Dog Allergies – the Facts

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Dog Allergies – the Facts

Dog allergies are not to be taken lightly. No, they are not a fatal canine disease, but they compromise the dog?s quality of life and when left untreated, may lead to various secondary infections.

Dog Allergies – the Facts


Dog AllergiesWhat do we need to know about dog allergies? There are three main causes of allergies in dogs (although in some cases dogs get an allergic reaction over another entirely different cause) namely, flea allergy dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and dog food allergies.

Flea allergy dermatitis is said to be the most common one of the three, occurring about 20% of the time. Contrary to popular opinion, this condition is not the result of a battalion of fleas attacking the dog. It can take only one flea bite to trigger it because the dog is not allergic to the flea itself, but to its saliva.

The flea bites the dog and releases saliva to keep the blood from clotting. Flea bites leave little red blotches on the skin, but the dog will start itching like crazy, even biting himself to relieve himself of the itching. The areas infected, usually the tail, head and tummy, will likely show wounds and scars because of this self mutilation.

Finding out if your dog has fleas is pretty easy, a simple run through the fur with the flea comb will tell you if your dog has become home and residence to these infinitesimal parasites. Even though you remove every flea in the dog, he may still itch for around a week because the saliva has already been deposited in his system. Use a preventative flea medication monthly to keep this from happening to your pet.

Dog Allergies – Atopic Dermatitis Dog Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is another common reason for dog allergies. It is caused by the dog?s hypersensitivity to airborne particles the dog came in contact with or accidentally inhaled. Common examples of allergens for this condition are house dust mites, mold, pollen, weeds, fabric, etc.

Dogs susceptible to atopic dermatitis will show signs the first two years of his life. He will be seen often scratching and gnawing at his paws, butt and face (hopefully not in that order). Because of constant scratching, he may develop several skin and ear infections. If your dog has light colored fur, some areas of his body will show stains where he often bites because of the itch.

Atopic dermatitis seems to be more prevalent during the late summer and fall months. If this is the case, keep your dog indoors as much as you are able. If he does go outside, wipe him down with a damp cloth when he comes back home to remove dirt and other pollen particles that may trigger allergic reaction. Launder and vacuum upholstery, carpets, curtains, beddings and rugs that collect dust. If it is possible, invest in an air cleaner to improve the quality of air in your house.

Dog Allergies to Food  Dog Allergies - Natural Dog Recipes

Food allergies are not as common as the aforementioned dog allergies, but it is not seasonal so you have to be careful when it comes to your dog?s diet. In many instances, a sensitive dog will acquire new allergies over a course of time. It is a good idea to create at least two diets that he can tolerate, and rotate it every three months throughout the year.

Symptoms of dog food allergies are extreme itchiness, hair loss, sneezing and watery eyes. You will know if the dog has a food allergy if you put him on a hypoallergenic diet and he improves after a week or two. Usually a protein is the culprit of food allergy. When you find out what it is, remove it from your dog?s diet and replace it with another appropriate ingredient.

Other Types of Dog Allergies

Other possible reasons why your dog has allergies is a hypersensitivity to some medicine, other animals and insects. While it is better to keep your dog from coming in contact with these allergens, many times we don?t know that they are allergic to it and when we find out, it?s too late and they are already itching like crazy. You can use Benadryl to provide relief from the effects of the allergies. In more severe cases, you can use an antihistamine to help reduce the itchiness in your dog.

Remember, you should never prescribe a medication or treatment for your dog without consulting the vet. It is critical that you don?t misdiagnose your dog because doing so will lead to more serious health complications. Keep in mind that the symptoms for allergies can actually mean something else. For instance, a deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids may cause skin dryness and result in the dog scratching himself often. Antihistamines and allergy medications will NOT be helpful and in many cases, be more detrimental to your dog?s condition.

Go to these links and find out more about dog allergies and how you can prevent them today.

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18 thoughts on “Dog Allergies – the Facts

  1. Thomas

    I feel sorry for dog owners who neglect or cannot afford to pay for medication to prevent heart worms. If you love your pooch, it is your responsibility to provide the basic health care for your pet. And heart worm medication is essentially a necessity because it can shorten the life span of your dog. In the United States, heartworm disease is most common along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from the Gulf of Mexico to New Jersey.

  2. Nadine

    We moved to the Gulf Coast after living in Colorado for many years. Our dog Elly had never been on heartworm meds as we lived at a higher altitude. We had now arrived in “mosquito country” so we knew we would need to get her on something right away. We did lots of research and this is what we found. There is no known proven natural alternative medications on the market similar to products like Interceptor and Heartguard.

  3. Henry

    Do pet allergies have you wheezing and sneezing — again? Well, there are over 132 million good reasons for that. That’s the number of cats and dogs living in U.S. homes as of 2002, says the American Veterinary Medical Association. And while these four-legged friends are by far the most common companion animals in America, they aren’t the only creatures behind the exasperating symptoms of pet allergies. But we love them. So thanks for this info.

