Dog Allergies: Signs Symptoms and Treatments
Allergies have a huge impact on our lives, but how do they affect dogs? Do you suspect that your dog may be silently (or not so silently) suffering from allergies?
Allergies are a misguided reaction of the bodies immune system to foreign molecules or substances that have entered the body. There are quite a few types of allergies in dogs. Skin allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergens are among the most common all pose challenges for dogs and their owners,
Most common allergens in dogs:
- Flea saliva
- Food allergens
- Grains (wheat, corn rice, oats)
- Proteins (chicken, beef, pork, eggs, fish, lamb)
- Root vegetables (carrots, potatos, yams)
- Legumes (peanuts, lentils, peas, soy)
- Atopy or Inhalants
- Cigarette smoke
- Cleaning products
- Contact allergens
- Certain fabrics
- Cleaning products
- Human/ animal dander
- Bacterial hypersensitivity
What are the signs?
- Dogs with allergies will most likely scratch, lick and chew the infected area. Feet and face especially, ears, eyes, armpits, the groin or inside the thighs.
- Itchy skin is also known as pruritus.
- Poor coat condition or hair loss
- Recurring skin infections from the irritation
- Redness – red inflamed skin
- Swelling face
- Ears, lips, eyelids
- Runny eyes and nose
- Chronic ear infections
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting (in case of food allergies)
- And less common but possible
- Bad smell – the skin produces more sebum, an oily material, that causes odor
Have in mind that some sings a may appear only at a specific time of the year (atopy), it is also possible that your dog doesn’t show signs at all.
Setting the diagnosis of allergies is not easy. In order to make the right diagnosis, they should exclude diseases with common signs and do allergy tests, which can provide a specific diagnosis in approximately 80% of cases.
- Food Elimination Diet
- A food elimination diet involves stripping down the dog's diet to the bare essentials and then slowly reintroducing ingredients until you see a reaction. The process can be long (lasting up to 6 months) and tedious for a pet owner. However, once the food allergy is determined, dog owners will be able to ensure that they are keeping their dog healthy and allergy-free from that point forward.
- Blood test
- Taking a blood sample, and testing it for the presence of IgE antibodies against specific allergens. A high number of these antibodies gives a positive result on the allergy test.
- Skin test
- Injecting a small amount of an allergen into the skin, a positive reaction is shown if the body produces a response to the allergen. Results are seen in 15 minutes after the injection
- Saliva test
- Can be used to effectively diagnose food sensitivities and intolerance rather than allergies. Home test kits are available but be sure to talk with your veterinarian regarding the accuracy of these kits.
High-Risk Dog Breeds for Allergy
It is estimated that up to 12% of all dogs suffer from allergies but certain breeds are at a higher risk of developing allergies. You'll find that several on the list are brachycephalic breeds (dogs characterized by their pushed in, flat noses). However, all dogs have the potential to develop allergies at some point in their life.
The following is a list of breeds that are at a higher risk for developing allergies:
- Boston terriers
- German shepherds
- Golden retrievers
- Irish setters
The easiest way to treat an allergy is avoidance of the cause and allergen, for example, soaps or shampoos, or specific foods can be eliminated and this may stop the symptoms in your dog. This may or may not be possible. But, in terms of treatment, it depends on your dog's type of allergy. In addition to any lifestyle changes that might be necessary for your veterinarian to prescribe a medication so we suggest that if symptoms don’t reside that you make an appointment with your veterinarian.
- May 20, 2019
- in Pet Blog