How to Treat Dogs with Allergies?
Dogs, like humans, can develop allergies. Humans with allergies sneeze, while dogs with allergies itch. If your dog’s skin is red and irritated and constantly licks their paws, they could be allergic to something in their environment or food. But how do you treat allergies?
Some allergens can be avoided or reduced. A special diet can help you avoid food allergens. Dust can be reduced by cleaning frequently, fleas can be avoided with flea medication, and environmental allergens can be reduced by bathing often. Some allergens, however, cannot be avoided. Some dogs are so sensitive that allergens cannot be reduced sufficiently to avoid bothering them. These dogs may require allergy medication.
What Causes the Allergies?
Your dog could be exposed to allergens through her food, insect bites, inhaling pollen or fungal spores, or simply brushing up against or lying down on a specific surface.
When your dog is exposed to an allergen, the immune system responds by releasing histamines. Histamines are naturally occurring chemicals in your body, but too many of them can cause significant discomfort in your dog, including inflammation, itching, and swelling. The inflammation can cause a wide range of symptoms in the affected dog, depending on the source of the allergen and the severity and location of the response.
Dogs of any age, breed, or mix can be affected by allergies. Some allergies are inherited, so allergies and other immune disorders in family members are always good questions to ask when purchasing a puppy from a breeder.
Later in life, your dog’s immune system may become sensitized to a specific allergen and begin to overreact to repeated exposures, causing her to develop allergies. Allergies are more common in young adults. If this wasn’t bad enough, your dog might be allergic to multiple things.
How Can You Identify Allergies? What are the Symptoms?
Itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, snoring, itchy ears or ear infections, and diarrhea or vomiting are some of dogs’ most common symptoms of allergies. Itchy skin, hair loss, frequent licking, and swollen paws are all possible skin symptoms in your dog.
How to Diagnose Allergies in Dogs?
The type of allergy your dog is suspected of having will influence the diagnosis. A physical examination by your veterinarian may be enough to diagnose your dog’s allergies. Additional tests may be ordered if your veterinarian cannot pinpoint the source of your dog’s allergies.
Many allergies can be tested for using a skin test similar to the ones used in humans. This is usually done if your dog has skin issues.
If your dog is experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, your veterinarian may advise you to change their diet. If the symptoms disappear, your dog is likely allergic to something in their diet. You will then begin reintroducing foods into their diet one at a time to see if there is a reaction.
How To Treat Your Dog’s Allergies?
The BEST way to address allergies is to consult your Veterinarian!
Your veterinarian may recommend antihistamines such as Benadryl to treat specific dog allergies. These only work for about 30% of dogs, and these dogs may also develop a tolerance to the medication, rendering it ineffective for them. Your veterinarian should determine the exact medication and dosage.
Some people may require stronger medication. Corticosteroids, used to treat severe allergies in humans, are also effective in dogs. These are highly effective in the short term but can have serious side effects if used for an extended period. If your dog is experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, your veterinarian may advise you to change their diet. If the symptoms disappear, your dog is likely allergic to something in their diet. You will then begin reintroducing foods into their diet one at a time to see if there is a reaction.
Allergy shots can also be given to dogs. This may be the best long-term solution to many dogs’ allergy problems.