Dog allergies are itchy business, and we treat many pets with allergies here at Bayside Animal Hospital. If your dog is constantly scratching, biting, or licking part of his body, or if his fur is missing in places, he could have allergies. Read on for an explanation of common dog allergies and symptoms, and what to do if you suspect that your pup has allergies.
Types of Dog Allergies
Dogs can experience skin, food, and seasonal/environmental allergies.
Itchy, irritated skin can be triggered by flea bites (most common), by the intake of certain food ingredients, or by exposure to environmental allergens like pollen. While a bout of itchy skin may not sound serious, skin allergies can lead to secondary infections requiring medical treatment.
Beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy, and milk are the most common causes of food allergies and sensitivities in pets. Dogs with food intolerances can have gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting, but they can experience itchy skin and chronic ear infections as well.
Seasonal and environmental allergies can stem from your dog’s exposure to something outdoors or something inside your home. Pollen, mold, dust mites, and common household products like cleaning solutions and air fresheners can cause allergic reactions.
Acute Allergic Reactions in Dogs
While most allergic reactions in dogs are relatively minor, if uncomfortable, there is the potential for rare anaphylactic reactions if an allergy is severe enough—which can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Keep a close watch on your dog if he gets stung by a bee, and anytime he receives a new vaccine or drug, or gets introduced to a new food.
Watch for These Allergy Symptoms
If your dog is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, it’s best to schedule an examination. Many allergy symptoms overlap with symptoms of illnesses. Lab work and other tests may be needed to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and alleviate your pet’s symptoms.
- Incessant scratching or licking
- Irritation at the base of the tail
- Swollen face, ears, mouth, or eyelids
- Red, inflamed skin
- Face rubbing
- Missing fur
- GI problems like vomiting or diarrhea
- Chronic ear infections
- Itchy, watery eyes
What to Do When My Dog Has an Allergic Reaction
If you suspect that your dog is having an allergic reaction, contact your veterinarian immediately. There is always the possibility that mild symptoms can progress to anaphylaxis. If your dog has difficulty breathing, has a swollen face, is excessively vomiting, or has blue gums, take him to an emergency veterinary hospital or facility that provides urgent care as soon as possible.
Thankfully, most allergic reactions are minor, and once a diagnosis is in hand, your pup’s allergies can be controlled through avoiding the allergen, staying up-to-date on flea and tick control, a change of diet, or other lifestyle modifications.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (916) 791-8387 if you have questions about pet allergies or to schedule a visit.