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Chapter 1. Does Your Dog Have Allergies?
Constant scratching, tail-chasing, coughing and wheezing, eye and nose discharges – if these symptoms are observed on your dog, chances are very likely that he/she is suffering from allergies.
Yes, dogs, just like humans, can suffer from allergies. Roughly about 20 percent of the dogs living in our homes suffer from some allergy type. Major classifications of canine allergies are: atopic dermatitis, flea allergy, food allergy and inhalant allergy.
‘Cosmo’, a 7 year old male Bull Mastiff, is allergic to grass and
takes allergy medication to control his symptoms.
Photo courtesy and copyright© of Healthy Dogs! Pet Care Service.
Atopic dermatitis is a skin allergy disease caused by hypersensitivity developed by your dog’s immune system to several and very common substances like molds and dust mites.
If your dog scratches and licks himself very often (particularly licking and chewing the paws, abdomen and legs), and his/her ears are hot to the touch, he/she may be suffering from atopic dermatitis.
Check to see if your dog’s saliva causes stains. A red to brown stain is another indicator that your dog is atopic. In persistent cases, the skin on the abdomen changes color from pink, to a bright red then to black.
Flea allergy is the most common form of canine allergy. However, it is not the flea but the flea’s saliva that your dog may be allergic to. This condition is medically referred to as pruritis. Symptoms like hair loss, scratching and scabs on the skin are often episodic and persist even after some form of flea control has been used because as little as one or two flea bites per week can cause pruritis.
To find out if your dog has flea allergies, a skin allergy test is preformed by using a flea comb to inspect your dogs hair. Skin tests for mites or bacterial skin diseases are recommended if fleas can not be found. If she tested positive, a strict control regimen can reduce symptoms. Consult you’re vet as to what type of treatment is best for your pet. There is a wide array of choices ranging from pills to sprays to shampoos.
Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to allergens inhaled from the air. Pollen from trees, grass, and flowers, dust mites and molds are just some of the common culprits. Many of these allergies occur seasonally, such as ragweed and cedar.
However, unlike humans who exhibit inhalant allergies through sneezing and coughing, dogs show their reactions through scratching and biting, rubbing its face as well as chewing or licking their feet constantly. A less common reaction is recurrent infections in your dog’s ears. Most dogs that have inhalant allergies start showing signs between one and three years of age. Because most of these allergens are environmental, recurrent bouts are likely.
You can help alleviate the allergy by vacuuming frequently and dusting the areas your dog spends much time in (like his sleeping area).