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9 Common Types of Dog Allergies (And How to Treat Them)


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Here are 9 of the most common dog allergies:

  1. 1. Flea Allergy Dermatitis
  2. 2. Seasonal Allergies
  3. 3. Human Food Allergies
  4. 4. Dog Food Allergies
  5. 5. Airborne Allergens
  6. 6. Environmental Allergies
  7. 7. Home Allergies
  8. 8. Prescription Drugs
  9. 9. Medicated Shampoo

In this article, we’re going to break down nine of the most common allergies that could affect your dog.

Just like humans, allergies can be extremely irritating (or potentially life threatening) and they can drastically reduce your dog’s quality of life.

So it’s important to be aware of the potential allergies your pup could suffer from. That way, you’ll be more prepared to prevent or treat them.

Let’s break them down:

Dog Allergies Image

1. Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Flea allergy dermatitis is an allergic reaction from flea bites. As you can imagine, this is a pretty common allergy in dogs. In fact, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual, it’s the most common dermatological disease in domestic dogs in the United States.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) is most common in the summer months or any prolonged period of warm weather. Reactions occur when fleas bite and inject saliva into their host. Flea saliva contain compounds similar to histamine, enzymes. polypeptides, and amino acids.

Certain dogs can react to these compounds and develop skin irritation and itching. The allergy can affect the entire body, and severity may depend on how much exposure the dog has had to the histamine compounds within the fleas’ saliva and their unique immune response.

Note: Flea allergy dermatitis is different from flea dermatitis. FAD is caused by the flea’s saliva, while flea dermatitis is itching caused by the flea bites themselves.

Treatment

At the first sign of FAD, take your dog to the vet. There, they will provide a professional diagnosis and prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help with the reaction.

Your vet may also recommend a medicated shampoo bath to kill the remaining fleas, and an ongoing flea medication or collar to prevent them from coming back.

2. Seasonal Allergies

Dog outside

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from seasonal allergies as well, and they are not fun.

Here are some signs your dog may have season allergies:

  • - Irritated skin: Rashes and hives
  • - Itching
  • - Hair loss: Common under continued exposure to an allergen
  • - Puffy, red eyes
  • - Sneezing

Treatment

Anti-histamines are usually the best treatment for seasonal allergies. Benadryl is a common over the counter treatment that is safe for most dogs to take. However, it should only be administered with a vet’s recommendation.

Read more about giving Benadryl to dogs and get the correct dosage information here.

3. Human Food Allergies

Food allergies are quite common in dogs, especially allergies to human foods. According to WebMD, 10% of all dog allergy cases are related to food.

Allergic reactions occur when the dog’s body incorrectly identifies a certain food as harmful. The body then produces antibodies, and these antibodies result in a variety of potentially dangeroud symptoms,

Symptoms can range from diarrhea, ear inflammation, and gastrointestinal problems to itching, vomiting, and nausea.

Unfortunately, the range of human foods a dog can be allergic to is extremely broad, such as:

  • - Pork
  • - Beef
  • - Chicken
  • - Fish
  • - Wheat
  • - Soy
  • - Dairy
  • - Certain fruits and vegetables
  • - And more

Treatment

The first step is to take your dog to the vet. There, they can provide the right treatment to help your dog’s systems. From that point forward, it’s about identifying and eliminating the food causing the allergy.

Unfortunately, it can be tough to identify which food is causing the reaction, because your dog is most likely eating multiple at a time.

To narrow it down, your vet might recommend an “elimination diet” to determine the specific food or ingredient that is causing the reaction.

Once identified, the reaction-causing food should be eliminated from your pup’s diet and precautions should be taken to ensure they don’t ingest it again.

4. Dog Food Allergies

Vet and dog

Dogs can also be allergic to dog food. If your dog is getting an allergic reaction from their dog food, it’s usually from a specific ingredient (or multiple).

It usually does not mean that there is something wrong with that brand or type of dog food. It’s usually a unique immune system response.

This also means that the reaction will happen if they ingest that ingredient no matter the brand.

However, your dog may not be allergic to one of the main ingredients, but rather a contaminant found in the food or a substance used in it’s manufacturing. To eliminate the possibility of this, all-natural dog foods and treats are recommended.