  4. Katharine

    The symptoms that you describe for these particular allergies are very similar to what my dog is going through but he is a combination of all of these. I have been giving him Benadryl for quite some time now and I don’t think it is helping, sometimes he itches so bad that he just lays there and whines. I feel sorry for him but I have tried everything.

  5. Frank

    This was very helpful information, my dog has some kind of allergy but I don’t think by the symptoms that you describe here that it is any of these. I am going to have to research this further and see if I can figure out what it is because it is driving him crazy and in turn he is driving us crazy with the itching and whining etc.

  6. Larry

    I feel so sorry for my dog and the symptoms that you describe for these particular allergies are very similar to what my dog is going through but he is a combination of all of these. I tried oatmeal baths, Epsom salt baths, sea salt baths, medicated dog shampoo, brewer’s yeast, changing his food so there is no grain in it and allergies pills not to mention sprays and lotions to no avail.

  7. William

    I know I need to just take my little dog to the vet but they are so expensive I prefer to try and figure out what is bothering him on my own. You have a great article here and I hope that you will continue to expand it into other things that could affect your dog. This has been a good place to learn about dogs and how to treat them.

  8. James

    I have done everything I can possibly think of to comfort my dog with what I believe to be an allergy to something. He scratches all the time unless he is asleep or eating and when he does he holds his breath and then when he stops he coughs like crazy from holding his breath. I bathe him in different stuff that is supposed to help, I’ve changed his bedding and his food, what next?

  9. Tracey

    When your dog coughs and it sounds like there is something in his chest or throat, like we sound when we have a cold sometimes, what could that be? I have tried giving him Mucinex for children, I have tried an antibiotic from the vet, even Vick’s vapor rub but nothing seems to work. He has been doing this for about a year now, how can I get it to stop?

  10. Penny

    I never realized how common allergies can be until my friends two small toy dogs started getting a sort of skin fungus which I think is a result of their having an allergic reaction. It is so easy for dogs to pick up an allergy from the outside. Another thing is we need to be more vigilant about protecting our pets from allergies through proper nutrition and medical care. Allergies can be so uncomfortable for dogs.

  11. Michael

    I can not seem to find what it is that my dog is allergic to. I have tried changing his food, his bedding etc. and nothing has helped his itching problem. I have even done a round of antibiotics and allergy pills but nothing changes. Is this something that the vet can help me with or are they going to do the same thing I did and charge me for it?

  12. Peter

    I can not seem to find what it is that my dog is allergic to. I have tried changing his food, his bedding etc. and nothing has helped his itching problem. I have even done a round of antibiotics and allergy pills but nothing changes. Is this something that the vet can help me with or are they going to do the same thing I did and charge me for it?

  13. Sherri

    Countless animal shelters and veterinarians have taken in pets as a result of the owner’s dog allergies. This is unfortunate for the pets, as many of them are euthanized regardless of how sweet or loving they may be. Studies I’ve read show that one in four allergy sufferers decline to give up their companions despite allergic reactions. These devoted dog owners likely follow a few easy steps to minimize dog allergies and avoid surrendering their animal to an uncertain fate.

  14. David

    Few things in life are as difficult as having a sick pet. If your dog is itching, scratching, losing hair, or losing his/her dinner on a regular basis, you know exactly what I mean. My Dog Has Allergies, the kind that has been causing her to naw at her paw. Most importantly, you should know that you’re not alone, and that many dog owners just like you have been able to help their pet live a long life.

  15. Frederick

    Like all allergic reactions, I read that pet allergies are the result of an immune system reaction to a harmless substance; in this case, the reaction is to the proteins in pets’ dander (dead skin flakes) and possibly saliva and urine (it depends on the breed). Unlike other airborne allergens that come from unwanted creatures, pet allergens come from a cute and cuddly animal, a four-legged or feathered friend whom we adore and who adores us.

  16. Russell

    I feel so sorry for dogs that have allergies because there is nothing they can do about it and they can’t tell you what is bothering them like a person can. I have tried everything I can think of to relieve my little dog of his itching and nothing works. If there is anyone out there that has used something that works please reply to this comment.

  17. Henry

    I am not sure if my dog has an allergy or not or if he is just old but he has bouts of scratching and coughing that will go on for hours, then he goes to sleep and doesn’t do it again until he wakes up and it is a vicious circle. But what concerns me is that he does it for so long. How often should you bathe your dog?

  18. Cheryl

    I was told that if you give your dog a bath to often it will dry out his skin and make him itch all the time or the shampoo could aggravate him if it doesn’t get completely rinsed off so I do my best to do that and only give him a bath once a month or so, should I give him bathes more than that and maybe it would help?

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