How to Know What Your Dog Is Allergic To
Is your dog showing signs of itching, or is he scratching, chewing, or licking himself excessively? If so, your dog could have an allergy. Allergies are relatively common in pets, and they are a top reason for visits to the veterinarian.
Most dog allergies affect the ears and skin and tend to worsen with age. Knowing the signs of allergies can help you find relief for your dog. You need to understand what your dog is allergic to.
Different Types of Allergies
Knowing the types of allergies that can affect your dog is crucial. Flea allergies are dogs' most common type of skin disease because their saliva contains an allergen that affects them. A single flea bite can cause severe itching.
Environmental or seasonal allergies can result from things around the home, including plants, mold, dust mites, and animal fibers. Food allergies are an adverse reaction to certain foods; they can develop at any point in the dog's life. The most common food allergies are from protein sources.
Signs of Dog Allergies
Signs that your dog has an allergy include scratching, itchy skin, licking, red skin, face rubbing, and loss of fur. Other signs are recurrent ear and skin infections and gastrointestinal symptoms. The severity and type of the symptoms will depend on the type of allergy. Irritation and itchy skin are usually associated with flea allergies.
Licking, scratching, and face rubbing are usually signs of environmental allergies that cause red skin, loss of fur, and infections. Diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms are signs of food allergies.
Testing for Allergies
Allergy testing is conducted for environmental or seasonal allergies. Blood and skin tests for food allergies are not usually accurate, but they can help with environmental allergies. Before testing for allergies, the veterinarian must rule out any other cause for the symptoms.
Allergy testing helps determine what the dog is allergic to, not just to confirm that the dog has an allergy. Saliva and hair testing for food and environmental allergies are not always reliable. Skin tests are the most accurate way to test for allergies.
Dog Allergy Treatments
Treatment for dog allergies will depend on the type. The vet must determine what your dog is allergic to before prescribing medicine. Treatment for flea allergies involves eliminating the fleas and reducing skin irritation. Flea control is essential, and it can include the use of medications and other products.
The vet will prescribe a hypoallergenic diet for several weeks if your dog has a food allergy. Treatments for environmental allergies include oral and injectable medications, steroids, fatty acids, and frequent baths.
What Is Your Dog Allergic to?
If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, you need to know the ingredient causing the problem. Understand the difference between food sensitivity and a food allergy. A food allergy will trigger an immediate response, while a food sensitivity is gradual.
Your vet will need to know what you feed your pet and the symptoms you have observed. The vet will rule out other issues that could lead to the signs before recommending an elimination diet. Getting professional help is the best way to determine if your dog has an allergy.
For more on how to know what your dog is allergic to, call Port Royal Veterinary Hospital at 843-379-7387 to reach our office in Port Royal, South Carolina.