Many dogs experience allergic reactions to different things. Although allergic reactions can be serious, your vet will be able to help you find ways to manage your dog’s allergy. This article looks at the main symptoms and causes of allergies in dogs – as well as some of the different treatment options open to you.
Any dog can become infested with fleas, but not all dogs experience an allergic reaction to flea bites. Flea-allergic dogs experience a severe, itching reaction when the flea's saliva comes in contact with their skin.
This can result in hair loss and open sores or scabs on the skin, usually on the back at the base of the tail. You may also notice skin lesions on other parts of their body. These wounds can lead to a bacterial infection.
A flea allergy is more serious than a dog with fleas, and it cannot be solved by trimming your dog's fur or keeping them indoors. If you suspect a flea allergy, consult your vet for advice on the best course of treatment.
Your vet might recommend a specialist diet that is formulated to help manage allergic skin reactions, such as PURINA® PRO PLAN® VETERINARY DIETS® Canine DRM Dermatosis.
There are any number of things that can cause contact allergies in dogs – including flea collars, road salt, wool or plants. In fact, identifying the source can often take quite a bit of detective work!
The signs of a contact allergy are intense itching, rashes or bumps on the skin. These will appear on whichever part of the body comes in contact with the allergen. The body parts most commonly affected are the chin, chest, stomach and tail.
To deal with a contact allergy, one option is to prevent contact with the known irritant. Your vet will also be able to advise on other treatment possibilities, including switching to a specially formulated diet such as PURINA® PRO PLAN® VETERINARY DIETS® Canine DRM Dermatosis.
Like humans, dogs can be allergic to trees, grass and weed pollens as well as mildew, mould and house dust mites. In fact, dogs with an inhalant allergy tend to be allergic to several substances. Inhalant allergies can begin at any age, but most start from the age of one to four years old.
The main symptom associated with an inhalant allergy is severe itching and scratching, especially on the face and the ears. However, there are many other reasons for your dog itching or scratching more than usual, so it’s a good idea to seek your vet’s opinion.
Your vet will be able to advise on the best way to manage the allergy. This could involve switching to a specially formulated diet. Also, as some allergens are absorbed through the skin, frequent bathing with hypoallergenic shampoo can help reduce the effects of certain allergies.
Dogs can often develop allergies to foods they have enjoyed many times before without problems. The most common reason is a response to a particular protein in the food, such as beef or pork.
The signs of food allergies include itching, digestive disorders and breathing difficulties. If you see these symptoms, consult your vet.
Your vet will guide you through the process for correctly identifying the problem ingredient. The first step is to switch to a special hypoallergenic diet – such as PURINA® PRO PLAN® VETERINARY DIETS® Canine HA Hypoallergenic – usually for around 8-10 weeks.
A hypoallergenic diet is scientifically formulated to minimise the risk of allergic reactions. After your dog is used to the new diet, different ingredients can be gradually reintroduced until you find the cause of the allergic reaction.
Once this is identified, your vet can advise on the best diet to manage the allergy – and help keep your dog healthy and happy in the long term.