Canine Allergies

English: 10 wks old, female. She snorts but is...

English: 10 wks old, female. She snorts but is super loveable, great with housebreaking, other dogs, cats and kids. I noticed some grass allergies on her belly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s not just people who can have allergies; animals can have them, too — including dogs. There are three main types of canine allergies:

Fleas.Some dogs are highly allergic to fleas and flea bites. This allergy is relatively easy to diagnose and treat.

Inhalants.This is the most common allergen in dogs. They can include airborne molds, pollens and also dust mites.

Food Allergies.About 10% of all dog allergies are related to foods they eat. These allergies can cause a lot of itching.

Dog allergies combined with a compromised immune system can be very hard on your dog. The result can be secondary infections of the ears, skin or urinary tract. Some breeds are prone to allergies; bulldogs, pugs, terriers and retrievers fall into this group.

Signs of Allergies

Dogs with allergies usually show symptoms such as skin issues and itching.Flea allergiescause chewing and itching at the base of the tail. In some cases, a single flea bite can cause a very severe allergic reaction.

Inhalant allergiescan come and go as weather and seasons change. Indoor heating and air conditioning can affect them. Some allergies are worse in summer than in winter, but dust and mold-sensitive dogs are itchier during the indoor winter months.

Food allergiesmay cause skin and coat problems, including itching. One sign of food allergies in dogs is incessant paw-licking. Proteins are usually the cause.

Types of Allergy Treatments

If your dog shows the symptoms and signs of allergies, start by taking her to the vet. The vet will likely first screen for other more serious issues like mites, thyroid problems or mange. Prescription topical flea treatments will work, but holistic treatments have fewer side effects and are much safer and healthier for your dog.

A vet or a veterinary dermatologist can help to determine exactly which allergens are causing your dog’s issues, but testing can be expensive and stressful on your dog. You can help the situation at home by vacuuming more frequently, buying a good air purifier and/or using an air filter within your home’s heating/cooling system.

Improving your dog’s diet can help as well. Always try natural dog allergy remedies first whenever possible, as chemical-based treatments tend to have harmful side effects that will tax your canine’s immune system.

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