Before we go on to explain common dog allergies and their effects, it is crucial to define what an allergy is. Therefore: An allergy is a hypersensitive reaction to a specific allergen, or a substance capable of causing an allergy. Just like human allergies, dog allergies can range from mild to severe discomfort. Because of this it is important to pay attention to symptoms of allergies.
Common symptoms that your dog might have an allergy:
- Red bumps on skin
- Fur loss
- Hot spots
- Biting or chewing skin (to relieve skin irritation)
- Reoccurring ear infections
There are different types of allergens that can cause your dog to have an allergic reaction.
Flea bite allergies are the most common allergen to affect (40% of) dogs.* There can be as many as 15 allergens in the saliva of a flea.* Because fleas feed repeatedly, your dog will continuously react by displaying the symptoms listed above. You can get rid of fleas by using a product like Advantage or Frontline that kills fleas that bite in combination with regularly vacuuming your home.
Atopy or Inhalant Allergies
Matter such as pollen, mold, dust mites, and mildew are common inhalants that bother humans as well as dogs. Some allergens (such as pollen) occur seasonally while others remain constant (dust mites), so it is important to pay attention to when the allergic reaction is occurring as a process of elimination.
Food allergies are the third most common form of allergy. Common food allergies include chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, dairy products, egg, corn, wheat, and soy.
Dr. Kathy Petrucci, DVM and owner of Sprinks says “One allergen is no more “unhealthy” than any other allergen, but may be a source of allergy in some animals. The best way to determine a particular allergy is to do a food elimination trial. If the source of the allergy can be determined, then a pet owner should not feed their pet that type of food, whether it is beef, chicken, corn, wheat or soy.”
Contact allergies are local skin reactions to topical substances such as a shampoo, an item of clothing, or a collar. Reactions occur quickly and can usually be traced back to the point of contact. Contact allergies tend to be much less common than the allergies listed above.
What you should do if your pet has an allergy
- Take your pet to the vet
- Pay close attention to specific ingredients in food and treats
- Dust and vacuum your house often
- Use an oatmeal shampoo to soothe your pet’s skin while bathing
- Regularly treat your pet for fleas
- Use a hypoallergenic dog food or consider making your dog’s food
- Consider using a dehumidifier to decrease the occurrence of mold in your house
*According to http://www.essortment.com/allergies-dogs-22377.html