Humans prepare for spring and summer environmental allergies, but it’s easy to forget that dogs can also suffer from allergies and often need treatment for them. About 10 percent of dogs are atopic, or have allergies. Many dogs can also suffer from allergies all year long – allergens in dust, foods, soaps and pollen can trigger the symptoms, and fleas are the most common cause.
Symptoms such as excessive licking, hot spots, scratching, ear infections and vomiting can signal allergies, but may be confused for other ailments. Owners can reduce their dog’s pollen interaction by wiping paws with a wet towel after they have been outside during weather with high pollen levels. Dust mites in the house can be prevented by frequent vacuuming of carpets and curtains, as well as freezing plush toys to kill potential dust mites, according to Mother Nature Network (MNN).
Once the symptoms set in it is natural to want to help, but owners should be careful in administering human allergy medications such as Benadryl to treat the dog’s symptoms. MNN reports that appropriate dosages may be hard to calculate based on the size of the animal, and owners should always call a specialist before medicating the dog. Owners can also prepare for these scenarios by keeping pet meds such as Chlorpheniramine on hand. This anti-histamine can block the effects of histamine in the animal’s body and remedy contact, inhaled, or drug-induced allergies.
Food allergies can also be common, especially in retrievers such as Labradors and Goldens, and in terriers such as Boston and Cairn. Bulldogs, Boxers and Dalmations are other breeds that may suffer from these. New diets may cause food allergies to manifest, as 66 percent of all dog food allergies are caused by beef, dairy and wheat. Dogs are also commonly allergic to ingredients such as eggs, yeast, corn, soybeans or rice. MNN says that trials feeding the dog different proteins may determine which ingredient he or she is allergic to. High-quality dog food brands that list the proteins as the first ingredients can also solve food allergy issues. Vets may also be able to offer an intradermal skin test to determine the dog’s allergies, and can prescribe Prednisone, which can help swelling and itchy skin caused by allergies. The corticosteroid is sold by the pill and can also help with auto-immune conditions.