Dogs suffer from allergies same way humans do. The mechanism is pretty simple to explain. The body, the immune system to be exact, recognizes certain substances the dog encounters as potentially dangerous and works its way to neutralize them.
This doesn’t mean that the substances are necessarily dangerous, it’s just the immune system being overly cautious.
While our blog’s mascot is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these tips apply for any breed.
Allergic Response Triggers
There are three ways these substances get in contact with the immune system and trigger an allergic response:
- Skin contact
Dog Allergy Symptoms
The allergic reaction can be mild to severe, and depending on the location (route of entrance inside the body) the lungs, intestines, and stomach or skin can become inflamed. All dogs and dog breeds can suffer from allergies, with retrievers, setters, terriers, bulldogs, and pugs being the most affected ones.
How to Tell if Your Dog Has Allergies?
The diagnosis of different types of allergies in dogs requires a series of tests and can be often tricky to detect. When there are obvious signs of red and persistently itchy skin the veterinarian will most likely perform intradermal allergen test when allergy is suspected. Food allergies, on the other hand, are even harder to diagnose. The testing requires a trial feeding period of 2-3 months with hypoallergenic food prescribed by the vet.
What Causes Dog Skin Allergies?
The list of clinical symptoms due to allergic response includes scabbed, moist, red and itchy skin, intensive scratching, eye discharge, sneezing, itchy ears and ear infection, sneezing, labored breathing, reddened paws, persistent licking, and diarrhea. As long as the list of symptoms gets, the list of substances (allergens) responsible for the reactions is even longer. Most common allergens include pollen, dust mites and house dust, dander, cigarette some, mold, medications, perfumes, flea saliva, shampoos, cleaning products, plastic, fabric, and food protein.
What Can I Give My Dog for Seasonal Allergies?
In order to start a proper treatment plan for your dog’s allergies, you need a final diagnostic confirmation and veterinary prescription.
The best possible option is to reduce the dog’s exposure to the substances causing allergic reactions.
Best Dog Food for Allergies
For example, if the dog has a foodborne allergy, simply eliminating those proteins from his diet will reduce the risk of allergies.
Other easy-to-treat case is when the dog suffers from FAD (Flea Allergic Dermatitis). The proteins present in flea-saliva cause severe itching and inflammation, usually at the back of the tail. Eliminating the fleas with efficient medications will solve the problem for good.
Airborne allergies are probably the hardest to treat and control. There are several ways you can deal with this nasty occurrence. Series of seasonal allergy injections can help the dog’s immune system develop resistance to the irritating substance.
Allergy Medicine for Dogs
Antihistamines are often prescribed in cases of mild to severe allergic reactions. The medication blocks inflammation mediators inside the organism and prevents the development of symptoms.
However, successful management of allergies cannot be always achieved with antihistamines.
When nothing else seems to help, vets prescribe corticosteroids. This group of medications provides fast relief of symptoms, but the long-term use can lead to several organ malfunctions. Fatty-acid supplements are often used in cases when the allergic reactions are localized on the skin.
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