Similar to their human companions, our canine friends can suffer with allergies to items in their surroundings. Allergies in dogs happen when their immune system overreacts to (otherwise harmless) particles in the air and can affect various parts of their body.
Whilst some dog allergies are quite common, there are a handful of allergic reactions that could be harmful to your pet if left untreated, so it’s best to seek the advice of your vet as soon as possible.
In this guide, we’ve shared some simple ways to soothe your dog’s allergies whilst waiting for an appointment with your vet, along with how to spot the signs of a possible allergic reaction:
Signs of an allergic reaction in dogs
Considering our dogs aren’t able to communicate verbally to let us know when they’re in pain, there are few things that you may notice on their body that could lead you to believe that they’re suffering with an allergic reaction.
The most common symptoms include:
- Skin irritation, often displayed with a rash and constant itching
- Bowel issues, such as visiting the toilet more frequently
- Hair loss and/or balding
- Swollen paws
- Coughing or sneezing
Most common dog allergies
There are various forms of allergic reactions in dogs and each type of allergy will have a different form of treatment. This is because the symptoms of each reaction may be different depending on what their body is reacting to.
The most common dog allergy happens when your pet is allergic to something in their environment.
Similar to hay fever in humans, dogs can be allergic to pollen, grass seeds and other chemicals that they’re exposed to within their environment. Household factors such as wool or cotton can also spur an allergic reaction, along with mould and dust mites.
Allergies in dogs can also come as a result of the food they’re eating. As surprising as it may sound, dogs can develop an allergy to their food over a period of time if they’ve been having it for too long, which is why determining exactly which ingredient is causing the reaction can be difficult.
Referred to as FAD, flea allergy dermatitis spurs a reaction when your dog is allergic to the saliva of a flea. This is a common allergy for many dogs and may be the explanation behind the symptoms of itching, scratching and a rash.
Treating an allergic reaction
If you suspect that your dog is suffering with an allergic reaction, you should consult the advice of a vet as soon as possible. However, the following steps can be taken if you’re unable to get an urgent appointment:
If you suspect that your dog is allergic to something within their environment, regularly bathe your dog using hypoallergenic shampoo. This will help to remove any chemicals from the surface of their body and calm irritated skin.
Whilst finding the exact type of food that your dog is allergic to can be difficult if they’ve suddenly developed a reaction to their normal food, experimenting with different meals can help you to rule out ingredients that they don’t have an allergy to.
You might also want to consider feeding your dog different types of the same ingredient to see if this has any effect on their allergy, such as secretly including the suspected ingredient in one of their treats.
Flea allergies are often the easiest of allergic reactions to treat – and prevent – in dogs. This is because fleas can be removed by applying regular flea treatment to their skin which kills any parasites and stops them from reproducing.
You should also comb your dog’s fur regularly to ensure that they’re completely free from fleas.
Despite not being an official treatment for dog allergies, you can help to prevent the chances of your dog becoming ill by keeping them up-to-date with the appropriate vaccinations for their age. This helps to keep their immune system strong and reduce the chances of becoming ill.
Remember that we have award-winning dog insurance policies that help you manage costly vet bills which may occur from treating an allergic reaction in your dog, to help you and your beloved pet live a long, happy and healthy life together!