Those Doggone Allergies

Those Doggone Allergies

Just like humans, dogs can develop allergies. If your dog often gets fits of coughing or sneezing, skin problems, or seems generally uncomfortable, he may be suffering from an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of allergies in dogs include itchy, red or scabbed skin, increased scratching, runny eyes, sneezing, coughing, snoring, and constant licking. Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to pollen and mold, dust, cigarette smoke, cleaning products, prescription drugs, fabrics, and food.

If food is the suspected allergen, pinning down the culprit can take some work. A food allergy in a dog usually results in itchy skin, ear infections, and gastrointestinal problems. Your vet can work with you to use an elimination diet to identify the specific allergens. If you and your vet cannot figure out what is causing these symptoms, your dog may need further testing using an intradermal skin test similar to the one used on humans.

If you suspect an allergy, the first line of defense is to remove the aggravating substance from your dog’s environment.  Irritated skin can be treated with topical medications. Practice good flea control and keep your home’s environment clean and as free from dust and mold as possible.  Weekly bathing can help remove allergens from your dog’s coat. If food is the problem, then your vet can recommend a diet free from any identified allergens.

If those steps don’t completely eliminate the symptoms, your vet may consider prescribing medication to help. There are allergy injections and some medications that have been shown to be useful. Check with your vet to find out all the options available to you and your dog.

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