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Does Your Dog Have Allergies? 
April 1, 2024

Did you know that approximately one out of every five of our canine pals may suffer from allergies? This is actually quite similar to the numbers for allergies in humans. It is estimated that one in every four people has allergies. That equates to almost 100 million individuals alone in the United States. The following piece by a local Burleson, TX veterinarian explains dog allergies.

How Are Canine Allergies Treated?

Allergies cannot be cured, but there are steps you can take to help keep your pet comfortable. The first step is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to identify what is causing your pup’s discomfort. After the culprit has been identified, you and your veterinarian will be able to discuss particular treatment alternatives.

Medications are one possibility. Anti-inflammatory medicines, such as corticosteroids or antihistamines, fatty acid supplements, and topical medications are a few of the other choices.  In some cases, simply switching shampoos may be enough. If your furry friend has food allergies, your veterinarian may recommend a specific diet. Fido may also respond to desensitization. It really just depends on the type and severity of your pooch’s allergies.

When Do Dogs Become Allergic to Things?

Fido can develop allergies to a wide range of items. These allergies can develop at any point of his life. However, pups rarely develop allergies before reaching the age of six months. Most pups are at least a year or two old. There is a reason for this: Fido’s immune system needs a little while to realize it does not like something.

What Are the Warning Signs of Allergies in Dogs?

It’s not always easy to figure out that your furry friend has allergies. The indications can vary significantly from pup to pup. It ultimately comes down to what Fido reacts to and how extreme the reaction is.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Runny eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Sneezing
  • Licking
  • Licking paws
  • Itchiness
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Stubborn Ear infections
  • Skin problems include redness, flaking, and irritation
  • Coughing
  • Facial rubbing
  • Itchy ears

Many of these symptoms could be indicative of a wide range of conditions, including allergies. That’s why it’s crucial to take Fido to the vet for an accurate diagnosis.

Why Do Dogs Get Allergies?

Allergies affect dogs and people in similar ways. In a nutshell, Fido’s immune system gets a bit too proactive about protecting the body from external toxins.

Over time, Fido’s immune system develops an intolerance to a specific substance. This is typically a protein, usually some type of insect, plant, animal, or dietary protein. Once your puppy’s immune system becomes sensitive to that substance, ingesting or having contact with it initiates an immunological response against it and begins to generate antibodies. This causes a chain reaction, resulting in the production of histamines and triggers the reactions that make your poor pooch super uncomfortable.

This is, of course, the condensed version: details about allergens and the immune system’s reactions to them can be quite complex. Contact your veterinarian for further information.

What Types of Allergies Do Dogs Usually Develop?

Dog allergies, like human allergies, fall into several categories. 

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies are essentially environmental allergies that flare up at specific periods of the year. This list includes a variety of tree pollen, plants, grasses, leaves, and flowers. Keep in mind that your dog can pick up pollen on his paws and tummy while running and playing in the yard.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are among the most common allergies in dogs. This is usually a single substance, such as an additive or preservative. Many pups are allergic to certain meat proteins, including beef, chicken, and pork. Others react to corn or grains. Legumes and root vegetables may also disagree with Man’s Best Friend.

Insect Allergies

Fido’s fur does not always protect him against bites from bugs. He can react to a variety of insect bites, including fleas, blackflies, deer flies, horseflies, mosquitoes, ants, wasps, bees, and hornets. Our canine companions can also react to bites from arachnids, such as spiders and ticks.

Contact Allergies

Contact allergies can be brought on by a wide variety of chemicals. Certain fabrics, such as your carpet or sofa material, ingredients in Fido’s dog shampoo, floor waxes, and mulch are examples of this. Fido could also potentially be allergic to dander or even to your cat. (Kitties can also have allergies, but we’ll save that for another time.) 

Environmental Allergies

As the name implies, an environmental allergy is a response to anything in the environment. Pollen, dust, mold, grass, leaves, cigarette smoke, and perfume are just a few of the many possible culprits on this list.

Anaphylactic Shock

This is the worst sort of allergy, as it can be fatal. This is a severe reaction. These could be caused by bee stings, severe food allergies, or vaccination reactions.  FIdo may faint, have a seizure, or have difficulty breathing. Death and coma are also possible, though fortunately, such cases are pretty rare.

Which Type Of Allergy Is Most Common In Dogs?

Skin disorders are the most common among our canine pets. Many of these are caused by parasites, such as fleas. Fido can also develop contact dermatitis, which is a skin allergy. As the name implies, this type of allergy occurs after Fido has come into direct contact with some type of irritant. Food allergies are also not uncommon among our canine companions.

What Is The Best Way To Care For A Dog With Allergies?

As previously stated, the first thing you should do is take Fido to your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis. That way, you’ll be able to get your canine companion started on the right path for treatment.

There are several things you can do at home. Vacuuming and dusting regularly can help remove dust, fur, dander, pollen, and other irritants from your carpets and furniture. Additionally, changing your air filters on a regular basis can be beneficial. We would also recommend that you wash your pet’s bedding frequently. Though you’ll need to look at the label, if possible, wash in hot water with unscented detergent and tumble dry.

This is also something to think about when decorating. If it’s time to get a new sofa, choose one with an allergy-friendly covering, such as leather. You may also wish to consider window treatments that do not trap dust.

Another thing you may do is start tracking pollen counts. When levels are high, minimize your pet’s outdoor activity. Wipe off your four-legged friend’s paws and belly down before bringing him inside after his walks or play sessions.

Finally, keep up with Fido’s parasite and grooming needs. Contact your Burleson, TX veterinarian for further information.

What If My Dog Has Food Allergies?

Food allergies might be a little problematic. You will need to determine exactly what your pet is reacting to, which may take some time. Your veterinarian may advise you to put Fido on a very plain diet for a while, until his symptoms improve. Once symptoms have subsided, you might begin reintroducing things one by one to observe what creates a reaction.

Do you know or believe that your dog may have allergies? Contact us today. As your Burleson, TX pet clinic, we’re here to help!