Watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing – those symptoms are all too familiar if you suffer from seasonal allergies. But did you know that your dog could be affected in the same way that humans are by specific allergens? Just like humans, when a dog’s immune system reacts to a foreign substance that is usually considered safe, it produces antibodies. These antibodies can cause various symptoms in your pup and, depending on the cause, can be difficult to relieve.
Common Causes of Dog Allergies
There can be a variety of factors causing your dog’s symptoms. If you notice that your dog’s symptoms worsen during certain times of the year, he might be suffering from seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies can be caused by:
- Tree and grass pollen
- Dust and dust mites
- Mold and mold mites
- Flea bites
- Freshly cut grass
Other dogs might be sensitive to the ingredients in their food. Although these are not true allergies since food intolerances are a gradual reaction to a specific ingredient in the food and not an immune response, making changes to their diet can improve their quality of life and prevent reoccurring symptoms. Some of the most common food sensitivities found in dogs include:
How do I Know if my Dog Has an Allergy of Food Intolerance?
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies, keep a lookout for these symptoms:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Respiratory congestion
- Patchy skin or irregularities in the skin
- Excessive licking of the paws and anus
- Smelly or dirty ears
- Shaking of the head
- Scratching of one or both ears
- Hair loss
- Itchy flaky skin
- Ear infections
- Redness and swelling from excessive scratching
Your dog might have a food intolerance if he has any of these symptoms:
- Unhealthy skin and coat
- Chronic ear infections
- Chronic food infections
How to Treat Your Dog’s Allergies
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from allergies or food intolerance, the best thing you can do is identify the cause. Some veterinarians will use allergy testing to determine what is causing your dog’s symptoms.
If fleas are causing an allergic reaction, they will be the easiest thing to diagnose. A veterinarian will simply identify the fleas and apply a product that kills them.
Food allergies or sensitivities can be diagnosed with the help of an elimination diet. Under the supervision of a veterinarian, feed your dog one source of protein and carbohydrate for 12 weeks.
Once allergens are identified, the best way to treat them is to avoid them. For example, killing fleas or avoiding food triggers is the easiest way to treat those causes. However, if environmental or seasonal changes are out of your control, such as with pollen allergies, your veterinarian might prescribe an allergy relief medication to control the symptoms.
So if your dog is experiencing allergy-like symptoms, it’s worth investigating why. That is the only way you will be able to adjust your dog’s lifestyle and help him find relief from potential allergies.