When most people think about allergies and dogs, they think about humans having an allergic reaction to dog dander. What they may not think about, however, is the fact that dogs may also suffer from allergies as well. Just like humans, dogs can have allergies to many different parts of their environment, including food, pollen and chemicals. Identifying a problem with allergies in your dog can go a long way in helping them to live with the problem successfully.
One of the most common symptoms of dog allergies involves the skin of the dog. You will often find that they are scratching themselves excessively after they have come in contact with the allergen. It could be a matter of contact dermatitis or perhaps exposure to pollen when they are outside. They may also have a problem with rashes or hives when they are exposed to the allergen as well. Their ears are also typically a telltale sign and could either become red and inflamed or they may shake their head constantly.
Any type of dog can experience a problem with allergies, but there are certain breeds that are more likely to experience such a problem. Those breeds include retrievers, setters, terriers and any breed that has a flat face and short nose. Some of the common allergens that may be a problem for them include food, prescription drugs, dander, feathers, mold, pollen, dust mites, cigarette smoke, cleaning products and perfumes. Interestingly, that list looks very similar to what many humans are allergic to as well.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from allergies, a visit to the veterinarian is in order. They will examine the dog and may run some tests to see if they can invoke an allergic reaction. It may be necessary for the dog to have a skin or blood test to determine if they are experiencing allergies to specific allergens. At times, your dog may also need to go on a specialized diet, known as an elimination diet, to rule out any food allergies they may be experiencing.
The treatment for dog allergies is dependent upon the type of allergy they are experiencing. For example, if they are having an allergic reaction to fleas, proper flea control is going to be necessary. If they are having an allergic reaction to the shampoo they are using, switching to a different shampoo may help. In most cases, the solution is going to be obvious, once you know why they are experiencing the allergy.
One other option that may be considered is giving the dog medication to help control the allergic reaction. As is the case with allergy medication for humans, it doesn’t stop the allergy but it does keep the symptoms from occurring. Those solutions may include antihistamines, allergy injections or perhaps an immune modulating drug. When the situation is cared for properly, it can go a long way in helping the dog to be happy and comfortable.