Dog allergies are probably as common as allergies in humans. Allergic reactions in dogs usually produce the same range of symptoms, too. The most common reaction in a dog is itchy skin that will lead him to scratch constantly. However, they may have respiratory reactions such as coughing or sneezing, or digestive symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.
An allergy is simply a hypersensitive reaction to a substance that is usually considered harmless. It happens when something that most animals would not have a problem with, triggers an immune system response in a particular dog. Sometimes a pet can become allergic to something that never gave him a problem in the past. Often this is because he has been over exposed to it for a while. This happens in humans too.
The following are the main things that can cause dog allergies and how to deal with them to avoid having your pet suffer.
1. Flea allergies
While of course fleas always cause discomfort and scratching, sometimes a dog will develop an allergy to the saliva of the flea. This makes the bites intensely itchy and can cause the dog to start chewing his skin.
The remedy for this is to get rid of the fleas and protect your dog from these parasites in the future. It is not possible to stop your pet from encountering fleas because they can be found in all the places he likes to go when you take him walking, as well as when he meets other dogs. So do not wait for the fleas to become a problem, but treat him every couple months whether he seems to be scratching or not.
2. Food allergies
Dog food allergies are very common, especially as a result of built up intolerance to ingredients used in most dog foods including dairy products, soy, corn or even beef or chicken. You will need to change the dog’s regular food. You may need to try several different brands until you identify one that does not cause a problem. The allergy may disappear after around 6 months and at that point you can rotate foods every few months to prevent another intolerance from building up.
3. Contact allergies
Just like many children, dogs can become allergic to household products that come in contact with their skin. This could be the detergent that is used to wash their bedding, a spray that you use in the house, something they come into contact with in the yard, or plants that you have in the house or garden.
The symptoms of contact dog allergies are often a lot like eczema in humans. The dog will usually develop dry, red, itchy patches of skin. The skin may form blisters or become cracked.
If you can identify what is causing the problem, you may be able to remove the irritant from the dog’s life. If not, your pet can be treated for contact dog allergies with oral steroids or shampoos prescribed by your vet.