Itchy eyes and runny nose – that’s what I think about this time of year. The yellow pollen coating my car and the blooming plants are signs that allergens are in the air. Pets can have allergies too but the symptoms can be different. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation has declared May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. So I thought this would be a good time to talk about dog allergy symptoms and treatments.
Allergies in pets can be classified as either environmental or food. Food accounting for approximately 10% of pet allergies. Food allergies may show up at any age.
What Are Dogs Allergic To?
- Pollen from Trees, Grass, Weeds
- Cigarette and Cigar Smoke
- Foods (wheat, soy, corn, chicken beef, pork, eggs, dairy)
- Prescription Drugs
- Cleaning products
- Rubber and Plastic
Dog Allergy Symptoms
- Increased Scratching
- Red, moist or scabbed skin
- Runny eyes
- Chewing or constant licking
- Swollen paws
- Snoring due to an inflamed throat
- chronic ear infections
Think Your Pet Has Allergies – Now What?
Consult with your veterinarian to ensure that what you are observing is allergy related and not an intolerance. For allergy testing, your veterinarian can do a blood test – called a serologic test. All General practice veterinarians can perform this test and it’s less invasive. However, it may be recommended that your pet have an intradermal test done veterinarian dermatologist. The intradermal test is considered more accurate at determining the allergen. During the intradermal test, the pet is sedated and the allergens are inserted into the animal’s skin.
Also Read <Cat Allergies Symptoms and Treatments>
There is one more way to determine if your dog has allergies. As mentioned, commonly dogs will scratch and itch more than normal with allergies. Under your veterinarian’s guidance, give your dog a Benedryl. If the dog’s scratching subsides then that can be an indicator that your dog has allergies. However, it will not help you in identifying the allergen.
Dog Allergy Treatment Options
Your veterinarian can prescribe medication depending on the type and severity of the allergy. Just like with people, pets can be given allergy shots as well. If you prefer a more homeopathic approach, there are several over the counter options. But always discuss this approach with your vet before giving anything to your pet.
In some cases, you may just need to switch out your dog’s food. Lower end brands or certain food ingredients may be the culprit.
Other material references: Riverview Vet Hospital in Atlanta, GA
Image: Isaac Moore