Ah, pet allergies – they’re just the pits. And they can develop at essentially any point in a dog’s life, which is why it can be tricky for people to recognize and treat them because their pet’s always been fine. Some breeds, like Terriers, Setters, Retrievers, and flat-faced breeds like Pugs, Bostons, and Bulldogs are more susceptible to allergies but it’s important to know that any breed can develop them. Furthermore, pets can be allergic to pretty much anything, much like humans; things like dust, foods, perfumes, grass, smoke, mold… you name it and there’s probably a dog out there that’s allergic to it (and a human who put a lot of time into finding out what exactly the culprit was.)
The first thing to know are symptoms of allergies:
- Itchy, red, damp, or scabby skin
- Increased scratching and skin sensitivity when touched
- Runny eyes
- Itchy ears or chronic ear infections
- Paw chewing or swollen paw pads
- Constant Licking
If you see your pet exhibiting one or more of these behaviors, it’s time to start paying attention to how often, when symptoms started, and the things your pet is exposed to on a regular basis – especially if you’ve recently changed something (a cleaning product, detergent, perfume, etc.) You can always research the specific symptoms to see if they’re more common in certain types of allergies, for example dogs with a food allergy will often have itchy skin, ear infections, and/or gastrointestinal problems whereas dogs with an allergy to something in the air may exhibit runny eyes and sneezing.
There’s no one-size-fits all answer to treating allergies, but the best first step is to talk with your veterinarian about what it might be and ways to treat it. No matter what, though, you’ll probably end up having to at least try eliminating the irritant (whatever it may be), so it certainly won’t hurt to start by clean their bedding, dusting the house, and maybe even consider an air purifier. And as always, keep up on their grooming as products like grooming combs can remove irritants you may not otherwise see. There are also some great shampoo products on the market that can help reduce the itch of allergy symptoms.
Both personally and professionally, the allergies we hear the most about are those to food, so consider an easy-to-digest and minimally processed diet. Stay away from diets high in grain and additives, as your pet has no use for them anyway, and always monitor their progress (or lack thereof) for discussion during your veterinarian visits.
If your pet has suffered allergies and you have a trick to identify or treat them, please share with us on Facebook!