Treatment

First, take your dog to the vet so they can administer anti-inflammatory medication. And just like with human food allergies, they will most likely put your dog on an elimination diet to identify the ingredient causing the reaction.

Then remove that dog food from their diet avoid other products that contain that ingredient.

5. Airborne Allergens

Airborne allergies in dogs, also called atopy, can be caused by dust, pollen, mold, or other inhalants.

Symptoms can include itching (chewing, licking, and/or scratching all over their body) and sometimes respiratory issues.

It’s tough to determine whether the reaction is caused by an airborne allergen or something else. You need to be able to rule out other allergies that can cause similar reactions, like flea allergy dermatitis and food allergies.

Keep a log of when this reaction tends to occur. If it coincides with Spring, for example, this is an indication your dog my be allergic to inhalants. You can also get an allergy test to determine the specific cause(s).

Treatment

Once diagnosed, you may be able to increase your dog’s allergy resistance through an allergy shot. This shot could lessen their hypersensitivity to the allergen.

Your vet may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs for symptom relief.

6. Environmental Allergies

Dog in woods

Your dog probably loves being outside. But their love of running through bushes and rolling in the grass can potentially expose them to additional allergens.

Environmental allergies include plants and other environmental agents that could cause an allergic reaction if your dog comes into contact with them.

These environmental irritants can include:

  • - Grasses
  • - Male juniper bushes
  • - Ragweed
  • - Bottlebrush
  • - Daylily plants
  • - Bermudagrass

This plants can cause allergic reactions that result in itching, scratching, and sneezing.

Treatment

If your dog is having a reaction, take them to the vet to get diagnosed and have a proper treatment recommended to you. Then make sure the allergy-causing plant is not on your property. And when you’re out and about, keep and eye out for it so you can make sure your dog doesn’t come into contact with it again.

7. Home Allergies

Many substances around your home could be problematic for your pup:

  • - Perfumes
  • - Cigarette smoke
  • - Dust and dust mites
  • - Cleaning products
  • - Fabrics
  • - Rubber
  • - Plastic

Unfortunately, it can be tough to figure out which substance is causing the reaction. If you can, try to pay attention to exactly when your dog experiences symptoms and what they might have come into contact with shortly beforehand, including what they might have inhaled. This will help you narrow it down.

Treatment

Treatment of symptoms usually comes in the form of anti-inflammatory medication, but the best way to prevent them is to remove the allergen from your dog’s environment completely.

8. Prescription Drugs

Dog at vet

Allergies are very unpredictable, but they may be most unpredictable when giving your dog something that is supposed to help them.

Prescribing drugs is a common practice for treating a range of pet-related ailments. However, sometimes your dog may react badly to the drug itself or an ingredient within.

For example, while rare in pets, anaphylaxis (or anaphylactic shock) can occur as a result of taking prescription medication. It causes trouble breathing, low blood pressure, and potentially death if not treated ASAP.

Other less severe symptoms of drug allergies can include hives, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, loss of appetite, lethargy, and respiratory changes.

While drug allergies aren’t as common as other types, they should not be ruled out when trying to assess what’s happening.

Treatment

Keep a log of whatever medication your dog is on or has taken recently. If a reaction does occur, take your dog to the vet and give them the log to help them narrow down what might be causing it.

9. Medicated Shampoo

Some dogs can have allergic reactions to medicated shampoo. These shampoos can be made of ingredients that cause the immune system to release histamine that leads to skin irritation and more severe reactions.

Shampoo reactions tend to happen shortly after exposure and increase in intensity the longer the dog is exposed (or with repeated exposure).

Symptoms can include hives, itching, bald patches, lesions, and swelling.

Treatment

If you believe your dog is having an allergic reaction to shampoo, first rinse any areas that came in contact with it. You can then administer an OTC medicine like Benadryl (with your vet’s recommendation) to help with symptoms.

Topical antihistamines may work well also.

If the reaction persists, take your dog to the vet and they can prescribe stronger medication to deal with the symptoms.

To Wrap It Up

Dog over sea

Like humans, a number of things can cause allergies in your dog.

However, if you’re aware of them and take as many precautions as possible, you will drastically reduce the likely of your pup getting one.

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