Allergies are no fun for you or for your dog. The symptoms that indicate dog allergies are similar to the ones that point to an allergy in humans. Read on to find out more about dog allergies and how to spot them. If you have any questions, call Animal Medical Center of Chandler at (480) 339-0406.
What Are Dog Allergies?
Hypersensitivity or a state of over-reactivity of the immune system to a certain substance is called an allergy. The particular substance that causes it is called an allergen, and when allergens are involved, the immune response can actually be harmful. Proteins from plants, insects, animals, or foods can be allergens.
Some allergies (like allergies to plants and pollens) are inherited, but most of them are usually developed over time due to multiple exposures to allergens. Often, frequent occasions of exposure for months or years sensitize the immune system leading to an over-reaction after a subsequent exposure.
What Are the Common Varieties of Dog Allergies in Chandler, AZ?
Sadly, allergies are quite common in dogs. The majority of affected dogs are over the age of one or two, but most allergies begin to appear after six months of age. Pollens, dust mites, shed skin cells, mild pores, insect proteins like flea saliva, and some medications are all examples of common allergens, and some different kinds of allergies are:
- acute allergic reactions
- food allergies
- flea or insect allergies
- contact allergies
- inhalant (atopy) allergies.
Acute Allergic Reactions
Acute allergic reactions are the most dangerous and alarming of all types of allergies. Like humans, dogs can go into anaphylactic shock if they react severely to an allergen. Unless treated right away, this can be fatal to your dog. Some causes of acute allergic reactions include bee stings and reactions to vaccinations. Even though anaphylactic responses are quite rare in dogs, the possibility of reacting adversely to a vaccination is there, and this is another reason to carefully monitor your dog after the administration of any vaccine or drug.
Food allergies can easily develop at any age and in response to nearly every protein or carbohydrate component of food. It is a common response to protein intake from soy, lamb, chicken, chicken eggs, beef, wheat gluten, and dairy products. Since food allergies generally cannot be eliminated with medical treatment, identifying and removing the allergens from your dog’s diet is necessary. Signs on food allergies may be itching, digestion issues, runny nose and/or eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
Flea or Insect Allergies
Flea or insect allergies are mostly developed to an allergen present in the saliva of arachnids like ticks and spiders and in insects like fleas, mosquitos, ants, bees, horseflies, deerflies, blackflies, hornets, and wasps. The most effective measure against these types of allergies is strict flea control.
In cases of severe allergic reactions, your dog’s vet may prescribe antihistamines or corticosteroids, but antibiotics would be prescribed in the presence of a secondary bacterial infection. Symptoms include irritation at the site of the flea or insect bite.
Contact allergies are the least common type of dog allergies. They can develop at any age and to pretty much anything, and they are induced by direct contact with allergens. Allergens can include materials like wool and synthetics used in carpets and bedding, grasses, pesticides used on the lawn, pyrethrin in flea collars, etc.
If your dog is allergic to any of these, he or she will usually experience skin irritation and itching at the points of contact, which are usually the feet and the stomach.
Inhalant allergies are also common. An inhalant allergy can be developed to pollens from trees like oak, ash, cedar, etc. Other allergens can be weed pollens, house dust mites, mildew, and mold. Treatment may involve these three therapies:
- shampoo therapy
- anti-inflammatory therapy
- hypersensitization or desensitization therapy
Shampoo therapy involves frequent bathing with a hypoallergenic shampoo. Allergens on the coat that can be absorbed through the skin are also rinsed out during washing. In addition, some therapeutic shampoos contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that may be of further benefit to your dog.
Anti-inflammatory therapy requires drugs like corticosteroids or antihistamines, oral medications, and long-acting injections.
Hypersensitization or desensitization therapy requires weekly allergy shots through which very small amounts of antigen are injected into the body. The objective of the repeated dosing is to desensitize the immune system and reprogram it. The success rates of this kind of treatment vary greatly.
Symptoms of Dog Allergies
The most common indication of allergies is itching of the skin. Your dog may be only itchy in one area or all over the body. Other symptoms include:
- swelling of the face, lips, ears, eyelids, or earflaps
- runny nose or eyes
- red and inflamed skin
- chronic ear infections
- constant licking.
Your dog may experience one or all of these symptoms with most dog allergies. Remember that these signs can point to other disorders, and therefore, you may confuse more serious conditions with allergies. Because of this, you should never make any assumptions or attempt to diagnose your dog yourself. Always seek professional assistance, and if your canine is diagnosed with an allergy, it’s imperative that all the members of your family strictly follow the vet’s advice in order to be successful in relieving your pup’s discomfort.
Diagnosing Dog Allergies
Diagnosing allergies can often be complicated. Usually, the first thing your vet will do is rule out any other condition that may be causing the symptoms of your dog. If an allergy is determined to be the likely cause, he or she will then probably propose allergy testing. This can also be tricky because it’s not always easy or possible to determine the cause of an allergy through testing. Your vet will determine the best course of action.
Dog allergies are a bother and a nuisance but can definitely be kept under control and don’t have to cause your canine serious issues and discomfort. All you have to do is stay alert and aware of your dog’s behavior and environment. If you respond quickly and effectively to anything out of the ordinary, your furry friend will be just fine, and you won’t have anything serious to worry about.