Allergies in Dogs:
Why do dogs have allergies?
Allergies are when a dog’s immune system is reacting to something in the environment or something ingested. This immune response is harmful to the body and can be extremely irritating to the dog. Put simply, allergies are an unnecessary reaction of the immune system.
What do allergies look like in dogs?
Although dogs can have respiratory issues from allergies such as allergic bronchitis, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing, more commonly they experience pruritus (itchy skin). That leads to scabs, hair loss, redness, etc that the owner notices. If you see a dog scratching, having redness, coughing, or sneezing, those are all signs of an allergic reaction.
Food allergy: Allergy to something ingested
Flea allergy: Allergy to the saliva of fleas
Atopy or contact allergy: Allergy to salt, pollen, etc; Something in the environment
Are allergies something my dog was born with?
Allergies to the environment (dust, pollen, etc) can be inherited.
What types of things cause food allergies? How do I tell if my dog is sensitive?
The most common food allergies are: chicken, beef, and occasionally grains. Most dogs will react to protein in their diet, and that reaction manifests in inflammation or infection in the ears, itchy skin, and inflamed/full anal glands.
To tell if your dog has an allergy, you need to feed a prescription diet from your veterinarian for 8-12 weeks. During this time, it is mandatory that your dog has no food other than the prescription food because the goal is to allow his or her gastrointestinal system to clear any allergens that are present and seeing how his or her body responds. Is there less scratching, fewer ear infections, less anal gland inflammation? That information will help the veterinarian determine if your pet is responding well or not.
What is a flea allergy?
Flea allergies are when a dog reacts to the saliva of the flea that bites it. Fleas normally cause itchiness, hair loss, scabs, and redness. If you see this on your dog, spread the hair at the top of the tail and look on its stomach to check for any fleas. A flea allergy is caused by the dog reacting to the saliva of the fleas. It takes three months for owners to see a reduction in the number of fleas if the flea prevention is reliable. So, make sure to get all flea prevention from your veterinarian as well as other medications to be able to help your dog be not as itchy and heal the lesions from the flea bites.
Atopy is an allergy to the environment: pollens, dust, other animals. These cases can be the hardest to control. Seasons, environments, and lifestyle changes all come into play and cause issues for these dogs. The best thing to do with these patients is to come in for an appointment. We have a number of different medicines and therapies that will help treat and cure these allergies. Heska allergy therapy identifies what allergens your dog is reacting to. Then, with immunotherapy, they work to decrease your dog’s reactions to those allergens. We highly recommend this because it actually works to reduce the allergy symptoms through healing your pet. This works in about 80% of cases. Allergies can worsen with age and exposure. So, healing your pet of his or her allergies saves your pet from a lifelong struggle with allergens.