Allergies are something we usually relate to ourselves. We all have a basic understanding of what they are, thanks to hay fever. However, dogs can get allergies too, much to your surprise, and you need to know what to do and how to notice the signs.
The first thing you should do is understand the basic principles of what an allergy is.
Allergies are a state when your body overreacts or is hypersensitive in its immune system to any substance that could be considered an allergen.
A majority of allergens are usually proteins from insects, plants, animals, or even foods.
The allergen itself is not harmful, but our bodies’ reaction to it can be.
The symptoms that arise in your dog that may spark up concern that they have an allergy depend entirely on what type of allergy it is, an allergic reaction in their digestive systems will look totally different to respiratory allergies.
Here are some symptoms to look out for;
- Runny nose.
- Runny discharge from eyes.
- Irritated skin.
- Rubbing face.
- Recurring infections.
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Are They Common?
You might hope that not all dog breeds are susceptible to allergies, however there is no one breed that is less susceptible than others. A majority of allergies appear in your pet after they turn 6 months old, and most dogs affected by allergies are affected after the age of 2.
Test For Allergies
Testing your dog for allergies depends primarily on the symptoms your dog is displaying.
There are 3 primary allergy tests for dogs, each depends on what their allergies seem to be.
They are as follows;
- Intradermal skin testing. This test involves small injections for select allergens and then close perceptions of the way your dog reacts. This will be used to create a unique allergy serum to help the dog.
- Blood tests. Much like we have, it is less invasive and only needs to be done once. It is not as reliable as intradermal tests though. A lab will test the blood and results can be effective in creating a serum to desensitize the dog to their allergies.
- Elimination diet. This is for food allergies. You put your dog on a diet with ingredients for 8-12 weeks then they introduce food types into the diet 1 by 1 to try and fathom out the cause of the allergies.
Each of these tests will depend heavily on the type of allergy and the symptoms your dog is having. You could not do an elimination diet for an allergy that is not food related for example.
The treatment for the allergies depend on what the allergy is itself. So, let’s have a look at how some specific allergies can be treated.
Fleas are an easy one to deal with. Find a product that kills and repels fleas without them biting and keep this on your dog all year. You should also practice home care methods to keep the house flea-free.
Remember salt kills fleas in the carpets and on furniture as it dehydrates them.
One bite can cause your dog to break out in a rash if they are allergic.
Atopic dermatitis can be treated in many ways.
Through immunotherapy which will give your dog serums for their allergens to desensitize them to their allergens, as well as being paired with injections to help them.
Corticosteroids can help to ease more severe symptoms of allergies. They can have major side effects though, so these are only usually used for a short while, while other treatment is kicking in.
Medications such as Apoquel or diphenhydramine, as well as loratadine, and cetirizine can be used for dogs as well. Your vet will prescribe this depending on the severity of the allergies and size of the dog.
Cytopoint can be received in injections to ease itching.
Baths can also help to ease dry skin, infections, and so on.
The removal of pollen is also important. Wiping the dog down with a dryer sheet will help remove pollen after walks.
For respiratory allergies many of the prescriptions are the same as atopic dermatitis. You could also get a cough suppressant if they cough a lot to help the throat heal.
There are a few medications that can help food allergies, but the most important thing is to avoid the ingredients that cause the issue. Check ingredients on food and treats when you know what their allergies are.