If you talk to your veterinarian, he will tell you that there are some breeds of dogs that are more susceptible to dog skin allergies than others. There are a number of reasons why some dogs are more susceptible, including smaller sized nasal passages, allergies to the foods they eat and allergies to flea bites. There are even a few that have allergies to their own coats and the dander it produces.
Common Symptoms of Skin Allergies in Dogs
In most cases, you should have no problem seeing that your dog is suffering from skin allergies. In addition to constant chewing and scratching, you might see raw patches of skin caused by his incessant scratching. You may even see missing patches of hair if the allergies are left untreated for an extended period of time. Among the other symptoms worth noting are:
- Red skin
- Watery eyes
- Excessively licking or chewing his paws
- Diarrhea and vomiting
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, be sure to keep a close eye on him; allergies can be serious in dogs just like they are in humans. With any luck the symptoms will go away on their own, if not, then it may warrant a trip to the vet. Allergies can appear suddenly and then disappear just as quickly. This usually means that the allergen that your dog has encountered is uncommon, and may not trouble your pet again. If the symptoms persist, it will be time to figure out what in your pet’s environment is causing them.
Isolating the Cause of Your Dog's Skin Allergies
Skin allergies are just as miserable for pet’s as they are for humans. To provide your dog with the relief he needs you must first find out what is causing the allergy. One of the best ways to do this is to think about any changes you may have made in your dog's life right before the skin allergies flared up.
There are many allergens that can be causing the problem, but there a few things you can check on your own before heading to the vet. Did you change the food he normally eats in favor of another brand? Have you started taking him to a new dog park, or has spring arrived, bringing with it flower and weeds in the areas of your yard where he plays? Fleas and mites are also a common cause of allergies, so make sure to give your dog a thorough examination to see if any of these pests have taken up residence.
One way to narrow down the cause of your dog's skin allergies is start keeping a journal of your dog's activities. A journal will help you to see any changes that have been made to your dog’s routine. Over time, you can eliminate the changes one at a time until you until you are able to find the source of your dog's skin allergies. Keep in mind that some breeds tend to develop breathing issues as they age. This is quite normal, yet may still give the appearance that your dog has allergies, when in fact they are not.
Breathing Issues Can Create Allergies
While breathing problems in and of themselves may not be an allergic reaction, they can make your dog far more susceptible to certain types of allergies such as hay fever caused by grass and seeds. Depending on the breed of your dog, he may experience breathing difficulties during extremely hot or cold weather or when he is over-stressed. You can also induce this problem if you over-exercise your dog. Dogs with short, boxy snouts tend to have problems with their nasal passages and may be more susceptible to problems of this nature.
How Do You Treat Your Dog's Skin Allergies?
Keeping the area where your dog sleeps as clean as possible is your first step to helping your dog overcome his skin allergies. This entails washing his bedding as frequently as possible, vacuuming the area around his bed daily, and washing everything he wears such as coats or sweaters in a hypo-allergenic laundry soap. This can help to alleviate the vast majority of the allergens that cause skin allergies.
While you are in the process of cleaning up his bedding you should also take the time to take care of your dog’s personal hygiene as well. Bathe your dog using a high quality, non-allergenic shampoo that also kills fleas and mites (if fleas and mites are an issue). If fleas or mites are the cause of your dog’s allergies, you will need to eliminate them from your dog and home. If your dog has sensitive skin, there are a number of shampoos on the market designed specifically for this type of situation.
If after taking all of these steps, you dog still has skin allergy problems, you should take him to see his veterinarian. There are medications available that can be prescribed to help clear up allergy symptoms and allow your dog to heal and enjoy a long and healthy life.