Allergies in dogs are very frustrating for dog owners because you can only manage allergies, but can not cure. Dogs do not react to allergens by sneezing, by having a runny nose or by having sinus symptoms such as humans do.
The most common symptoms with allergies in dogs are skin rash with the inevitable chronic scratching. Fur loss is sometimes noticeable. In addition to scratching, some dogs will lick their skin while others may bite, chew or gnaw at their skin in order to relieve the discomfort. Some dogs may also be prone to ear symptoms.
Allergies in dogs can develop at any time. Patience and vigilance will go a long way in dealing with allergies in dogs.
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Allergenic reactions are caused by reaction of the immune system problem with the dog’s skin reacting to the sensitivity stimulus with topical irritation and discomfort. Unfortunately, if this condition is left untreated, the dog’s skin and possibly the ears may become infected. If this occurs, anti-bacterial treatment will be required.
Determining exactly what substance or substances are triggering allergies in dogs can sometime be easy but at other times it can be a long and drawn-out process. One or more of many substances can be allergens. In some cases it may prove impossible to discover the exact cause.
There are four main categories of allergies in dogs
Contact Allergies are associated with items that can touch your dog. These may include the dog collar, flea collar, bedding, or topical ointments. Remove the item and you remove the problem.
Inhalant Allergies also called atopy, they can include dust mites, pollen, mildew and mold. The usual symptom with inhalant allergies is the licking or chewing of the paws, the legs in the armpit area, or around the groin.
Chronic ear infections are commonly seen with inhalant allergies and are symptomatic with the dog shaking or rubbing its head. Ear infections can be serious and will need antibiotics.
Parasites can be a special problem especially in humid climates, but they are present in all areas during warm months. Dogs are commonly allergic to the saliva deposited by fleas, although many people do not consider this to be a cause of allergies in dogs.
This isn’t the case. Nevertheless, it is easily treated with a flea product. At times flea bites can become infected and may need a topical antibiotic.
Food Allergies can be problematic. Sometimes a simple change in dog food can do miracles in eliminating the symptoms, while at other times this is ineffective. Common allergens include beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish, milk, eggs, whey, corn, soy, rice, wheat, and food preservatives.
It is a mistaken belief that lamb and rice are always safe. While not used as frequently in dog food, lamb and rice can become allergens as well as most other common foods. There are several techniques that can be used in searching for an allergen. Discuss these with your veterinarian.