While it's common knowledge that human beings experience allergy symptoms such as sneezing and coughing when exposed to substances such as pollen and dust, a lesser known fact is that dogs can also be sensitive to allergens and often exhibit the same symptoms. If your pooch seems under the weather during certain seasons or tends to scratch more after rolling around in the grass or enjoying the outdoors, chances are you've got a canine with allergies on your hands. Knowing the signs of allergies in dogs can help you pinpoint the cause of your furry friend's distress and move forward with the proper treatment.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Depending on the underlying triggers, signs and symptoms of allergies in dogs can include sneezing, sniffling, excessive scratching of the skin or ears, inflamed skin, and snoring due to throat inflammation. If your pet ingests an allergen or substance they are sensitive to, they may also experience digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. While all dog breeds can experience allergy symptoms, reactions tend to be most common in Bulldogs, Terriers, Setters, and Pugs.
Causes of Allergies in Dogs
Similar to humans, allergies in dogs are often triggered by pollens from trees and weeds, mold spores, dust, and dander from other animals. Certain food ingredients such as soy or wheat can cause both respiratory symptoms and intestinal distress, while exposure to chemicals in shampoos and cleaning products can cause skin irritation. While a common belief is that flea bites cause itching and skin irritation in dogs, the reality is that your dog may actually be sensitive to the flea's saliva, leading to flea allergy dermatitis, also referred to as FAD. Alternatively, your dog may also react to the chemicals in flea-control treatment products.
Treatments and Home Remedies
In many cases, canine allergies can be treated with medications, home remedies, and lifestyle changes. However, if your dog is experiencing severe symptoms such as breathing difficulties, lethargy, or intestinal symptoms lasting longer than 24 hours, it is important to visit the nearest animal hospital as soon as possible.
To treat your dog's allergies, the first step is to schedule a vet exam to determine what is causing their uncomfortable symptoms. Your vet may perform skin tests or suggest dietary changes to learn more about which foods may be causing symptoms. Once an underlying cause is detected, your vet may prescribe allergy injections to help your dog build up a resistance to external triggers or suggest an over-the-counter antihistamine to ease symptoms such as sneezing and itchy skin.
Taking steps to lower the level of allergens inside the home may also help in treating your pet's symptoms. Preventative measures can include weekly baths with a prescription shampoo, changing and washing your dog's bedding on a regular basis, and reducing dust with regular vacuuming.
Happy, Healthy, and Free From Uncomfortable Symptoms
While there is no way to eliminate natural outdoor substances or avoid exposure to irritants altogether, recognizing your dog's symptoms and taking prompt action can often help to nip the problem in the bud before allergies become severe. For more information, contact local professionals like Metzger Animal Hospital.