Like people, dogs struggle with allergies. Although allergies do not bother all dogs, they bother many. From the foods they eat to environmental triggers, there are many allergy triggers. Today we’ll discuss common dog allergies and how to avoid them.
What are Common Dog Allergies?
Allergies are when your dog’s immune system overreacts to a trigger that it otherwise would not. This triggers the release of histamines which cause an allergic reaction or allergy symptoms in your pet. Common allergens for dogs include food, pollen, dust mites, and flea bites.
Food is a common dog allergen. Why? Some of the ingredients in dog food can be the source of allergies. These are typically grains, fish, and meat by-products that contain gluten or other allergens that your dog might not tolerate well.
Pollen can cause an allergic reaction when your dog is outdoors. While dust mites and flea bites live in the environment, such as carpets and upholstery that suck allergens from the air.
With time, dogs may develop a tolerance to their allergy triggers, especially if they are not exposed regularly or severely enough. However, some dogs will need the help of a vet to develop a plan to avoid the triggers and lessen symptoms.
Symptoms of Dog Allergies
Dog allergies can look different to each dog, but here are common dog allergy symptoms:
- Skin infections
- Constantly licking paw and belly
- Eczema or hives on the paws, neck, face, ears, stomach, groin, or armpits. Redness is often present in these areas as well.
- Red eyes with discharge
So, what do you do if your dog is exhibiting these symptoms? The first thing you should do is talk to your vet about the possibility of allergies. Your vet will likely do a physical examination and blood work, so be prepared for additional costs at this point in time if those are necessary.
The environment has been shown to play an important role in worsening dog allergies, such as carpets and upholstery that trap all these particles. So, be sure to give your home a good cleaning.
Also, if your dog has started a new food, be sure to note that as well.
How to Manage Your Dog’s Allergy Symptoms
If your dog has allergies or you believe they might have allergies, there are a few things you can do to manage them:
- Find out the cause of your dog’s allergies and work to avoid it. If you suspect your pet has food allergies, switch them to hypoallergenic formulas or feed them fresh meat instead of dry kibble.
- Be sure that anyone who comes in contact with your animal is aware of their allergy symptoms.
- Remove the triggering thing from your dog’s environment. This can include vacuuming, washing bedding and removing carpeting or upholstery that may have accumulated allergens over time
- Take your animal to the vet for a proper diagnosis.
- Speak with an allergy specialist about appropriate treatment.
When to See a Vet for Dog Allergies
If you believe your dog has allergies, it is important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. A veterinarian can diagnose your dog’s allergies by performing skin or blood tests.
The vet will also be able to tell you the type of allergens your dog is allergic to and advise on a treatment plan.
Medical Treatment for Dog Allergies
Common medical treatments for dog allergies include antihistamines and immunotherapy.
If your vet prescribes antihistamines, there may be a pill that you give to your dog twice per day or as needed for the symptoms. You can also purchase topical forms of medication from pet stores if it is approved by your veterinarian first.
Immunotherapy for dogs consists of giving your dog a small dose of an allergen extract. The goal is to desensitize your dog and help them build up a tolerance for the allergy trigger.
Some owners may also choose to prevent their pet from coming into contact with allergens by using air filters, other types of filters like those used in water or food systems. Avoidance is one way to keep allergies at bay, but not all dog owners find this to be the most feasible option.
Many Dogs Have Allergies
Believe it or not, dog allergies are more common than ever before. But don’t overthink it. There are many easy and inexpensive ways to treat your dog’s allergy symptoms to ensure they lead a healthy and happy life.