Allergic reactions in dogs are fairly common since dogs react to certain environmental factors similarly to humans. If you’ve noticed changes in your dog’s physical appearance or behavior, it could be due to an allergic reaction, which may be temporary, seasonal, or permanent.
Identifying these allergic reactions and documenting them is an important part of your dog’s overall health care. It will help keep allergies under control or prevent them altogether. Plus, you’ll have a happier pet.
Has your dog started scratching or licking his paws non-stop? Have you noticed his eyes were more red or watery than usual? These all could be symptoms of an allergic reaction. Other common allergy symptoms to look out for include:
- Swollen paws
- Hair loss
If you notice any of these signs or changed behaviors in your pet, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Document any information of what happened prior to you noticing the symptoms, how often they occur, and if they have increased in severity. In cases of severe allergic reactions, such as seizures, extreme lethargy, or continuous vomiting, take your dog to the emergency clinic for immediate evaluation.
Causes of Allergic Reactions in Dogs
Just as symptoms will vary from dog to dog, depending on the allergy, so will the actual cause. Finding the culprit is important to eliminate your dog coming into contact with the trigger in the future. It also helps your veterinarian to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Here are a few of the potential causes for your dog’s allergies:
Fleas – It’s probably no surprise that fleas are one of the most common causes of allergic reactions in dogs. These pesky mites can make life uncomfortable, as they dig into your dog’s skin. When your dog has fleas, he may sneeze and scratch more or rub his hind against the carpet due to his itchiness. If not treated in a timely fashion, flea bites could result in extreme redness, scabs, and painful discomfort for your dog. Typical treatment includes flea medication to stop them from literally getting under your dog’s skin.
Food – While it seems like many dogs will eat nearly anything, it doesn’t mean they should. Keeping your dog on a healthy, balanced diet will make it easier to detect (and prevent) allergies down the road. If you are trying a new pet food brand, make note of any symptoms he may experience as a result. This might include inflammation, skin reactions, or vomiting, especially if he is sensitive to a particular food. It also may be a single ingredient that is causing the allergic reaction. It’s important to know everything that goes into your pet’s food and snacks. There are organic options for dogs, which helps eliminate the likelihood of allergies because the ingredient list is kept to a minimum.
Mold and Pollen – Dogs aren’t immune from the effects of a high mold or pollen count. Plus, when they are outside exploring, there is an increased chance for them to come into contact with it. While there is nothing you can do to control the outside environment and its production of mold or pollen, you can create a clean environment inside your home to help keep allergies at bay. When cleaning your home, consider the products you use, as these too can trigger allergic reactions.
Medication – If your dog is starting a new medication, watch out for any allergic reactions. Closely monitor his behavior after administering any new medicine to ensure that he dog reacts favorably. Also, carefully follow the prescription guidelines, including dosage amounts.
Coping with Allergic Reactions in Dogs
As we all know, dogs will get into anything, which makes it easy for them to come into contact with something that will irritate their skin or body. Make sure you are giving your dog frequent baths, especially if he is prone to running loose outside at the dog park or in the backyard.
If your dog suffers from a food allergy, pinpoint which particular food or ingredient your dog may be allergic to. An elimination diet will exclude some of the main culprits before slowly adding foods back in and waiting to gauge reactions.
The key is to find the cause and treat it accordingly. One of the best ways to do this is through education and prevention. Once you know what your dog is allergic to, take proactive steps to avoid that food or environment when possible.