Almost everyone on the planet knows humans can have pet allergies. Many people do not know that a pet can be allergic to his or her family members. Pet allergies fall into three categories: skin, food, and environmental. Any of the three, or more likely a combination of one more, can make your pet miserable.
SKIN ALLERGIES – A skin allergy in a dog can be caused by fleas, the food they have eaten, or something in their environment. Dogs can be just as allergic as humans to the saliva from fleas. Flea allergies in dogs cause severe itching, infected bites, and scabbing. The base of the tail is a notoriously favorite spot for fleas. Flea treatment and clean-up should commence immediately.
An environmental allergy in a dog can be caused by any number of things and show its merciless nature on your dog’s skin. As with humans, contact dermatitis can result from mold, pollen, bug bites, grass, etc….These types of allergies also cause a lot of itching and typically are identified by scratching around the ankles, groin, nose, eyes, underarms, paws, and ears. In order to rule things out make notes about what you see and take your dog to the vet.
Food allergies with skin symptoms are the easiest to treat as the symptoms are usually immediate and cutting out the food should shut down the allergy right away. Dogs get itch around the ears and paws and will often have serious *gastrointestinal problems. (*Do not let your dog get dehydrated. Contact your vet about treating diarrhea and vomiting.)
FOOD ALLERGIES – A food allergy, or food sensitivity, is caused by the ingredient/ingredients in your dog’s food. Some dogs do not tolerate beef, some do not tolerate duck, and some may have a system that is intolerant to dairy. The symptoms are immediate and as indicated above in the SKIN ALLERGIES category, can include rashes, itching, and gastrointestinal upset. They can also include sluggishness in your dog, as well as chronic ear and foot infections. If you see any of these sign or symptoms, change your food immediately, then make an appointment with your vet.
ENVIRONMENTAL ALLERGIES – An element in the environment, either outside or inside, can make your dog allergic. They are harder to diagnose than food and skin allergies as the symptoms and causes can be elusive to the uneducated eye. This category offers many more symptoms and requires some detective work. The following symptoms need investigating:
-Swelling of eyes, lips, mouth
-Red or inflamed skin
-Itchy or runny eyes
-Chronic ear infections
The environment under these circumstances means anything in your dog’s life, really. Allergens from you, your family members, the dog’s bedding, the grass in the back yard, the flower in the front yard, the friendly neighboorhood cat, or a buzzing little bee. Some reactions can be more severe and could entail an anaphylactic reaction. Anaphylaxis in dogs is rare, but can result from a bee sting, bite from another bug, or even a vaccine. Though rare, it can be fatal if left untreated.