Just like a human, your dog may also become allergic. This allergic condition refers to a state of hypersensitivity reaction of the immune system to a certain substance named allergen. Most of the allergens are proteins derived from plants, insects, animals, or foods. Unfortunately, allergies are very common in dogs of different ages and breeds. The prevalence of allergies is common at one or two years, and it mostly appears after the age of six months.
There are several ways to get exposure to an allergen by your dog. The most common types of dog allergies are given below:
1. Flea Allergy Dermatitis
This is an allergic reaction caused by flea bites. It occurs mostly in summer when the flea populations explode. After biting, flea injected saliva into their host. Flea saliva contains histamine, enzymes, polypeptides, and amino acids that enhance the allergic reaction in your dog’s body.
2. Food Allergies
Food allergies are most common in dogs. About 10% of allergies are associated with foods. This occurs when your dog’s immune system identifies some particle of his food as a foreign body. The associated symptoms include gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation all over the body, etc. The foods associated with allergy may include beef, pork, soy, fish, wheat, etc.
3. Environmental Allergies
Environmental allergens such as tree pollens, grass pollens, weed pollens, house dust mites, molds, etc. are the primary cause of these allergies in your dog. Many of these occur seasonally (pollens, ragweed, etc.) while others are found throughout the year (dust, molds, etc.).
Symptoms of an Allergy
An allergic dog may produce symptoms that range from severe itching to dermatitis. The itching of the skin may be found in a certain part of the body (localized) or all over the body (generalized). Sometimes, the involvement of the respiratory system occurs with the symptoms of coughing, wheezing, or sneezing. Diarrhoea and vomiting are common when an allergic condition affects the digestive system. There may be the presence of runny eyes and nose with itching. Discomfort in your dog commonly occurs with constant licking which might cause the formation of dermatitis. The other common sign and symptoms of allergy may include the redness and swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps.
What To Do If You Spot a Symptom
Treatment of an allergic condition may include removal of the cause and allergen. Whenever you spot a symptom of allergies in your dog, immediately take him to the veterinary hospital. Your vet will do a blood test to detect allergen-specific IgE (Immunoglobulin E) to be sure about allergy. The best way to avoid flea allergic dermatitis is to use a flea collar to kill the fleas, whereas the suitable way to remove food allergy is to change their food. In the addition to the cause of removal, your doctor may further suggest allergy relief medications like:
- Antihistamines: This helps to block the chemical compound that responsible for allergic symptoms.
- Decongestants: This medication will relieve congestion by reducing the swelling of your nose.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID): Finally, this drug will help to ease the inflammation and relieve pain from the affected part.
Alongside this, you can also use shampoo therapy, hypo-sensitization or desensitization therapy, etc. to treat this condition as per your vet’s suggestion. Since allergic conditions are most common in dogs but it’s treatable.