Allergies and Your Dog

Dogs having allergies may not seem like a possibility since they either spend most of their time outside or not at all and should be used to any allergens in the air. Unfortunately, some dogs do suffer from allergies, whether seasonal or a new allergic reaction to fleas or grass in a new area they have explored. Here are some ways to spot an allergic reaction and ways to treat your pet and keep them from the discomfort of scratching their skin raw.

Types of Allergic Reactions

There are multiple types of allergic reactions, and identifying which reaction your dog is having can help you treat them yourself or take them to an emergency veterinarian if needed.

  • The most serious and lethal allergic reactions are the anaphylactic reactions, which can result in death. These major reactions could be caused by an insect bite or a reaction to an injection of medication like a vaccine. The dog’s body drops their blood pressure in response to the bite or medication and sends their body into shock. If you dog has had a past incident and survived, carrying around an epipen would be a vital step, but fortunately these types of reactions are rare in dogs.
  • The next allergic reaction is that of swelling of the dog’s face or hives developing on the dog’s body. These reactions can be visually alarming, but they are usually a good sign that your dog has passed by the fatal stage of their allergic reaction. A quick trip to the vet who can provide an antihistamine shot to treat the reaction and the swelling should dissipate over the next couple of days.
  • The third and most common allergic reaction is called allergic dermatitis. Three things cause this common reaction in dogs: fleas, food allergies, or environmental allergies. The easiest to treat is the reaction from fleas, as you can apply a flea medication from your vet directly to their skin for relief over a period of several days to a few weeks. If the allergy is food related, this may be more difficult to target, as you have to slowly eliminate certain foods from their diet. Lastly, if the reaction is environment-related such as airborne allergens like pollen and fungus, their reactions may also be seasonal and gone within several weeks.

Drug-Free Options

There are several options to treat your dog’s allergic reactions without drugs. Keep in mind that every reaction is different and some dogs may need to see a vet for extreme reactions such as anaphylactic shock or extreme swelling of their face that prevents eating or drinking water. However, if you think that your dog is suffering from season allergies or flea related allergies, these tips might be enough to relieve your dog’s discomfort.

  • Wipe down your dog’s coat, especially if it’s a short coat, after walks or outside activities in the grass. There are specific pet grooming wipes available so that you don’t have to worry about making their reactions worse with a fragrance-heavy wipe.
  • There are also multiple hypo-allergenic shampoos available to relieve your dog’s irritated skin from constant scratching.
  • Apply a mild antiseptic spray directly to the affected areas if they have broken skin, or soak them in a medicated bath.
  • Vitamin supplements like biotin and omega-3 promote a healthy coat as a preventive step.

Medication

If drug-free options are not working to alleviate your pet’s discomfort, there are antihistamines available by prescription from your vet.  Please consult your vet before giving a medication to your dog, as the dosage must be accurate to the specific issues your dog is facing.

Seeing your dog in pain and discomfort from an allergic reaction is an upsetting and alarming experience, but with these suggestions and a trip to your veterinarian you can find the help your dog needs to return to their healthy and loving selves.

Other Dog Health Posts