How to help with dog allergies

By Dr. Cherice Roth, KeraVet Bio Advisor

Dealing with allergies isn’t fun. When a person has an allergy, they can voice their discomfort and seek treatment. Dogs, on the other hand, don’t have the same ability. When they’re dealing with allergies, they can’t tell their pet parents how they feel.

Being able to recognize the signs of allergies in dogs is essential. With the right course of treatment, pet parents can figure out how to help with dog allergies and manage the issue or presenting symptoms so the canines can be kept happy, healthy, and more comfortable.

Determine the Cause of the Allergies

“How do I know if my dog has an allergy?” is one of the most common dog health questions vets get. Common symptoms of allergies in dogs include:

  • Excessive scratching

  • Licking or biting paws

  • Missing fur (due to scratching or an increased rate of shedding)

  • Red, irritated skin

  • Runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • Watery eyes

Like humans, dogs can be allergic to many things—including pollen, fabrics, fragrances, and even certain foods. If pet parents suspect a pet’s itching is caused by poor dog digestive health or canine food allergies or intolerances, they should schedule get recommendations for care from a licensed veterinary professional. A dog’s primary vet may run allergy tests to help get to the root of the issue so that pet parents can change up the dog’s care or provide adjustments to their home environment.

Keep Everything Clean

Dogs can be allergic to dust, dust mites, and pollen just like humans. If a dog’s allergies are more prevalent during seasonal changes their daily walks can become frustrating. Spend less time outdoors, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

  • Use cleaning wipes or paw booties – These can help limit a dog’s contact with the offending allergens when outside if pollen or grass make a dog’s paws become itchy or inflamed.

  • Bathe more often – Adding a few more baths into a dog’s routine can help to remove allergens or skin irritants from their fur. Pet parents can use a gentle and medicated shampoo to help soothe irritated, inflamed skin during baths to ensure a pet’s skin and coat remain hydrated.

  • Clean the air – Keeping the home free of airborne allergens can help to limit symptoms, allowing a pup to feel more comfortable in their own home. Pet parents might consider investing in an air purifier or a stronger vacuum with power or pet modes to remove excess dust and air from the environment.

  • Wash their bedding regularly. Allergens don’t just float through the air. They may settle on a dog’s bed or blanket. Washing their bedding with hypoallergenic and unscented laundry soap helps to eliminate particles. 

A little extra cleaning can reduce allergens such as dust, dust mites, pollen, and more. Regular dusting and vacuuming can help, as can changing out the filter in the air conditioner more frequently. 

Avoid Allergy Symptom Flare-Ups Dog Digestive Supplements and Medication

In order to avoid flare ups and keep allergies under control, there are a few essential things that a pet parent can do at home.

Year-round flea prevention is indispensable, as flea bites are the most common trigger of allergic reactions and can worsen other allergic conditions. A monthly flea preventative  will help.

Supplementing your pet’s nutrition with an omega-3 fatty acid supplement will help maintain healthy skin and coat while helping to reduce the skin inflammation caused by allergies. Bathing the pet with a medicated shampoo once weekly or fortnightly will help limit bacterial overgrowth, a major component of dog skin allergies.

If a pet is suffering from a food intolerance or allergy the presenting skin rash or itchiness symptoms may also be accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea, depending on severity. Pet parents should discuss with a veterinarian the appropriate alterations to be made to the pet’s diet as the identify the dog food ingredients that may be causing the issues.

In cases of chronic/recurring ear infections, which may present as allergic scratching, cleaning the dog’s ears with a gentle ear cleaner weekly will also space out flare ups.

For dogs with more significant or severe allergic reactions, home treatments might not be enough. Vets may recommend prescription medication or treatments. Pet parents should speak with a veterinarian if they have concerns about their dog’s allergy issues or other dog medical questions rather than waiting to see if a rash or itchiness will simply go away.

Get Canine Allergies Under Control 

Whether it’s seasonal allergies, contact allergies, food allergies or something else, managing the dog’s presenting issue and discomfort is an essential responsibility.

Learn more about KeraVet Bio Advisor, Dr. Cherice Roth, Chief Medical Officer for Fuzzy, by visiting her on LinkedIn.

This story was originally published March 07, 2022 to the Fuzzy website.

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