Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention
“Allergies usually manifest themselves as skin problems and can also lead to
canine ear infections. Watch for symptoms and try to eliminate the causes whenever possible.”
Dog allergies are a very common problem. Did you know your dog could be allergic to things like food, pollen, mites, etc? Understanding what causes these allergies and the symptoms associated with them can help you get the right treatment for your furry friend.
Overview/Snapshot of Disease or Condition
Dog allergies can be categorized into flea allergies, food allergies, and inhalant allergies. An allergic reaction is basically how your dog’s body reacts to an allergen.
When your dog inhales, ingests or comes in contact with an allergen, your dog’s immune system produces a protein called IgE.
This protein then attaches itself to tissue mast cells, which are located in the skin. This in turn causes the release of chemicals like histamine, which is very irritating to the skin.
Allergies usually manifest themselves as skin problems and can also lead to canine ear infections. Watch for symptoms and try to eliminate the causes whenever possible.
There are certain symptoms associated with dog allergies. Watch for them so you can treat your dog as early as possible.
- Hair loss
- Constantly scratching the body
- Rubbing the face on the carpet or furniture
- Recurrent ear infections
- Chewing or licking of paw
- Frequent gastrointestinal disturbances
- Watery eyes
An allergy is a reaction to an allergen and is one of the most common dog health problems. Allergens can be food, pollen, dust, flea bites, fabrics, grass, milk products or basically anything. Canine allergies caused by fleas are quite common. In fact, it is not the bite that causes the allergic reaction but the saliva, which irritates the dog’s skin.
Inhalant allergies are generally caused by pollen. Dogs that are allergic to certain types of pollen will manifest their allergic reaction only when pollen is in the air. Fortunately, this condition usually only last for a few days or weeks. For the rest of the year they are generally fine.
Staphylococcus bacteria may also cause an allergic reaction in dogs. The dog’s skin will often show a ringworm-type of infection in this case.
Your dog could also have an allergic reaction due to emotional stress. It is not uncommon for a dog with a stressful life to suffer from various skin problems. Sometimes, when the owner is going through a crisis, the dog will suffer emotional stress at the same time, and this may result in an allergic reaction.
Treatment for dog allergies includes antibiotics, steroids and immunotherapy. For instance, if the allergen is bacteria, the veterinarian would generally prescribe an antibiotic.
Immunotherapy is one the best treatments for inhalant allergies. This form of treatment involves de-sensitizing your dog to a particular allergen and this method is generally prescribed when your dog is unable to avoid a particular allergen.
For canine allergies to food, there is no medical treatment. Once you identify the cause of the allergy, you must simply avoid giving your dog that kind of food.
In order to determine which food is causing the allergic reaction, a good starting point is to eliminate beef, wheat, milk, eggs, nuts, fruits, carrots, yeast and certain spices and additives from your dog’s diet. After about two months, reintroduce each potential allergen to your dog’s diet to see which one is the culprit.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent dog allergies, including:
- Keep your house dust free
- Keep the grass cut short
- Do not let your dog stay in the basement
- Use dehumidifiers if there is a lot of humidity in the air
- Keep your dog indoors during high pollen season
- During hot weather keep your dog in an air conditioned room
For this or any other dog health problems you may encounter, talk to your veterinarian. Finding a good vet is a great step toward learning to keep your dog healthy and happy.
Return to Dog Diseases and Symptoms
Return from Dog Allergies to Dog Health Problems
Return to Dogs and Dog Advice home page