As some of us are undoubtedly aware, allergy season is back! The runny noses, the itchy skin, the watery eyes…we’re sick of it already. So are our pets. Many dogs spend a lot of their time outdoors, where allergens such as pollen are plentiful; indoor dogs can develop unpleasant environmental reactions due to unkempt surroundings. Some allergies are a year-round problem. Others have nothing to do with the change of seasons. But all of them, regardless of cause, have the potential to make life as a dog very miserable.
So, how can you tell if your pooch is allergic? And if they do, what is the cause and what can you do to make their lives easier? An important first step is to learn a little more about dog allergies. Read on to learn more.
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What Kind of Dog Allergies are There?
Canine allergies are generally split into two separate categories: seasonal and dog food.
As with humans, seasonal allergies tend to be most common when the weather is warm. These allergies can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including:
- Dust mites
- Flea bites
Dog food allergies:
This one is self-explanatory, but what you might not know is that it can take years for a dog to develop an allergy to certain foods. There might be something in commercial dog food that bothers them, but symptoms might not become noticeable for a long while. Dogs can also experience allergic reactions to food from the table—another reason why you should be cautious before sharing with your pets, no matter how much they beg.
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What are the Symptoms of Dog Allergies?
- Excessive scratching
- Excessive licking
- Itchy or reddened skin
- Runny eyes
- Itching around the base of the tail (this is a common sign of flea allergies)
- Lesions around the feet
Symptoms of food allergies
- Excessive scratching
- Lesions around the mid to lower body—specifically the flanks, hips, ribs, and knees
- Recurring ear infections
- Hair loss
What are Treatment Options for Dog Allergies?
First off, always consult your veterinarian before beginning treatment. (For all you know, your dog could be sick with something else entirely!) If food allergies are suspected, the vet might recommend a new brand of dog food and/or ending the practice of feeding your dog scraps from the table.
If the vet suspects a seasonal allergy is the cause, there are a number of treatment options. This includes antihistamines, steroids, and antibiotics. Other solutions include better maintenance of your pet’s environment, such as: keeping the lawn trimmed to deter pets, washing and dusting your dog’s bed on a regular basis.