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What Causes Dog Allergies And How To Deal With It

For those of use with allergies, spring can be a time of torment- when itchy skin and watery eyes dominate our attention and leave us helpless. But itís not just humans that suffer from allergies caused by pollen, dandruff or other irritants- dogs are also at the mercy of allergens and their effects. The same allergens which affect humans can irritate dogs when they are inhaled, ingested, or made to contact the dogís skin.

According to ASPCA, dogs suffering from allergies can experience a wide range of symptoms, some of which match our association with allergies and others which do not. As with all ailments, the first step to treating allergies is identifying them. Dogs suffering from allergies will experience increased scratching, scabbed or moist skin, sneezing, swollen paws, red or watery eyes, ear infections, vomiting, and diarrhea. Dogs suffering from allergies may also be afflicted with a bacterial or yeast infection.

To ensure that allergies are the culprit behind these symptoms, itís necessary to take a visit to your veterinarian. By examining your dogís medical history and physical status, a veterinarian can determine if allergies may be the cause of your dogís discomfort. In addition to a typical physical examination, your veterinarian may run skin or blood tests or suggest dietary changes to determine the source of the problem.

Possible Allergens

There are a wide variety of substances which might elicit an allergic reaction in your dog. Common causes of allergies in dogs include pollen and spores emitted by plant life, mold, dust, dander, and other pollutants. In addition to these irritants, feathers, smoke, food, medication, perfumes, cleaning products and fabrics can all act as allergens. Itís this variety that makes a visit to the veterinarian a necessary step in diagnosing and treating your petís allergies.

Once the cause of your dogís reaction has been identified, there are several courses of action any pet owner can take to help relieve their petís symptoms. Because of the many types of allergens that can affect your pet, the treatment can vary on a case by case basis. The best way to treat allergies is to remove the source of the problem and prevent a reaction from ever occurring.

Removing a dog from the source of his allergies can be easily done when the allergen is food or medication. There are a wide variety of dietary supplements and specially formulated food to accommodate dogs with these allergies; however, other allergens canít be controlled as easily due to their ubiquitous nature. If prevention isn't an option, there are also allergy medications that can help control your dogís symptoms.

Medication and Treatment

When allergies cannot be prevented by removing the allergen from the environment, anti-histamines can help provide some relief from allergic reactions. Additionally, fatty acid supplements can help combat skin irritation and soothe itching. A similar effect can be attained with the use of oatmeal, aloe and other natural ingredients.

For airborne allergens such as dust or pollen, ask your veterinarian about allergy injections to help your pet develop a resistance. If your dog is still having problems, an immune modulating drug can also be used to increase your dogís tolerance to the irritants. For more serious cases, talk to your veterinarian about using cortisone. This treatment can be dangerous, as the drug is strong, so it should only be used as directed by your vet.

We hope this guide helps you protect your dogs from allergens and allows your dog to enjoy the start of spring. Does your pet suffer from allergies? Let us know how you deal with them in the comments section!