Can dogs have allergies?

April 13, 2012

Dog owners know that chewing and licking are the most common pastimes of dogs. Dogs need to exercise their jaws and massage their gums thus any object that they can sink their teeth into will be chewed. Bones, chew toys, furniture and even parts of their own body will be licked and chewed. The inclination to bite, lick and chew the body may not be behavioral in nature. The dog’s excessive chewing and licking can be caused by allergies. Yes, dogs can have allergies. Not many dog owners are aware that dogs, similar to humans can have allergies too. Scratching is the most common sign of allergies. Unfortunately, because of the dog’s inclination to chew and scratch, many pet owners would not do anything to alleviate the discomfort of the pet so that the pet would have to suffer its entire life. The quality of life of the pet will of course be affected especially when it gets older and the condition worsens.

Allergy symptoms will vary depending on the cause. Dogs will show different reactions to the allergen as well. This is why it is rather hard for a pet owner to know that the dog has allergies. The kind of existence the dog would have entirely depends on the kind of care the pet parent is providing. A pet owner’s responsibility goes beyond providing the pet with food. For the well being of the pet, a pet owner has to know the signs and symptoms of different canine illnesses. Sneezing, red and itchy watery eyes, runny and stuffy nose, wheezing and coughing are the symptoms of dog allergies. The most typical allergic reaction though is scratching. Severe itching will cause the dog to constantly scratch. This will result to bald patches and to open sores that can get infected. Urticaria or hives, facial swelling and anaphylaxis shocks are severe allergic reactions. Anaphylactic shock can result to respiratory and cardiac failure and consequently to the death of the pet. The owner would know the pet much better than a vet but a vet has the expertise to know the condition of the pet at a glance. Vet consultation is very important. Although OTC medications are readily available, vet consults would still be important as the dog’s condition may not be due to allergies but to a more serious ailment.

To be able to help the pet, a dog owner has to have a fair amount of knowledge on the causes and the types of allergies that affects the dog. Flea is a common parasite of dogs. Flea allergies are the most common. About 40% of dogs with allergies are tested to have flea allergies. The dog’s allergic reactions can be caused by the food the dog has ingested. Food allergies can be caused by a change in diet. Ten percent of dog allergies are due to food allergies. Contact dermatitis is an allergy that occurs when the pet comes in direct contact with cloths, metal or plastics. Red, itchy blister will be formed in body parts that come in contact with the allergen. A dog allergic to leather for instance would have itchy welts around the neck where the skin comes in contact with the collar. The allergic reaction of the dog can be caused by pollen, moulds and dust mites it has inhaled. Dogs sensitive to these allergens would have airborne or atopic allergy.

Allergies will make the life of the pet miserable. A dog owner would naturally want to alleviate the suffering of the pet. It is rather hard to pinpoint what causes the allergic reaction of the pet. The dog has to have a full medical checkup. Antihistamines and decongestants are typically prescribed by the vet. The dog can live comfortably if the allergic reaction is properly diagnosed and necessary treatment is administered.

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