Allergies are not rare and can affect all dog breeds. Find out more about the most common allergies, the symptoms and treatment options in this blog post.
What are allergies?
They occur when a dog's immune system has a hyper reaction to an external substance such as pollen, flea saliva, bee stings or some foods that wouldn't trigger any reaction in most dogs.
Some allergies are thought to be hereditary, some have an unknown cause. Most dogs show signs of an allergy in their first three years.
What are the main signs of allergies in dogs?
Watch out for signs on your dog's skin, such as itching, inflamed areas or hives. Face swelling and inflammation of the ears can also be signs of an allergy.
Watery eyes, sneezing and gastrointestinal issues are also common symptoms.
In very rare cases, a severe allergic response can cause an anaphylactic reaction which requires urgent medical care, as this can be fatal.
What are the most common types of allergies?
- Fleas: it's actually a reaction to a substance in flea saliva, not the flea.
- Atopic Dermatitis: it is usually an inherited tendency to develop allergic reactions after exposure to common allergens in the air such as pollens, weeds or fungi.
- Food allergies: they will often trigger skin issues such as flaking or itching, as well as chronic ear infections. A dogs can develop a food allergy overtime, which can make it hard to diagnose as they would have tolerated this food without issues before. Dairy, beef, and wheat represent up to 80% of food allergies in dogs.
- Contact allergies: when a dog has direct contact to a surface or chemical that irritates their skin. Household cleaners, carpet cleaners, fertilisers and essential oils are the main culprits.
How to diagnose and treat a dog allergy?
If your dog displays any signs of an allergy, your vet will perform a thorough examination and enquire about your dog's history to be able to confirm the diagnosis. Some allergies are easy to determine, some others may require further allergen testing.
Most allergies are not curable but they can be controlled so that your dog's symptoms are minimal. Here are some examples:
- Anti-parasitic protocol and flea prevention to keep symptoms at bay.
- Antihistamines, a safe treatment but not effective on every dog.
- Cortisone and other medications show good results but they come with side effects so the treatment needs to be well managed by the vet.
- Diet changes are fairly easy to implement once the food allergy has been identified. Here are MyPetSays we have a wide range of recipes and hypoallergenic options.
- Air purifiers and air conditioning can help with allergens in the air.
- Medicated hygiene products, such as shampoos can help reduce localised inflammation. Bathing your dog every week can also relieve the symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
- Antibiotics can be prescribed to treat skin infections.
It goes without saying that your vet is the best person to speak to and get a treatment plan from!