Allergies in Dogs
|Top Vet Recommended Natural Remedies for Dog Allergies|
When most people think of dogs and allergies, they think about what it is like to be allergic to a dog. They don’t typically think about a dog with allergies. It does happen, however, more frequently than many of us may think. Allergies in dogs are becoming much more common than they used to be. With the rising diagnoses of allergies in dogs, many pet owners are wondering what causes allergies in dogs, and what are the possible treatments? The truth is, there are a variety of causes of dog allergies, and just as many different treatments for dog allergies.
Causes of Allergies in Dogs
There are a number of possible causes of allergies in your pets. For many pets, allergens come in the form of bites from parasites. One of the most common canine allergies is a dog allergy to fleas. They can leave your dog chewing, scratching, and chasing his tail to get to the root of the itch. Food is another extremely common allergy in pets. Dog allergies to food can also leave your pet scratching himself bald in patches. Seasonal allergies are not unique to humans, either. Our four-legged friends can also often suffer from allergies like pollen, grass, mold, and weeds depending on the time of year. Your dog may be suffering from sneezing, much like we do, as well as itchy skin and eyes. Many dogs also suffer from contact dermatitis, a type of allergy which causes a reaction when your dog comes in contact with things which irritate his skin: grass, detergents, or cleaning chemicals are the most common of these types of allergens.
Symptoms of Dog Allergies
The most obvious sign that your dog is suffering from some sort of allergy is a lot of scratching. You may notice your dog itching and scratching, licking, and biting himself more than usual. Dogs most often manifest allergies through skin irritation. Even many seasonal and food allergies present themselves as a type of skin disorder. If your dog has an allergy, he may look like he has dry skin. He will often scratch until he is bleeding or bald in some places, and his constant scratching may drive everybody in the family crazy.
Diagnosing a Dog with Allergies
Allergies are extremely difficult to diagnose in dogs. In most cases, the most obvious causes of allergies are flea bites and food allergies. You can check for flea bites yourself by looking for the presence of fleas on your dog. If your dog has an allergy to fleas, you will see a lot of tiny red bumps near his tail and on his belly where he is being bitten. Eradicating the fleas will be the best means of treating this allergy.
Food allergies can also be diagnosed through an elimination diet. The most common food allergy is going to be corn or wheat. Check the bag of dog food for the list of ingredients. In most store-bought dog foods the number one ingredient is usually corn. You should try an all-meat diet for a few weeks to get the reaction to stop, and gradually add in potatoes or grain for starch. Potatoes are less likely to cause a reaction than rice is, but watch your dog carefully. For most dogs, eliminating corn from the diet is helpful and will keep your dog happy and allergy free, but sometimes there are other allergies which are almost impossible to determine.
Determining the cause of contact and seasonal allergies in dogs will typically involve a skin test procedure known as an intradermal allergy test. A veterinarian will inject trace amounts of common allergens just below the skin surface of the dog. If a reaction occurs to a particular allergen, it can be concluded that the dog is allergic to that allergen.
Conventional Dog Allergy Treatments
There is no guaranteed cure for dog allergies other than to avoid the allergen that is causing it. Desensitization has been used to cure allergies in dogs, but it is expensive and requires frequent visits to your veterinarian. Desensitization involves injecting the dog with trace amount of the allergen in an effort to gradually build immunity toward it. This can require weekly vet visits lasting for anywhere to 6 months to a few years. Less than half of dogs will get any benefit from desensitization, and very few are completely cured.
Instead, veterinarians typically treat the symptoms of dog allergies by prescribing corticosteroids or antihistamines. These treatments for dog allergies are used to provide pain relief and to help eliminate the dog’s need to itch. When using these types of treatments for allergies in dogs, their usage should be carefully monitored by a veterinarian as they have been known to cause harmful side-effects. These drugs work by suppressing the immune system which will make your dog vulnerable to infections, diabetes and other conditions.
Natural Remedies for Allergies in Dogs
Due to the potential side-effects associated with steroids, many veterinarians are now turning to natural remedies for allergies in dogs. Homeopathic and herbal formulas such as Allergy Itch Ease and Canine Stimmune have been shown to be both safe and effective. These natural dog allergy remedies contain herbs that are known to promote skin health by soothing and healing the dog’s skin and restoring the coat. Natural dog shampoos that are oatmeal-based such as Comfy Dog Shampoo, are also frequently recommended. Using both a natural dog allergy remedy and a natural dog shampoo will ensure that your pet’s itching will stop, and the skin and coat will be restored to normal before you know it.
Filed under: Conditions
Like this post? Subscribe to our RSS feed!