Allergy Symptoms in Dogs: How to Help
by Dennis Hamming
Allergy symptoms you see in your dog… For someone who has become a first time dog owner, it might be a surprise to discover that they can suffer from allergies just as we can.
There is a whole gamut of allergies that puppies and dogs can get, and the causes are varied. Fortunately, there are ways to recognize allergy symptoms and diagnose the cause to treat.
For someone living with a dog who suffers from one or more of the common allergies, you may be wondering what to do. Any dog lover would find it disconcerting to see their pet suffer, and it can be heartbreaking to feel helpless as they live in discomfort.
Here is a brief article on the types of allergies and allergy symptoms that dogs can experience, and ways you or your vet can help.
Allergy symptoms and types dogs suffer from
Every dog owner will have witnessed their pet scratching themselves. most likely on a daily basis. However, some poor dogs end up with conditions that leave them scratching excessively and this can lead to hair loss, red skin, and terrible discomfort for the animal.
There are quite a few allergies symptoms that dogs can exhibit and here are some of the more common causes:
- Flea and tick bites
- Food allergies
- Dust mites
- Mold and mildew
- Seasonal allergies
- Bee stings
All of these things can cause reactions in a dog that has an allergy to them. Dust mites can affect the skin as can food allergies. Seasonal allergies and pollen can also affect dogs.
According to VetDerm Clinic, symptoms of pollen allergies can include hives, itching, and puffy eyes, just like they appear in humans. Unlike humans though, a dog is unable to visit a doctor for a prescription and they rely on their owners for help.
What are the dangers of leaving these allergies untreated?
If a dog is displaying allergy symptoms it will likely be in some degree of discomfort. If you have an allergy of any form or an intolerance, then you will understand how it feels when the symptoms come out.
A dog with some form of an allergic reaction will likely display symptoms involving excessive licking, scratching, inflamed skin, swelling in the facial area, itchy eyes and ears, vomiting, and diarrhea.
They may also have hives, and sneeze constantly, depending on the cause of the reaction. Unfortunately, not all symptoms of allergies are minor irritations.
If allergy symptoms are left untreated then your dog could be in great distress. They may pull out hair with their teeth, bleed from scratching, or suffer from dehydration due to diarrhea. Serious reactions though can be deadly.
Bee stings and severe reactions to vaccine shots could lead to anaphylaxis in dogs which can be fatal if not treated extremely swiftly.
The dog breeds that are most sensitive to food allergies
Food allergies are perhaps the most talked-about recently when it comes to dogs. Some dog manufacturers are finally waking up to the fact that their products contain ingredients that are harmful to animals, or at least not to their benefit.
Many dogs will happily eat food advertised for them without any issues. Many others however will display similar symptoms to those above along with hair loss, itchy paws, skin infections, and rashes.
German Shepherds make great pets, and earlier this year there was the heartwarming story of one being adopted. A 13-year old German shepherd was due to be euthanized until he was rescued by a 93-year ex-serviceman. Unfortunately, they are also one of the breeds most susceptible to food allergies.
Dachshunds, pugs, bulldogs, pit bulls, golden retrievers, and some terriers, are also sadly very prone to food allergies and their symptoms.
What foods cause allergy symptoms?
You may have at times given your dog a little bit of your own food as a treat. While dogs shouldn’t have the same diet as humans, some people food is actually quite good for them.
Most dog owners will be aware of the dangers of giving their pet chocolate, or almonds, but they may not be aware of the benefits of some other people food.
Coconut for instance not only helps a dog’s breath improve but can clear up some symptoms of allergies. Coconut can help alleviate itchiness, hot spots, and reduce symptoms of flea allergies.
Honey can also help. Honey is packed with nutrients and vitamins, and it can help with a pollen allergy in a dog.
However, when it comes to dog food, there can be several ingredients that cause problems. Protein, wheat, soy, lactose, and egg, can all cause allergic reactions in dogs.
How can you help dogs with food allergy symptoms?
Some people like to keep their dog food grain-free, but this isn’t always a good idea. If your dog has an allergy to grains then look for dog food that has transparent labeling to see what the grains have been replaced with.
While looking at transparent labeling, you may also want to look for food made in your own country with sustainable ingredients. For instance, if you were in Melbourne look for Australian dog food as this may mean it uses ingredients from your country, and the food is fresher.
Try to find food that uses a single protein source rather than a mix. Look for gluten-free, whole grains, no soy or other allergens, and labeling that displays the main ingredients in percentage form.
Allergy symptoms and their relation to treats
As you read above, some people foods are very good for dogs, and of course, there are treats made especially for them.
When looking to give your pet a little bit of a reward, look for quality ingredients. Natural dog treats such as raw food and high-protein snacks are a good choice. Look for snacks that are 100% natural, don’t contain sugars or salt, and have no chemical processing.
Helping your dog with their allergy symptoms
Some allergies will require veterinary attention, however, you can also do your bit to help them out. Don’t buy processed dog food with preservatives and fillers in it. Make sure they get plenty of exercise and fresh air and keep an eye on their environment.
Dust mites enjoy carpets and rugs, so if possible stick to very low pile carpets, or ideally wooden flooring, tiles, and lino.
The best air purifier for pets will help your dog with seasonal allergies such as pollen, and as a bonus, they will help remove doggy odors too.
Benadryl and other antihistamines can help with hives and flea bites, but ask your vet for a prescription and dosage. Don’t administer drugs yourself without professional advice.
Dogs love to play outdoors and explore fields and woods. This can mean that your dog could be at risk from parasites, and sometimes the symptoms can look similar to allergies.
Skin irritation from some parasites can look very much like an allergy so it is important to get it checked by a professional.
If your dog is displaying any of the allergy symptoms you have read about above, then seek help from your local vet. If the symptoms continue without medical help then your dog is likely to be in some discomfort. Fortunately, treating allergy symptoms in dogs can sometimes be as simple as changing their brand of kibble.