Types of Allergies in Dogs
Allergies are a reaction to foreign substances by the body's immune system. There are quite a few different types of allergies in dogs: skin allergies, food allergies and environmental allergens which all pose challenges for dogs and their owners. To make things more complicated, the symptoms of all these different types of allergies can overlap.
Skin allergies, called ‘allergic dermatitis’ are the most common type of allergic reactions in dogs. There are three main causes:
1. Flea allergy dermatitis
2. Food allergies
3. Environmental allergens
1. Flea allergy dermatitis is an allergic reaction to fleabites. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva which makes affected dogs extremely itchy and their skin may become red, inflamed, and scabbed. You may also notice signs of fleas, such as flea dirt, or even see the fleas themselves.
2. Food allergies and sensitivities can cause itchy skin, as well. The most common places dogs with food allergies itch are their ears and their paws, and this may be accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
What most people mean when they say that their dog has a food allergy is that their dog has a food sensitivity or food intolerance. Food sensitivities, unlike true allergies, do not involve an immune response and are instead a gradual reaction to an offending ingredient in your dog’s food, for example to beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soya or milk.
3. Environmental allergens such as dust, pollen, mould and house dust mites can cause atopic allergic reactions or atopic dermatitis. In most cases, these allergies are seasonal, so you may only notice your dog itching during certain times of the year. As with food allergies, the most commonly affected areas are the paws and ears but also include the muzzle, underarms, groin, around the eyes, and in between the toes.
All skin allergies pose the risk of secondary infection. As your dog scratches, bites, and licks at his skin, he risks opening up his skin to yeast and bacterial infections that may require medical treatment.
Bee stings and vaccine reactions, among other things, can cause an anaphylactic response in some dogs, which is why it is always a good idea to keep a close eye on your dog following the administration of any new vaccine, drug, or food item. Luckily, anaphylactic reactions are rare in dogs.
Symptoms of Allergies:
- Red, inflamed skin
- Itchy Ears
- Chronic ear infections
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Constant licking
Diagnosing Allergies in Dogs
If you have ever undergone allergy testing then you know that diagnosing allergies is often a complicated, lengthy and costly process.
The first thing your vet may choose to do is rule out any other condition that could be causing your dog’s symptoms. If your vet feels that an allergy is a likely cause they may suggest allergy testing to try and determine the cause of the allergen that is causing the reaction.
Treating Allergies in Dogs
The best way to treat an allergy is the avoidance of the cause and allergen but this may or may not always be possible. But in terms of treatment, it depends on your dog's type of allergy. For example, the best way to treat flea allergy dermatitis is to kill the fleas, whereas the best way to treat a food allergy or food intolerance is a change in diet. Food allergies are often diagnosed using an elimination diet which means removing ingredients one at a time for a set period to see whether this alleviates the allergy.
Proflax Skin & Coat can help alleviate the symptoms of Allergies
Skin & Coat is a premium 100% natural holistic superfood supplement that will help your dog to manage their sensitivities. It contains omega rich cold pressed flaxseed oil and 7 of the best high strength active herbs; Wild Nettle, Sarsaparilla, Chamomile, Skullcap, Milk Thistle, Ginkgo and Liquorice which helps to keep your dog's skin itch free and has a relaxing, calming effect. Some of the ingredients contain herbs that have anti-histamine and steroidal properties and will assist in detoxifying the system of toxins and aid digestion. It will also help to keep their coat shiny and reduce moulting so is ideal for breeds that have shed their coat and needs to get it back for showing purposes. The inclusion of flaxseed oil helps to maintain the overall good health of the heart, immune and reproductive systems, support mobility & circulation and balance metabolism. The active ingredients provide nutritional support: vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Available in 250ml, 500ml and 1 litre.