Most of us already know that allergies are a fairly common health problem in dogs, but some may be unsure as to what constitutes an allergy and how to recognize them. In this text, experts from Kinpur Pet Care wrote an article for us about different kinds of allergies, their causes and 9 tips on how you can prevent your dog from getting allergies.
Allergies – What we mean by Allergy?
Like humans, dogs can suffer from allergic reactions and these manifest themselves in similar ways: skin itchiness and problems with breathing, amongst other things. But what exactly is an allergy?
Well, your dog’s immune system normally fights invading organisms such as viruses or toxins which come into contact with it through the skin, respiratory tract or the digestive system.
If the invader is something which your dog’s immune system has already encountered, such as an allergen or a vaccine, this causes no reaction. We say that the dog has become ‘immune’ to it and these substances are called non-allergenic.
However, if the invader comes from outside and is not something which the dog has already come into contact with (i.e., novel), then its immune system reacts by releasing histamine and other chemicals to neutralize them – we call this reaction an allergy.
Allergy symptoms: What does an allergic reaction look like?
The symptoms of allergies can vary greatly depending on where they manifest themselves in your dog’s body. For example: skin allergies can manifest themselves as skin problems, such as inflammation, normally on the feet, areas which are difficult to reach to clean and brush and where it is more usual for an infection (especially fungal) to develop;
It is also possible that there may not be any symptoms related specifically with allergies. For example: your dog can have both a food allergy and atopy (inhalant allergy), in which case its symptoms could mainly relate to either one of these two conditions or doesn’t show any.
However, in most cases the main symptom will be itching (pruritus), which is caused when your pet’s body releases histamine into certain parts of its skin. This leads to redness and swelling of the affected area, making it itchy and sore, which causes your dog to lick or bite at this area even more. The skin can become thickened and blackened due to the damage done by constant scratching and licking (lichenification).
What you must know:
- The itching is usually worse when your dog’s skin is wet (e.g. after a bath or a walk in the rain);
- It often gets worse at night;
- Your pet will often suffer from ear infections if it itches around its ears;
No specific breed, age or sex predisposition exists for allergic dogs. You can get allergies at any age but some breeds seem to be more predisposed than others [doberman pinscher, poodle, springer spaniel, german shepherd etc];
So what do you do if you suspect your pet is suffering from an allergy?
- Contact your veterinarian
Your vet will most likely recommend skin tests for allergens (the animal is injected with different medicines and the reaction to each substance is observed) or blood tests. Both are quite accurate but only if you go through allergy testing early on in the course of the disease;
Your veretrinar may recommend some kind of pill or, for example, natural supplements for dog allergies. Recommendations will be individual for each case.
- Don’t wait too long!
If possible, do not wait until he or she has already suffered significant itching or scratching episodes before taking him to a dermatologist. The more intense the damage caused by allergies, the harder it will be to recover;
- Find out what your pet is allergic to!!!
Among common allergens for dogs there are: dust mites, pollen (picea, timothy grass, cocksfoot, olive), mold spores, cockroaches… but also common foods such as beef, chicken, wheat, dairy products are to blame for many allergies.
- The “golden triangle”.
It was shown that the return of itching in dogs is related to three factors: the previous treatments applied did not work long-term so after a certain period re-exposure occurs – usually within 1-3 weeks; the concentration of allergen in the environment increases because it has not yet been eliminated or other allergens have replaced it (eg cat allergens); there are other stress factors that participate in triggering scratching episodes.
- Try giving your allergy chews for dogs from Kinpur.
With these chews, you can both alleviate allergy symptoms as well as prevent future allergic reactions in your dog. Treating allergies in dogs is easier than ever with Kinpur!
- Think about your home!
Take care of your home: do not smoke inside, do not use toxic substances, remove carpets to expose parquet or other materials that cope with dirt. Vacuumed daily to reduce the concentration of dust mites.
- Get rid of the parasites!
Heartworm can cause itching because it also acts as an allergen for dogs – so you should ensure treatment against these parasites year-round! Also consider prevention against fleas and ticks because they are also common allergens.
- Treat infections immediately.
Are your dog’s ears dirty? Is it licking its paws excessively? Can you see signs of infection (eg crusts) on his skin? Then take him to the vet. Such conditions can cause intense itching and sometimes also allergies.
- Make sure your dog’s diet is balanced and healthy.
There is no evidence that a special diet can prevent allergies, but the food must be complete and of good quality: no additives or flavor enhancers (eg monosodium glutamate), and highly digestible. A varied and balanced food will meet all nutritional needs of dogs – both for growth as well as in adult life, which is very important for skin and coat health. Do not replace one type of food with another wildly different from it: this might lead to sudden deficiencies. If you have any doubts about what to give your pet, consult an expert before changing its diet drastically.
So, today we looked at how you can cure and prevent allergies in your dog. We hope this article will be useful for you and your pets! If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave us a comment. We will be happy to help!