It’s springtime and you know what that means – it’s allergy season. While you may think you’re the only one who has to deal with them, your dog is definitely not immune. Dogs can suffer from allergies the same way humans can – from the causes to the symptoms. If your pup is suffering from allergies, here’s how to help them.
What causes allergies?
Allergies are caused by an overactive immune system. When the body mistakes a non-harmful substance (an allergen) as a threat, an allergic reaction will occur. For example, if your dog comes in contact with pollen or dust and their immune system perceives it as a threat, an allergic reaction will happen.
Common allergens include fleas, dust mites, molds, and pollens from trees, weeds, grasses, or flowers.
Dogs can also be allergic to certain types of food like chicken, beef, fish, and soy.
Signs of allergies
The most common sign of an allergy is constant itching or chewing. Dogs will obsessively lick or chew their skin or scratch the area with their feet. The most common affected areas are the ears, face, belly, feet and underarm region.
Dogs may have swelling in the infected area as well.
If you suspect your dog has allergies, the first thing to do is contact your veterinarian. What may start out as a simple itch could turn into constant scratching and quickly lead to an infection.
It’s important to note that environmental allergies (also known as atopy) cannot be cured. But, they can be managed. There are several different treatment options for dogs with environmental allergies. Corticosteroids (like prednisone or triamcinolone) are the most effective form of treatment. Injectable corticosteroids are long-lasting and should not be used long-term, though.
Antihistamines are also used to help treat allergies, but they are not as effective as corticosteroids. Antihistamines – like Benadryl – only help with the itching and is often used in combination with corticosteroids.
Cyclosporine is an effective allergy treatment, too, but it could cause stomach problems and is more expensive than other treatment options.
Allergy vaccines may also be used. They can help reduce the symptoms of allergies over time. And finally, shampoos, conditioners, and rinses are also recommended as part of therapy.
We never want to see our furry companions suffering. And while allergies can be annoying and cause constant itching, they are manageable and can be treated. Just remember – as soon as you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately!
And if you’re in need of a springtime dog walker or pet sitter, make sure to check out For Your Spot. We offer everything from dog walking to cat sitting to vacation pet sitting. To learn more about our services, click here.