Unfortunately, just like their owners, dogs can develop skin conditions and allergies. The most common causes of allergies in dogs are food, dust mites and fleas. Following are the typical symptoms to be looking out for, and what you can do about it.
Dog Allergy Symptoms
Dog allergy symptoms aren't too different from the symptoms people suffer when they have an allergy. The most common symptoms are:
- Irritated skin which causes your dog to scratch intensely
- Hot spots or sores on the skin
- Runny eyes
- Nasal Discharge
- Breathing Problems
- Hair loss caused by scratching
Should your dog develop any of these symptoms, it's a good idea to have him checked out by a vet to rule out an allergy.
Like people, dogs can have an allergy to food ingredients. It can be really hard to identify the specific ingredient that is causing your dog discomfort. Here are some tips for identifying and dealing with a food allergy:
- Grain is often used as a filler ingredient in cheaper dog foods. It's also a common source of allergy. Check your dog's food packaging to see if grain is ingredient. If so, try switching to a food without grain.
- Some dogs are sensitive to artificial coloring or preservatives used in commercial dog food. A higher quality food with no artificial colors or preservatives may alleviate your dog's symptoms.
- Pay close attention if you change your dog's diet, even noting the ingredients of each food so that you may be able to see if there is a common ingredient that could be causing the reaction.
- Switching to a raw food diet may be the best option for a dog with severe food allergies. A raw diet consists of real meat and vegetables and may be healthier for your dog than store-bought food.
Dust Mites and Fleas
Two more common causes of allergies in dogs are dust mites and/or flea bites. Controlling your dog's environment is essential to avoid a pest infestation. Left untreated, either type of allergy can lead to skin rashes resulting in infections. Fleas are also able to pass tapeworm on to dogs, so it's important to treat flea problems immediately. Here are some tips for preventing mite and flea allergy problems:
- Wash your pet's bedding regularly and keep his environment clean
- If your dog spends most of his time outside, clean his kennel and bedding area regularly
- Check your pet often for any sign of fleas. You should treat him with a flea control product at the very first sign of fleas.
Treatment for Dog Allergies
If you think your dog may have allergies, your first course of action should be to contact your veterinarian. He will be able to help you identify the source of the problem and make recommendations for treatment. Possible treatment options include prescription and over the counter salves and ointments, and oral prescription medications for more severe cases.
Like humans, dogs can suffer miserably if they are affected by allergies. There are several ways to treat allergies in dogs, and your vet will help you make the best choice for you and your dog.
For a more detailed look at dog allergies, see the article: Allergies In Dogs - Common Allergies and Treatment Options