Allergies in Dogs: What You Should Know
With spring approaching, allergies become ever more common… Pollens, nettle, insect bites, mugworts, ragweed, etc. are all often out in force when the temperatures rise and can cause a bit of a kerfuffle… and that goes for our furry members of the pack, too!
We’ve rounded up some helpful info and tips on what to watch out for, and how to keep those tails wagging all year round.
Why do dogs get allergies?
Just like us humans, dogs can develop allergies too! Usually, most allergies will begin to show themselves when your pup is around 6 months of age, with the more serious reactions coming into play at around the 1/2-year mark.
Where do dog allergies come from?
(a quick one before reading ahead… IgE stands for ‘immunoglobulin E’ - a type of antibody in your immune system)
Rest assured that allergies are in fact quite common in all breeds, and some are thought to be inherited, while others are just developed over time. Allergies fall into one of two categories:
Atopic Dermatitis (atopy): this kind of allergy is genetic, inherited, and IgE-mediated to substances in the environment, such as pollens. These reactions usually occur within minutes and have a physical effect on the body.
- Non-Atopic Allergy: a non-inherited type of allergy that is not dependent on IgE but still involves an abnormal immune response to external environments. These reactions normally occur more than 2 hours after exposure to an allergen, and can even take up to 2 days to appear!
How to spot the symptoms of allergies in dogs
These pesky allergies can show themselves in many forms, so it’s important to be aware of the most common telltale signs that your fur baby is having some kind of reaction. Here are some of the main ones to look out for:
- Itchy skin, eyes, or ears
- Inflamed, red-colored skin
- Frequent sneezing
- Constant licking
Spotting these signs is the first step to helping your pooch be relieved of the discomfort, so keep an eye out!
Are dog allergies seasonal?
Allergies are more common during the warmer months, although this is totally dependent on the allergen (cause of the reaction) itself. If your dog is allergic to grass pollens, cedar, etc. then these are likely to become more of a nuisance during Summer. However, other allergens such as dust mites, molds, etc. may be present year-round.
Being prepared for whatever is to come will be the safest way to protect your dog from discomfort.
How to treat dog allergies
Allergies are often unavoidable, so the best way to tackle them is to know the signs and have a rough idea of when they are most likely to rear their heads… Try to work with your pup’s allergy, as it’s unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon. You know what they say… Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer!
Of course, the best way to treat an allergy is to completely avoid the allergen itself, but we know that’s not always possible! Below are some wag-tastic ideas of how you could help relieve your dog’s symptoms this upcoming allergy season:
- Nutrition: We’ve all heard the saying… What you put in, you get out. Make sure you’re feeding your four-legged friend good quality food so they are using the best fuel possible to uphold the vitals in their body
- A change in diet: If your dog is allergic to something in their food, identify what ingredient is causing them trouble and action a change in diet
- Remove the allergen (where possible): If your furry friend is allergic to fleas, for example, it’s best to take some extra steps to remove any fleas (and the environment they’re in!)
- Supplementation: Incorporate supplementation formulas that can help to keep the reactions at bay and relieve irritation caused by the allergy
If your dog has a severe allergic reaction, it’s imperative you get them to an emergency veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Whether your dog suffers from seasonal allergies or those pesky kinds that can flare up year-round, taking steps to minimize their discomfort can make a huge difference. Just like us, having itchy skin or irritated eyes can leave them feeling fed up and down in the dumps. With these helpful tips, we hope you keep those tails wagging and tackle those allergens head-on!