Living with allergies is hard enough as a human, and we can Google home remedies or visit our GP for help. But when your dog has allergies they rely on us to spot their symptoms – so here’s how!
Firstly, let’s just cover the science-y bit… your dog has an allergy when their immune system overreacts to a particular substance called an allergen. Allergens can be found in food, in plants, insects, other animals or the environment, and when your dog becomes affected they will display a range of signs and symptoms; These can include wheezing, sneezing, red and inflamed skin, gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea, weight loss and lack of energy (amongst others). Poor pooches!
The good news is, with your help, your furry friend can feel better and be relieved of some of these symptoms. And for severe reactions, as with everything, visit your local vet for expert advice and treatment. Let’s take a look at some of the most common allergies:
Food allergies (or intolerances and sensitivities). Your dog can become allergic to certain foods, usually those which contain specific proteins found in dairy, meat, eggs, soy or wheat gluten. If you notice your dog displaying any of the symptoms listed above, then you might want to try a hypoallergenic diet for 8 – 12 weeks. There are hypoallergenic dog foods available, which don’t contain potential allergens and you can use this for an elimination food trial. Don’t feed any other food, treats or supplements during this period. Then simply re-introduce foods one by one and record whether your dog starts to display signs of discomfort again. This will give you a great idea of which food is causing your pup’s allergy flare ups.
Another pesky problem for some dogs are environmental allergens such as dust/pollen/mould that may flare up seasonally. These can typically present themselves through itchy and inflamed skin, which your dog may bite and scratch at until they break the skin. Lesions like this can become infected – double trouble – so watch out for excessive licking, gnawing and scratching. There are medicated shampoos on the market that can be useful in these cases, but again, if symptoms are severe then book an appointment with your vet and take their expert advice.
Fleas can be more of a problem to some dogs than others, and if yours is allergic to fleas (or more accurately, flea saliva) then bites can cause more than mild irritation. Keep up to date with your dog’s flea treatment to minimise the chances of a poorly pup.
Once you’re clued up about the signs of doggy allergies, you’ll be quick to spot any discomfort in your pup, and can take action to alleviate their symptoms. Here’s to happy, healthy dogs!