Dog allergies occur when the immune system has become hypersensitive to any particular element. There are many different environmental factors that can cause dog allergies. Classified into five different types of allergies, environmental causes include food, contact, inhalants, bacteria, and fleas.
Among these types of dog allergies, food has most often be found to be the reason for symptoms. Some breeds are more susceptible than others in developing allergy symptoms. These breeds are:
Some symptoms for general dog allergies:
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Like peoples, animals can be sensitive to certain ingredients found in their food. The most common dog allergies are from dog food ingredients such as corn, wheat, dairy, soy, whey, specific types of protein (seafood is most common), and additives or preservatives. Symptoms for dog allergies from foods include:
In order to treat a food allergy, you must first determine what particular ingredient is causing these symptoms. You will need to eliminate one ingredient for 2 weeks at a time in order to notice any improvements with each item taken out of your dog’s diet. There are a variety of different hypoallergenic dog foods available at local pet stores and by prescription.
The next biggest cause for allergies is upon contact. This is most often in the form of plants. Your dog can be allergic to different grasses, weeds, and even trees. Some obvious symptoms for this type of dog allergy will include chewing on the paws, itching after being outside, and worsen symptoms during spring.
Regular bathing with hypoallergenic shampoo and limiting exposure to wooded areas will greatly reduce symptoms. There are also medications that your veterinary may recommend if symptoms are severe enough.
Inhalants are another common cause of dog allergies. These types of allergens include tree and flower pollens, mold and mildew, and dust. Just as some humans, exposure to these inhalants can cause coughing, sneezing, runny eyes, and itching.
This type of dog allergy can be improved by sweeping and vacuuming more often and decrease pollen exposure during spring. Using an air filter can also reduce dust and dander in the household.
Bacterial allergies in dogs can causes “hot spots”. These will occur when the skin has been broken by either self-inflicted sores from itching or from an injury. Once bacteria has set in, your dog will need prescription medication, and to keep your dog from any further itching will be necessary to prevent re-infecting the area.
The last type of dog allergy is caused by fleas. A flea will both live and lay eggs in your dog’s coat. They will also bite your dog’s skin, causing inflammation and excessive itching.
The best thing for this type of allergy is a preventative treatment because getting rid of fleas can be difficult. It is best to use monthly flea guards such as frontline or advantage.
If your dog is already infested, you will need a veterinarian to wash your dog with prescription shampoo to kill all fleas and their eggs. It is very important to remember that fleas will still remain in your house. You will need to clean and spray your entire house to kill any fleas or flea eggs left in carpets and other fabrics.
There are additional ways to treat dogallergies. You can try giving your dog Benadryl during spring or when you know their allergies are going to flare up. It is recommended to give 1mg per pound of your dog’s weight. You can give this dose 2 times daily.
Along with hypoallergenic shampoos, you can also use topical sprays. These can be prescription or over the counter.
Depending on how serious symptoms are, your veterinarian may suggest an allergy test or allergy shot. Finding the cause for dogallergies can take time but, once found will make a difference for a lifetime.