Allergy season is officially upon us! While some lucky individuals manage to get through the Spring without feeling the effects of the blooming trees and flowers around us, plenty of people suffer from seasonal allergies. Thankfully, there are a variety of medications on the market to help us manage our symptoms.
But did you know that dogs can have allergies, too?
That’s right! Just like human beings, some dogs are also allergy sufferers. And they can be allergic to some of the very same things that we are, such as specific foods, plants, and cosmetic products.
In fact, food is the most common cause of canine allergies, and it can create a great deal of trouble because it is often ingredients that are found in most commercial dog foods. BMC Veterinary Research did a study on canine allergies and exposed a variety of dogs to common allergens, and their findings were rather startling.
In their study, they found that 34% of dogs showed some level of an allergic reaction to beef. A further 17% showed a reaction to dairy products, 15% to chicken, and 13% to wheat. Unfortunately, most dogs who are allergic to one type of food are also allergic to others as well. Dogs who have allergies tend to be extremely sensitive and are likely to have a host of other allergies.
Finding out what your dog is allergic to can be a bit of a hassle, as it usually involves eliminating different foods until you find the culprit. If you find out that your dog is allergic to a specific food, you should bring them to the vet for further testing to see if they’re allergic to anything else.
Canine allergies are tricky, though, in that they can often present differently than those of human beings, and the signs are not always so easy to spot. Here are some things to look out for:
- The signs we’re all familiar with: itchy, red, watery eyes, and sneezing. Some doggy allergy symptoms are very much like human ones and are pretty easy to recognize. These symptoms are usually caused by environmental, airborne allergies, such as pollen.
- A rash. Itchy, red spots on your dog’s face and feet are classic allergy signs. But it doesn’t mean that your dog is allergic to something they’re stepping on! A rash that does not seem to go away can be a sign of allergies. Your vet will likely have you limit allergens in your pet’s life until the rash subsides.
- Diarrhea. Yup, you read right: diarrhea can be a sign of allergies in dogs. If a particular food doesn’t agree with your pooch, you may notice them experiencing loose stools or other digestive upset. Persistent diarrhea can be a sign of a serious allergy and will likely involve a switch of food and or medication. Some dogs develop certain protein allergies over time (most commonly with chicken, pork, and beef) and will require a “novel” protein diet, such as buffalo, bison, or even kangaroo!
Only your veterinarian can tell you for sure whether or not your dog has allergies, but if you notice symptoms that come on suddenly you may be able to figure it out yourself based on the process of elimination. Did your dog suddenly break out in hives after you used a new shampoo? You can safely bet that the shampoo was the reason.
Often, though, the causes of canine allergies are less concrete and warrant a trip to the vet. Not only so you can get to the bottom of the allergen, but also so you can get your pup some much-needed relief!
For temporary relief of symptoms caused by skin allergies, we recommend Dr. Dobias Skin Spray – Herbal Skin & Wound Care
For more information on canine allergies visit: AKC Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatment