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Canine Allergies
March 15, 2024

Were you aware that up to one in five of our four-legged pals could grapple with allergies? Interestingly, this figure mirrors the prevalence of allergies in humans, affecting roughly one in four individuals. In the U.S. alone, this means about 100 million people are impacted. A local Urbana, MD veterinarian discusses the intricacies of canine allergies in this article.

What Is the Most Common Allergy in Dogs?

Skin issues often prevail as the most common concern among our furry friends. Frequently, these arise due to parasites like fleas. Additionally, dogs may encounter contact dermatitis, a form of skin allergy resulting from direct exposure to irritants. Food sensitivities also frequently affect our canine companions.

What Are the Signs of Allergies in Dogs?

Identifying your furry companion’s allergies isn’t always straightforward. The indications can significantly differ among dogs. It primarily hinges on the specific trigger and the intensity of the response exhibited by your beloved Fido.

Keep an eye out for these indicators:

  • Itchiness
  • Food Allergies
  • Swelling
  • Hair Loss
  • Licking Paws
  • Runny Eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Dander
  • Face Rubbing
  • Stubborn Ear Infections
  • Skin Problems: Redness, Flaking, Inflammation
  • Itchy Ears
  • Licking

Several symptoms could point to various health concerns beyond allergies. That’s why it’s crucial to take Fido to your local Urbana, MD veterinarian for an accurate assessment.

What Triggers Allergies in Dogs?

Dog allergies operate similarly to human allergies. Gradually, Fido’s immune system develops intolerance to a particular substance, often a type of protein. This could be insect, plant, animal, or food proteins.

Once your dog’s immune system becomes sensitized to a substance, it initiates an immune response, generating antibodies. This sets off a cascade of events, prompting the release of histamines. These histamines induce the reactions responsible for your pet’s discomfort, including itching and swelling.

It’s like the immune system becomes overly zealous in safeguarding against foreign invaders.

Here’s the nutshell version: diving into the nitty-gritty of allergens and immune system responses can get pretty complex. For more info, just chat with your vet.

What Sorts of Allergies Might Affect Dogs?

Dogs, much like humans, exhibit allergies that can be categorized into various groups and sorted in diverse manners. Segmenting canine allergies into these categories is crucial for veterinarians to precisely diagnose and manage a dog’s symptoms. Pinpointing triggering allergens enables pet owners to apply tailored strategies, like dietary adjustments, environmental changes, and appropriate medications, to enhance their dog’s well-being.

Allergies from the Environment

An environmental allergy, as its name implies, arises from exposure to elements in the surroundings. The potential triggers encompass a broad spectrum, ranging from pollen, dust, and mold to grass, leaves, cigarette smoke, and perfume.

Allergy Season

Essentially, seasonal allergies, also known as environmental allergies, flare up during specific times annually. The roster of triggers encompasses various tree pollen, plants, grasses, leaves, and flowers. Remember, your dog can gather pollen on their paws and belly while frolicking in the yard.

Allergies from Food

Among dogs, food allergies rank as one of the most prevalent allergy types. Occasionally, Fido may exhibit an allergic response to the food as a whole. Alternatively, it could be triggered by a specific ingredient, such as an additive or preservative. Some dogs develop allergies to particular meats like beef, chicken, or pork, while others react to corn or grains. Additionally, legumes and root vegetables may not sit well with Man’s Best Friend.

Allergies from Insects

Despite Fido’s fur, he isn’t always shielded from insect bites, as he can react to various bugs such as fleas, blackflies, deer flies, horseflies, mosquitoes, ants, wasps, bees, and hornets. Additionally, dogs might react to arachnids like spiders and ticks. Insect bites on dogs can cause itching, redness, swelling, and discomfort, potentially leading to hives, pain, or even severe allergic reactions.

Allergies from Contact

Contact allergies can arise from various substances, encompassing specific fabrics like those in your carpet or sofa, ingredients found in Fido’s dog shampoo, floor waxes, and mulch. Fido may even develop allergies to dander or even your cat. Contact allergies frequently cause localized skin irritation or inflammation precisely where the contact occurred.

Extreme Allergic Reactions

Anaphylactic Shock, the most perilous form of allergy response, poses potentially fatal results. Essentially, it is an extreme immune response, often triggered by bee stings, severe food allergies, or vaccine reactions. Fortunately, such reactions are uncommon, though they carry the risk of fatality.

What Are the Steps to Caring for a Dog with Allergies?

First things first, make sure to take Fido to the vet for a proper diagnosis, as mentioned earlier. That way, you can get your furry buddy started on the right track.

However, there are a few things that can be done at home to help! Regular vacuuming and dusting are essential tasks to eliminate dust, fur, dander, pollen, and other irritants from carpets and furniture, offering relief at home. Consistently changing air filters also contributes significantly to improving indoor air quality. Additionally, washing your pet’s bedding frequently, following label instructions, using hot water and unscented detergent, and tumble drying are recommended steps for cleanliness and comfort.

When decorating, it’s essential to keep allergies in mind. Opt for an allergy-friendly covering like leather when selecting a new sofa. To add comfort, consider using washable throw covers. Additionally, choose window treatments that don’t accumulate dust to create a more allergen-friendly environment.

Consider monitoring pollen counts as another step. When levels spike, reduce your pet’s outdoor exposure. Wiping your dog’s paws and belly before bringing them indoors can also be beneficial in mitigating allergen exposure.

Lastly, make sure to stay on top of Fido’s grooming and parasite control requirements. Consult your vet for further details should you have any lingering concerns.

What to Do if My Dog Has Food Allergies?

Food allergies pose a challenge, requiring identification of the specific trigger. This process may consume quite a bit of time. Your veterinarian might suggest transitioning Fido to a bland diet until symptoms subside. Once symptoms alleviate, your vet will likely advise you to gradually reintroduce items individually to determine the culprit.

What Are the Treatments for Allergies?

You can’t cure allergies, but you can definitely help your furry buddy feel better. Start by booking a vet appointment to figure out what’s triggering your pup’s reaction. After that, you and your vet can chat about treatment options tailored to your pet’s needs.

Among the treatment options are medications. These encompass anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids or antihistamines, fatty acid supplements, and topical medications. Desensitization may also be effective for Fido. Occasionally, changing shampoos can suffice. If your furry companion has food allergies, your vet might suggest a specialized diet.

At What Point Do Dogs Develop Allergies?

Allergic reactions in Fido can arise from numerous triggers, occurring at any point in his life. However, it’s relatively rare for dogs to develop allergies before reaching six months of age. Typically, pups are at least a year or two old when allergies manifest. This delay occurs because Fido’s immune system requires time to identify and react negatively to specific substances.

Today, if you think your pup might be dealing with allergies, give us a shout at the Village Vet of Urbana in Urbana, MD. We’re here to help!