Dog Allergies – is your pet suffering?

It’s not just humans that suffer from allergies, dogs get them too! Read on to find out how to tell if your pup is suffering, and how to make him feel better.

The number of people suffering from allergies is increasing all the time. More kids (and adults) are developing new allergies and experiencing an increase in severity/duration of existing ones. But did you know that dogs can suffer from allergies too?

They can fall prey to seasonal allergies involving pollen,Guest Posting plants, mold etc. just like we do. But there are also other, more common, causes of dog allergies such flea allergy, dog food allergy, contact allergy and occasionally an allergic reaction to vaccinations.

Although dog allergies are caused by a variety of different substances, they generally produce symptoms that affect the skin. If your dog seems to spend an inordinate amount of time scratching and licking himself (especially his belly and paws), has sore, irritated, red patches of skin, ‘hot spots’ or patchy hair loss, chances are he’s suffering from allergies. Other symptoms of canine allergies that you may see are sneezing, coughing, persistent head shaking or discharge from the eyes or nose.

Certain breeds seem to be more prone to developing allergies than others, they include :

Golden Retrievers
Irish Setters
Labrador Retrievers
Lhasa Apsos
Min. Schnauzers
Shar Peis

Puppies generally don’t develop dog allergies until after they reach a year old or more. That’s because they tend to ‘grow into’ their allergies as their exposure to allergens in the atmosphere, food etc. sensitizes them to certain substances. It’s definitely easier to treat an allergy that has recently appeared, than one that’s been present (and untreated) for a long period of time. Canine allergies will not ‘get better’ by themselves, and the symptoms they produce can make your dog very miserable and uncomfortable.

You can help to lessen the chances of your puppy developing canine allergies in later life, by minimizing his exposure to as many of the ‘triggers’ as possible. You can do this by :

Feeding him a high-quality food (organic or hypoallergenic if possible), without dangerous chemicals and artificial additives to eliminate, or at least minimize, the development of dog food allergies.

In cases of flea allergy, being vigilant about flea prevention is vital. Use a good, effective flea medication (such as Frontline Plus) on your pup during flea season. This could be for 4 months or year round, depending on where you live.

Preventing inhalant allergies is more challenging, but you can help control the problem with regular bathing and grooming, using HEPA filters in your vacuum and heat/AC units and minimizing your dogs’ contact with long grasses etc.

Contact alllergies are fairly unusual, but they can occur when your dog comes in contact with something he’s sensitive to, such as a flea collar, a blanket washed in a new detergent or something similar. The best treatment is to remove the allergen from his coat and skin by bathing him with a hypoallergenic shampoo, and then applying a hydrocortisone product to relieve the itch.

Your veterinarian can perform allergy test on your dog, either skin tests or blood tests, to determine the exact cause of the problem.

There are also lots of products on the market that can help you treat the skin allergy symptoms that your dog may experience. There are different shampoos such as hypoallergenic or hydrocortisone forumlas. ‘Itch Stop’ sprays, lotions and salves that soothe and reduce inflammation. Hydrocortisone products that help speed healing.

Dietary supplements that improve skin condition and boost immunity, and some excellent dog foods that contain pure, natural ingredients to end food allergies and strengthen the digestive/immune system.

If your dog’s skin conditions are severe, or appear to be infected (they may look very red, swollen, hot or crusty/oozing), your veterinarian may prescribe corticosteroids, cortisone shots or allergy/antihistamine medications. An elimination diet can be followed to expose a food allergy and isolate the offending ingredient/s.

A food intolerance, as opposed to a true food allergy, may cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite or lethargy. These symptoms can also indicate one of several serious canine illnesses, so if your dog experiences any of these, seek veterinary attention for a diagnosis.

Occasionally, dogs may have an allergic reaction to a vaccination. Again, c

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