I would wager that, like me, you have battled a skin problem with at least one dog in your time either as a pet owner or groomer. And more than likely, you have encountered a dog skin problem with many puppies and adult dogs over the years.
Yes, dog allergies can be a huge problem. Nobody wants to see their beloved dog miserable with the persistent discomfort that comes from scratching and itching and biting red, irritated skin areas.
How to Spot Dog Skin Allergies
If your pooch is acting strangely or has any of these ongoing dog allergy symptoms, make sure to consult a veterinarian:
- Lack of interest in food
- Itchy skin
- Itchy feet
- Agitated paws from biting and chewing
- Red, inflamed skin
- Incessant scratching
- Hair loss
- Skin Rashes
- Red, irritated tummy area
Once you visit your vet, he/she will be able to confirm if your dog is suffering from some kind of allergy and then investigate a possible cause so that corrective action can be taken.
Often the type of medication prescribed can be an antihistamine for example. But there are other solutions that your vet might select in your particular case. The decision might be influenced by other medical conditions that your dog might be confronted by.
Types of Allergies Suffered by Dogs
What causes these allergic reactions in dogs?
The source can be difficult to isolate but more often than not it can be traced back to one of these three categories:
1. Dog Food Allergies (Canine Atopy)
You can often detect a food allergy in a very young dog. Puppies can exhibit many of the usual symptoms if they are sensitive to a particular food group.
Certain proteins are often to blame.
As you would expect, diarrhea would be one of the symptoms that could suggest an allergic reaction to a food group.
Irritated dry skin on dogs’ ears is another suspicious telltale sign.
And of course we have all observed dogs that skid across the room on their bottoms in an attempt to relieve itching.
But did you know that wiping or rubbing the face on the ground or furniture immediately after eating can also suggest a problem caused by food. Naturally this is not always the case, but a subsequent allergy diagnosis occurs often enough to warrant looking into dog food ingredients.
Dermatitis in dogs is a real problem that often persists much longer than it should.
What to do about dog food allergies
Identifying which food is the real culprit can be very time consuming not to mention tricky, involving a process of elimination. Such a program is best outlined by a vet.
However, if you suspect a food allergy, it is a good idea to restrict the diet to commercial foods that are already labelled as being suitable for allergic-prone dogs.
2. Seasonal / Pollen Allergies
Pollens can be inhaled. along with many other irritant types such as mite dander. Certain pollen or dander can even penetrate the skin at the peak of the allergy prone season.
This nearly always requires a visit to the vet for an appropriate medication application.
What to do about pollen allergies
If your dog is found to be allergic to pollen or airborne irritants, you can change his bedding more frequently and try to keep him away from dusty areas.
Monitor outdoor activities during high pollen seasons.
3. Flea Allergies in Dogs
Adverse reactions to flea bites and other parasites nearly always lead to a form of dermatitis. The flea saliva is thought to be the culprit. This usually produces incessant dog scratching above and beyond the normal itchiness that is produced in a non-sensitive dog The latter dog usually responds to normal & regular flea treatment but the hypersensitive dog often ends up enduring the symptoms despite usual flea treatments.
If the problem persists, a severe rash can develop, followed by hair loss and even scabbing.
What to do about it allergic reactions to fleas
- Use a flea comb to see if you can detect the presence of fleas or even mites.
- Try a topical application, applied to the back of the neck where it is safe from licking.
- Try one of the better flea shampoos for dogs
- If the allergic reaction persists, do visit your vet as a more rigorous medical treatment might need to be prescribed.
Be aware that if flea chemicals result in the fleas leaving their host and your dog is predominantly an inside dog, then you could be facing some bites yourself.
Preventing Dog Skin Problems in the Future
Once you have managed to get on top of an allergy problem, you are then faced with the challenge of how to prevent it from re-occurring.
Your vet can certainly help identify which allergen your pet is susceptible to and thus outline a corrective/preventative program.