Just like humans, dogs can suffer from a variety of allergies. From skin allergies to food allergies, your dog may experience some type of allergy in its lifetime. Three of the most common allergies dogs suffer from are food allergies, skin allergies, and environmental allergens.
Food Allergies in Dogs
Food allergies are not as common as you may think. A true food allergy causes an immune response in your dog, with symptoms such as:
- Skin conditions- Hives, itchiness, and facial swelling.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms- Vomiting and diarrhea.
- Combination of both skin and gastrointestinal symptoms.
In severe cases, anaphylaxis can occur.
What most people mean when they say their dog has a food allergy is that they have a food sensitivity or food intolerance. A food sensitivity will not elicit an immune response but rather a gradual reaction to an offending food ingredient in their daily meals. Common food intolerances include:
Food sensitivities can cause reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea, itchiness, chronic foot or ear infections, etc. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity, be sure to discuss their symptoms with your veterinarian.
Skin Allergies in Dogs
Skin allergies are one the most common allergic reactions in dogs. Also called allergic dermatitis, skin allergies are often caused by food allergies, environmental allergens, and flea allergy dermatitis. Flea dermatitis is caused by an allergic reaction to flea bites due to an allergic reaction to the flea’s saliva. Symptoms of this condition include:
- Extreme itching, especially near the base of the tail
- Red, inflamed, scabbed skin.
- Fleas/flea dirt
You will also notice itchy skin with food allergies. Dogs will typically itch their paws or ears and may experience gastrointestinal symptoms with a food allergy. When it comes to environmental allergens such as mold, pollen, or dust, your dog may suffer from an atopic allergic reaction or dermatitis. Typically, these are seasonal allergic reactions where you may notice your dog itching their paws, ears, ankles, muzzle, underarms, around the eyes, etc.
The biggest risk of skin allergies is a secondary infection due to scratching. Your dog may scratch open their skin, bite or lick it, putting themselves at risk for bacterial or yeast infections.
Acute Allergic Reactions in Dogs
Much like humans, dogs can go into anaphylactic shock caused by a severe reaction to a certain allergen. This type of allergic reaction is very serious and can be fatal if not treated. Anaphylactic shock can be caused by things such as vaccines, medications, or bee stings. When your dog receives a new medication, food, or vaccine, be sure to keep a close eye on them. Look for symptoms such as:
- Facial swelling
- Swelling of the throat, lips, eyelids, or ear flaps.
These symptoms can often be treated with an antihistamine from your veterinarian. Anaphylactic reactions rarely occur in dogs, but it is always better to keep a watchful eye when trying new food, medication, or vaccine.
How Are Allergies Treated in Dogs?
Your veterinarian will recommend that you avoid the cause and allergen that is causing your dog to react. Treatment will depend on the type of allergy your dog suffers from. If it is a food allergy or sensitivity, you will need to change their diet, whereas if it is a flea allergy, your dog will need to be treated for fleas.
In addition to changing their diet or lifestyle, you may also need to administer them an allergy relief medication that will help control symptoms such as itchiness.
If your dog suffers from a severe allergic reaction, be sure to immediately take them to an emergency veterinarian for treatment.
To learn more about allergies in dogs or to make an appointment, contact the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro today!