Pet dogs are much more sensitive to their environment and the food than humans. Hence, it happens quite often that their body starts showing allergic reactions to various food ingredients or changes in their physical environment.
What happens is that the dog’s immune system develops a tendency to react to a particular substance that is not harmful to the body and its presence can cause the body to respond as it reacts to a pathogen. Most of the times the allergic reaction is noticeable through skin troubles initially. Hence, the pet owner must always be aware of any skin problems in his dog and not avoid it. Such allergies are not only source of trouble for the dog but also cause problems for the pet owner. It thus becomes essential for the pet owner to have sufficient knowledge of the precautions to be taken to avoid such allergies and also of the care to be taken in case the pet has allergy problems. So let us take a look at various sources of allergies in dogs.
Sources of Allergens
Food is growing up to being a major source of skin allergy among dogs. Usually, an allergy to food products is due to in-built resistance or intolerance to certain food ingredients. Another reason can be that nowadays most of the food products tend to include artificial flavors or colors and dyes in their ingredients. Such artificial ingredients are more than capable of causing some serious skin allergies in your dog. Usually, such allergic reactions include itchy or oozing skin, thinning of hair on the body of the pet or a drying skin. There may also be rashes or reddening of the skin or swelling and inflammation.
2. Bacterial infection
Bacterial infection is another reason for allergic reaction among the pet. This, usually, characterized by puss or red spots. It can even cause ringworm like patterns on the skin. The bacterial infection is, usually, the secondary problem to the hormonal problems and parasitism in the pet.
3. Fleas problems
Fleas, just like mosquitoes, suck out the blood of the organism they infect.
These flies often leave their saliva on the skin of their victim and this saliva is what irritates the dog’s skin. This can make the dog behave very strangely in discomfort. Being infected by a flea can indeed be a dog’s worst nightmare.
4. Other Allergens
There are other allergens too that can cause various types of dog skin allergies like chemicals, bedding, household cleaning product or some plant. The symptoms are the same as that in fleas or bacterial infection.
Few common allergens that dogs are, usually, allergic to are listed below.
A few common allergens include:
- Weeds, pollen grains, grass or some specific plant
- Bird Feathers
- Cigarette smoke
- Food ingredients
- Prescribed medicine
- Perfumes or Deodorant
- Cleaning products or chemicals
- Some cloth or Fabrics
- Insecticidal or germicidal shampoo
- Some plastic or rubber material
Atopy is a genetically allergy causing factor that is hereditary in nature.
This can cause an allergic reaction even when exposed to simple allergens by respiratory system.
As these allergies are quite common in dogs, there are some general and useful treatment measures in place for them as well. Some of them goes as follows:
Preventing such dog skin allergies
1. Helping your dog to stay away from Fleas
Fleas being one of the biggest causes of skin irritation; it is wiser to prevent their presence in the house as well as in the fur of your pet. Also try and prevent the interaction of your dog with other strays that may be carrying fleas.
2. Proper food
We know how important it is for the food that you feed to your dog to be healthy and packed with nutrients. However, it also becomes imperative for one to avoid any ingredient that might trigger any allergic reaction in your pet’s immune system. This includes avoiding food products for your dog that carry a high amount of artificial colors or dyes and instead go for as much of natural food as possible.
3. Avoid Steroid injections and prefer oral steroids.
Whenever it is possible to orally give any steroids or medicine to your pet, always prefer it over injecting. Injections can cause skin infections and hence it is wiser to take your vet’s advice and try some alternative.
4. Treat for the allergy
Try to get your pet diagnosed for whatever is causing the allergy. The procedure is the same as that in case of humans. Here the vet will take a sample of his blood and send it to the lab for testing purpose. Once the allergen is recognized, there is a course of injections (hypo-allergic) to be administered which will complete the treatment.
To improve the skin condition of your dog, try to put him on vitamins or fatty acid supplement, according to whatever your vet may recommend. These two nutrients are most essential in keeping the skin and fur coat of your pet healthy.
- Try having conversations with other dog owners who may have experienced similar problems with their dog and hence know of some effective treatment methods or dog specialists.
- The dog’s allergy may have been the result of some laundry detergent you may be using. Hence, try changing it just to be sure.
- As prevention is always better than cure, try and keep the house environment dust free and clean. This will almost automatically eliminate the chances of your dog coming in contact with almost half a dozen common allergens.
- In some cases, even immune modulating drug can be helpful.
- Do not expose your dog to cigarette smoke or some other kind of pollutants.
Many of these may be harmful to the dog and cause skins allergies.
Dog skin allergies may not always be a simple reaction to some chemicals or food ingredients. In some cases, the underlying cause for such skin problems may be something far more serious and these allergic reactions may be an advanced warning of deteriorating health condition. Hence, the dog owners should be well aware of the skin condition of their dog and find the source of such problems as it is these problems that can lead to something far more serious.
Seeking the help of an expert dermatologist veterinarian doctor would obviously be one of the most important steps to take.