Did You Know Your Dog Can Get Allergies Too?
Ah, spring! The flowers are blooming, the breezes are getting warmer, the world is waking back up–and so is pollen!
Spring brings seasonal allergies for many humans, but did you know that dogs can get seasonal allergies, too?
Top Dog is the go-to dog trainer near you and Chapel Hill’s best pet resort. Here, dogs come first. We care about your dog’s health and happiness more than anything else.
That’s why we want to share some information about dog allergies with you: what they are, what might cause them, and what you can do to help your pup feel better.
What Is An Allergy?
Let’s start with the basics. An allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to the presence of a particular stimulant, called an allergen. The inflammation response goes into high gear, causing symptoms like swelling, rashes, and congestion.
When your immune system encounters an allergen, the allergen’s protein molecules interact with antibodies in your blood and attach to a mast cell, which releases histamines to create inflammation.
The immune system is trying to protect you, but when it comes to allergies, it responds with such unnecessary strength that it can be uncomfortable or, in extreme cases, dangerous.
Common Types of Dog Allergies
Just like humans, there are certain types of common dog allergies, including:
- Skin allergies
- Environmental allergies
- Food allergies
Skin allergies can be caused by fleas or environmental factors. They are often marked by itchy, red skin, called atopic dermatitis or eczema. Eczema can cause your dog to itch and bite its skin and lead to secondary infections.
Food allergies are usually marked by gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or bloating, but can also cause hives or swelling. Food sensitivities can also lead to itchy skin, normally behind the ears or on the paws.
Environmental allergies are the most common allergies in dogs. They are caused by factors such as dust, pollen, and grass and are often seasonal.
Environmental allergies can manifest as many things, including atopic dermatitis, watery eyes, congestion, and, in rare cases, chronic ear infections.
Most of these reactions are mild. However, it is important to note that, just like humans, dogs can go into anaphylactic shock.
Monitor your dog closely if they start a new medication or diet or enter a new climate, and if you suspect a serious allergic reaction, take them to an emergency veterinary hospital immediately.
How to Diagnose and Treat Dog Allergies
Because allergies have symptoms that overlap with other types of allergies and conditions if you suspect that your dog has allergies, a trip to the vet is your first step.
A vet will rule out other conditions and recommend allergy testing, through either a skin test or blood test. However, allergy tests are not always conclusive, and the entire allergy diagnosis process can get complicated.
If you suspect that your dog is being affected by a specific factor in their environment or diet, try to remove that factor. You could switch your pet’s food or deep clean the house to remove dust.
Working in conjunction with your vet, you may try a few different treatment options:
- Allergen avoidance
- Change in diet
- Allergy relief prescriptions, such as antihistamines and decongestants
- Allergy shots
- Regular bathing and grooming
You may also consider finding a dog trainer near you to help pets understand when to stop allergy-causing behaviors and prevent complications due to itching.
Chapel Hill Dog Training with Top Dog
Whatever your dog needs, we are here for you! Top Dog’s expert, certified trainers make us your top destination for dog training in Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, and Durham.
We also offer dog grooming, dog boarding near you, and shuttle service so that you can make sure your dog makes it to Top Dog and back without any hassle!
Dogs mean everything to us, and we do everything we can to make sure that they are healthy. We are so passionate about dogs that we offer a lifetime guarantee for our training!