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Your Dog's Allergies: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment Options

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According to WebMD, 55 percent of Americans suffer from at least one type of allergy – whether it is tree pollen, mold, or their pet. While you're dealing with the sniffles, itching, and all the other irritating symptoms associated with allergies, you may not realize your dog is suffering right along with you. Dogs can suffer from several types of allergies, and if you don't understand the signs and symptoms, chances are you won't even know your dog has a problem. Here are a few signs and symptoms of dog allergies, and what you can do to help your pooch find relief:

Common Signs and Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs

If your dog has been acting strangely, or suddenly exhibiting some unusual symptoms, the problem might be an allergic reaction. Here are a few of the most common signs and symptoms your dog is dealing with allergies:

  • Constant itching, which can lead to sores and fur loss
  • Runny, irritated eyes
  • Foul smelling ear discharge
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Snoring
  • Swollen and irritated paws
  • Red, crusty, or scaly skin
  • Sneezing

These reactions occur when your dog is exposed to a single or several, allergy-inducing substances. These substances can be inhaled, eaten, or come into contact with your dog's skin.

What Can Trigger Dog Allergies?

If you've noticed a combination of these symptoms, your next step is to determine what exactly is causing this allergic reaction. Here are a few of the most common substances that trigger an allergic reaction in dogs:

  • Fleas and the products used to treat them
  • Grass and weed pollen
  • Tree pollen
  • Dyes and perfumes in soaps and cleaning products
  • Dust and dander
  • Cigarette smoke

These are just a few of the most common allergens that will cause a reaction in your dog. The best way to figure out the allergens that are causing your dog trouble is to have a skin test performed. The veterinarian will use several small needles to introduce different allergens to your dog's skin. When there is a reaction, which is typically in the form of a red bump or irritation, your dog is allergic to that substance.

What About Food Allergies?

In addition to the allergens listed above, there is another potential reason why your dog is suffering from chronic upset stomach, itching, and diarrhea and vomiting: a food allergy. According to Cesar Milan, if your dog is diagnosed with a food allergy, there are several likely culprits, including:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Rabbit
  • Beef
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Dairy

Luckily, if your dog is suffering with food allergies or sensitivities, there is a simple way to fix the issue: expose your dog to specific foods. Your veterinarian will recommend providing your dog with one or two foods at a time, such as cooked rabbit or chicken. As you continue to introduce new foods, one or two at a time, you'll watch for signs of an allergic reaction.

Eventually, once you've isolated all the foods that are causing an allergic reaction, you can find a dog food that doesn't feature any of the allergens.

Treatments for Dog Allergies

Your dog's allergies can make them miserable, but there are several things you can do to help. For example, if your dog is suffering from an allergy to dust, dust mites, or dander, keeping your house vacuumed, swept, and dusted is a great way to combat the problem. If the issue is pollen, try to keep your dogs out of open fields and keep your grass short.

Bathing your dog at least a few times a month with a hypoallergenic soap is a great way to eliminate any allergens from their skin. Your veterinarian might also prescribe an antihistamine or steroid to combat your dog's symptoms. However, be aware that like all prescription or OTC medications, your dog might suffer side effects. Speak with your vet about the potential side effects that could occur if your dog begins taking a medication to treat their allergies.

From constant itching to ear discharge and diarrhea, there are several signs your dog is suffering with allergies. Luckily, with some monitoring and a few lifestyle changes, it is possible to help your dog find relief.