Have you heard someone tell you that their dog has allergies? Did your vet suggest that allergies could be a problem for your dog? Do you think your dog has allergies?
If so, you have probably noticed that dog allergies are not as simple as we would like. For starters, several types of allergies could be causing your dog’s symptoms.
Types of allergies in dogs
Allergies are a false reaction to foreign substances by the body’s immune system, which people and pets can suffer from. There are several types of allergies in dogs. Skin allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergens pose challenges for dogs and their owners, and to complicate matters, the symptoms of all of these different types of allergies can overlap.
Skin allergies, called allergic dermatitis, are the most common type of allergic reaction in dogs. There are three main causes of dog skin allergies:
Flea allergy dermatitis
Flea allergy dermatitis is an allergic reaction to flea bites. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva. This makes affected dogs very itchy, especially at the base of their tails, and their fur may become red, inflamed, and scab. You may also notice signs of fleas, such as dirt from fleas, or even see fleas themselves.
Food allergies and sensitivities can also cause itchy skin. The dogs that are allergic to the itchiest foods are the ears and paws, which can be accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms.
Environmental allergens, such as dust, pollen, and mold, can cause atopic allergic reactions or atopic dermatitis. In most cases, these allergies are seasonal, so you’ll only notice your dog’s itchiness at certain times of the year. As with food allergies, the most affected areas are the legs and ears (but also include the wrists, ankles, muzzle, armpits, groin, around the eyes, and between the toes).
All skin allergies present a risk of secondary infection. When your dog scratches, bites and licks his fur, he risks opening his fur to fungal and bacterial infections that may require treatment.
True food allergies may not be as common as people think, according to AKC Chief Veterinarian Dr. Jerry Klein. True food allergies cause an immune response, which can vary in terms of skin symptoms (hives, swelling of the face, itching), gastrointestinal signs (vomiting and/or diarrhea), or a combination of both. In rare cases, a severe reaction leading to anaphylaxis, similar to severe peanut allergies in humans, may occur.
But what about all those dogs on a special hypoallergenic diet?
What most people mean when they say that their dog has a food allergy is that their dog has a food sensitivity, also known as food intolerance. Food sensitivities, unlike real allergies, do not involve an immune response and are rather a gradual reaction to an ingredient in your dog’s food, such as beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, with soy or milk.
Food-sensitive dogs can have various symptoms, including gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhea, or dermatological signs such as itching, poor skin and coat, and chronic ear or foot infections
The best way to diagnose and treat a food allergy is to work with your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s symptoms and find out the ingredient that is causing the reaction.
Acute allergic reactions
Perhaps the most alarming of all types of allergies in dogs is an acute allergic reaction. Dogs, like humans, can experience anaphylactic shock if they have a severe reaction to an allergen. This can be fatal if left untreated.
Bee stings and vaccine reactions, among others, can cause an anaphylactic response in some dogs, so it’s always a good idea to monitor your dog closely after giving a vaccine, medication, or new food… Fortunately, anaphylactic reactions are rare in dogs.
Your dog may also develop hives or facial swelling in response to an allergen. Swelling of the face, throat, lips, eyelids, or earmuffs may seem serious, but it is rarely fatal, and your veterinarian may treat it with an antihistamine.
Dog allergy symptoms
Allergy symptoms in dogs can vary depending on the cause. A dog suffering from anaphylactic shock, for example, will have a drop in blood sugar followed by shock, which is very different from a skin condition.
In general, however, the following symptoms may be indicative of an allergic reaction.
Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earmuffs
Red, inflamed skin
Chronic ear infections
Some of these symptoms could also be a sign of another condition. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis and help your dog feel better.
Diagnosis of allergies in dogs
If you’ve ever had an allergy test, you know that diagnosing allergies is often difficult.
The first thing your veterinarian can choose is to rule out any other conditions that may be causing your dog’s symptoms. If your veterinarian considers an allergy to be a likely cause, he may offer allergy tests to try to determine the cause of the allergen causing the reaction. However, keep in mind that it is not always possible to determine the cause of an allergy with tests.
Food allergies are often diagnosed using an elimination diet. A food test involves feeding a dog with a new source (i.e., one) of protein and carbohydrates for 12 weeks.
Allergic flea dermatitis is usually the easiest allergy to diagnose. It is usually diagnosed by identifying fleas on your dog’s body and applying a product that kills fleas before they bite to see if it fixes the problems.
Treatment of allergies in dogs
The best way to treat an allergy is to avoid the cause and allergen. This may or may not always be possible. But, in terms of treatment, it depends on the type of allergy in your dog. For example, the best way to treat allergic flea dermatitis is to kill fleas, while the best way to treat a food allergy or intolerance is to change your diet.
In addition to any lifestyle changes that may be necessary, your veterinarian may also prescribe medication for your dog that will help control the signs associated with the allergic reaction, such as itching and secondary skin infections that may have occurred—developed accordingly. Irritant.
If your dog has a severe allergic reaction, your best course of action is to take him to an emergency veterinary hospital as soon as possible.