your dog has an upset stomach after eating a specific kind of food, then this might be a sign of a dog food allergy. The most common culprits to food allergies are corn, rice, wheat, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, lamb, fish, rabbit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, yams, peanuts, beans, lentils, soy, yogurt, cheese, and milk.

Check to see if the dog food contains any of these ingredients, and consider taking your dog in to the vet for allergy testing. If your dog consumes a particular type of gradient that causes him allergies, they can develop symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and itchy skin.

Flea allergies

Flea allergies are extremely annoying. A few bites here and there can leave your dog scratching for weeks. If your dog is suffering from flea bites, you can use coconut oil to alleviate the itching. There are also other natural remedies to prevent flea bites, therefore reduce the chance of getting an allergic reaction. Another great remedy for itching and inflammation is CBD, which can help reduce inflammation. Check out Dope Dog’s CBD oil for allergy relief and Oatmeal Lavender CBD Dog Shampoo for improved coat condition.

Skin allergies

This might seem strange, but dogs can have an allergic reaction towards a particular fabric or texture. If you notice that your four-legged friend has an allergic reaction after sleeping on top of the pillow or a blanket, then it's time to change the sheets. Skin allergies can make dogs feel itchy and uncomfortable.

Related: Dog Diarrhea: Causes and Treatments

How to Figure Out What Your Dog Is Allergic To

If you see your dog suffering from various allergy symptoms, it’s best to bring them to a vet for a skin test, blood test, and saliva test to find the source of the problem.

Skin test

The intradermal skin test is not only used on humans but also dogs as well. It entails using a small injection by inserting various allergens into your dog's system. Then after 15 minutes, a veterinarian dermatologist will observe how the skin reacts towards these allergens. This will allow them to pinpoint the culprit to the skin allergy.

Blood test

The blood test emphasizes on checking for antibodies in the dog's blood that is triggered by the allergen. The first thing that the vet would do is to draw some blood from your dog and send it off to the lab to check for the results. The lab will combine the antigens from pollen, dust, and other allergens to see what kind of antibodies the blood will create.

Saliva test

The saliva test is used to determine food allergies in dogs. Your veterinarian can swap the dog's cheek to obtain a sample of saliva, and send it off to the lab to check for the type of food that he is allergic to.

Hypoallergenic dog food

The best way to find the culprit of food allergy is through the process of elimination. This can be very expensive and time-consuming, so a lot of owners would just settle for hypoallergenic dog food. Keep in mind that a mild upset stomach can become life-threatening, so it may not be a good idea to use the process of elimination. Luckily, with hypoallergenic dog food, your dog may not have to suffer from eating the wrong type of food. These types of dog foods are often grain-free and are substituted with ingredients that will not upset your dog's stomach.

Food elimination diet

The food elimination diet involves cutting down the dog's diet into the bare minimum. Then you will slowly add in ingredients to see how your dog reacts to them. This process can take up to six months and can be an annoying and tedious process. Once you determine the food allergy, then the best thing to do is to keep your dog away from that type of food or ingredient.

Look for dog foods with all-natural ingredients and few additives, like Asian Carp Calming Dog Treats. These contain only human-grade ingredients. It’s a short list with just CBD, high protein Asian Carp, rolled oats, coconut oil, rye flour, and rosemary extract.

Breeds at Higher Risk for Allergies

According to veterinarians, it is estimated that 10% of all dogs suffer from some form of allergy. However, certain dog breeds are more susceptible to allergies than others. If you own a Golden Retriever, Terrier, bulldog, pug, Dalmatian, Boxer, Boston terrier, beagle, German Shepherd, or Irish setter, then it’s best to keep your eyes out for potential canine allergy symptoms.

Related: 10 High Fiber Foods For Your Dog

Allergy Prevention

The best way to treat allergies is to prevent them. That means that they should stay away from anything that can cause a reaction. Pet owners should keep an eye on their dog and protect him from common factors that cause allergies such as fleas, environment issues, pollen and dander, dust, or any other components that might stimulate an allergic reaction.

For more common dog allergy causes, pet owners should consider providing their dogs with omega-3 fatty acid supplements to their diet on a daily basis. Omega-3 fatty acid helps soothe irritated and moisturize irritated skin and reduce inflammation. If you see any signs of irritated skin, you can add aloe vera for instant relief. Keep in mind that flea bites can lead to itching and scratching for weeks.

For flea prevention, you can give them Frontline or use coconut oil. There is a variety of flea prevention that you can talk to your veterinarian to see what is best for your dog. It's also important to keep your house clean to reduce those nasty allergy symptoms. The allergy season in the spring is filled with pollen and dander.

If it gets really severe, then you might want to consider keeping Fido indoors. You can wipe your dog down with a damp towel to reduce the pollen and dander in their skin. If you are unsure about what is causing all this chaos, you can get dog shampoo that is designed to treat allergic reaction. For sensitive skin, you can switch to a hypoallergenic shampoo or any shampoo with gentler ingredients and formula.

Allergy Medication

Many veterinarians recommend Zyrtec or Benadryl for dogs. When it comes to allergies, histamine is responsible for stimulating the dilation of blood vessels that result in allergy symptoms of irritation, swelling, watery eyes, and sneezing. They can also get into the lungs to cause wheezing, sneezing, and congestion.

Medications like Benadryl and Zyrtec are designed to reduce the release of histamine, therefore helping to reduce the allergy symptoms. Keep in mind that Benadryl can cause side effects of drowsiness, so your dog may feel sleepy and tired the whole day. For a more natural relaxant, dogs can also be treated with a dose of CBD.

One of the most common mistakes that owners make is purchasing allergy medication from their local drug stores and giving it to their dog. This is not a good idea because your dog weighs less than you and requires a different dose than a human. Allergy medication for humans tend to have a higher dosage and can result in an unfavorable side effect. This is why it’s essential to consult a veterinarian so they can provide your dog with the proper dosage according to their weight.

Allergy Shot

Allergy shots are also called immunotherapy and are an excellent option for both dogs and humans for allergy relief. The shot works by injecting a small number of allergens so the body can build up a tolerance over time. Eventually, your dog will not be allergic to that particular allergen anymore. This process may take some time but does produce positive results.

Apoquel

Apoquel is a medication designed to relieve allergy symptoms. It works very quickly and can leave Fido symptom-free throughout the day. Its mechanism of action involves suppressing the immune system to reduce its sensitivity towards the allergen. However, it can weaken your dog's immune system, leading to infection or other life-threatening issues. Even though it’s very effective, it produces irreversible and dangerous side effects.

Natural allergy medication

Oatmeal and coconut oil are the best natural remedy for allergy relief. If you see your dog scratching like crazy, you can give him an oatmeal bath to reduce the inflammation or apply natural oils to irritated spots. However, a lot of people are experiencing major benefits with aloe vera ointment as well.

You can purchase an aloe vera plant and slice open the leaf to obtain the gel substance and save the rest for later use. When your dog experience any skin irritation, just apply the gel substance to soothe the inflamed area. The primary function of the Aloe vera is to trap moisture and provided it to the irritated skin as well as stimulating the anti-inflammatory process to reduce the allergy symptoms.

Take Home Message

When you see other people suffering from allergies, it feels like a normal process for everyone. However, when your four-legged friend is suffering from that same type of symptom, it makes you want to do something fast to mitigate it. Luckily, with the proper preventative strategies, medication, and natural remedies, you can help save your dog from these nasty symptoms. If the allergy symptom keeps coming back despite trying everything on the market, then it’s time to bring him to the vet to find the underlying cause.

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