Did you know that dog skin allergies can cause your beloved companion to have a change in their usual demeanor? Both pet and owner suffer when there is an allergic reaction. Here are the facts of the situation.
When the body reacts to an allergen it creates the signature allergy symptoms we notice. The body’s immune system response to an allergen is so extreme that is creates an unwelcome effect rather than a corrective one. A pet can come in contact with an allergen from touching it, smelling it, or eating it.
The most noticed sign of allergy problems in a dog is itching. They may also develop hives, sneezing, have a change in behavior, and experience hair loss. It is estimated that one in seven dogs suffer from some form of allergies.
There are four categories for the allergies a dog can develop. The first is flea allergy dermatitis which as the name suggests is the result of an infestation of fleas. Atopic dermatitis is created from environmental allergens that are inhaled these would include substances such as molds, pollens, grass, and dust mites. Food allergies are on the rise, with pets becoming sensitive to things such as rice. Another form is called contact dermatitis which is the skin reaction associated with a topical irritant.
Of the four kinds of allergies, flea dermatitis is the most common. If you suspect fleas, use a flea comb to verify flea dander or the fleas themselves on your pet. In this case where fleas are the causative allergen, your pet develops a reaction to the saliva of the flea bite. The simple way to remedy this problem is to eliminate the pest from both the canine and the environment. This may include the need to treat the dog, the home, and the yard.
There are a number of different methods to combat the allergy symptoms which may include prescribed steroids, antihistamines, or shampoo to sooth the inflamed skin. Occasionally, when sores develop on the skin it may be necessary to use topical or oral antibiotics. When hair loss is a problem, this can only be treated with time.
Hives can develop on your pet which are similar to those found on humans. Hives have red, raised wheals that show anywhere on the body. In some areas, the raised wheal will also cause the hair to raise. Dogs can also experience swelling of the eyelids during an allergic reaction. Hives usually manifest approximately 30 minutes after coming in contact with an allergen.
Insect bites or a sting, and injections can induce an eruption of hives. Insecticides and soaps are also notorious for triggering hives as well. If a situation is experienced in which there is a regular increase and decrease in symptoms it can be assumed that the agent is environmentally linked.
Trying to determine the cause of the allergic reaction can be very frustrating. Dog skin allergies may take a long time to find the reason and implement a solution to the problem. An elimination process is time consuming and difficult and stressful to pet and owner alike.
Jennifer is a family pet health authority who specializes in dog skin treatment.