Dog Allergies

Dogs have allergies too, and an allergic reaction can make a dog as miserable as it does people. A reaction occurs when a dog’s immune system decides that something is dangerous. The body tries to fight this phantom danger and causes a whole host of side effects in the process. An allergen can be anything eaten, inhaled or contacts the skin.

The problem with dog allergies is people often misunderstand the symptoms. An itching dog might not have fleas but an allergy. Dry flaky skin might be caused by skin problems but is often simply a symptom of an allergic reaction. Owners may not notice, or ignore, symptoms like snoring, diarrhea and vomiting, because they might not think about allergies when these occurrences happen. Sneezing and a runny nose are the types of symptoms that might cause an owner to think about dog allergies.

Figuring out exactly what is causing a dog’s problem can be a challenge. Inhaled allergens include cigarette smoke, pollen from plants, dust and mold spores. Contact allergens include fleas, flea medication, shampoo and detergent. Food allergies are not that common in dogs but owners should always thing about food as a possible source of allergies. A dog can even be allergic to people.

A visit to the vet might be necessary to figure out what is causing the allergic reaction. The veterinarian will check that there is no other physical cause and then they will help the owner to narrow down the possible allergens. If neither the vet nor owner can establish a cause, allergy testing is the next step. A veterinary dermatologist can perform a skin test to determine the actual cause of the allergic reaction. For food allergies, owners need to eliminate ingredients from the pet’s diet until identification of the allergen is possible.

Once the cause is established, it is time to rid the home environment of the allergens. The method used is dependent on the allergen in question. Flea allergies require a strict anti-flea routine. Weekly washing of bedding, draperies and rugs helps to cut down on dust. Keeping windows shut helps to keep the pollen out of the home. Investing in an air purifier is an option. Changing a pet’s diet is the only way to combat food allergies.

As much as dog owners try to keep the allergens out of their home, complete eradication of allergens may not be possible. Allergy medication helps relieve symptoms. The veterinarian might prescribe allergy shots, antihistamines, anti-itch sprays or even steroids. Some of the allergy meds can be pricey, and that is a consideration for pet owners. Veterinarians might be able to come up with a less expensive alternative if the higher priced medications are not practical.

Regardless of the cause of allergic reactions in dogs, prevention and treatment are required to give relief to the symptoms. No dog suffering from allergies is as happy and healthy as they can be. Removing the allergens and treating the symptoms is not difficult, but it is a little time consuming.

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