Dogs are just like humans in that they can also suffer from allergies. The most common symptom of dog allergies is itching, but it can also affect their respiratory tract, which could lead to coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. There have also been cases where the eyes and the nose are affected by allergies, resulting in the dog developing a discharge. They can also cause irritation of their digestive system which can cause vomiting or diarrhoea.
There are many types of allergies your dog could be suffering from including Atopic Dermatitis, Flea Allergies, Food Allergies, Inhalant Allergies, Contact Allergies, or Bacterial Allergies. These dog allergies differ in their symptoms and treatment used. In this blog I want to go through some of the different allergies and symptoms, and I will share a story about one of my own dogs recent skin allergies, and what happened and how I found a way how to stop my dog from itching, that in the end didn’t involve medication.
The first one of the many dog allergies I want to mention is known as canine Atopic Dermatitis. The condition is caused by the dog’s immune systems sensitivity to certain common substances in the environment, things like dust mites or mould.
One of the first signs of this type of dog allergy is the excessive grooming of themselves, with licking or chewing of the paws, abdomen, and hind quarters. Other things you can do to check are:
- Look at the ears, see if they are reddened and hot to the touch.
- Check the armpits, between their toes, and the groin area.
- Are the areas where they are licking stained by their saliva.
- Examine what colour the skin on their abdomen is, has it changed colour from pink to red, mottling can occur in extreme cases.
Some breeds of dog are more prone to these allergies than others but it does not mean that any dog cannot develop allergic reactions to certain things. If not treated the scratching and biting can cause skin infections, so seek veterinary advice if any of these symptoms arise.
Out of all dog allergies, flea allergy dermatitis is probably the most common. Its estimated that over 40% of dogs suffer from flea allergies at some point. The allergy isn’t actually caused by the flea itself, but by their saliva when they bite, which is what causes the allergic reaction. Indications that your dog may have fleas are excessive itching, chewing at the base of their tail, loss of fur, and black specs that look like dirt on dogs skin. The symptoms may be reduced through a flea control treatment, and all bedding, carpets and furniture should be thoroughly cleaned.
A common allergy Humans can suffer from is hay fever, and Dogs may also be allergic to pollen (tree, grass, and weed), dust mites, moulds, and chemicals. Inhalant dog allergies are typically caused by any or all of these environmental factors.
Any dog can suffer from this form of allergy whether a Purebred or mixed breed, but there are certain breeds that are especially susceptible to react some of these I have included below:
- Terriers (the West Highland white terrier, Skye terrier, Scottish terrier, and Boston terriers are most prone)
- Golden Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- Chinese Shar Peis
- Shih Tzus
- Lhasa Apsos
- Irish Setters
- Miniature Schnauzers
Dogs suffering from these allergies exhibit symptoms like scratching, biting, chewing at the feet and constant licking, also puffy runny eyes and discharge from the nose, which can also include sneezing etc and cold like symptoms. Always seek veterinary advice when any of these symptoms become apparent.
Even if your dog hasn’t shown any allergies to food in the past, they can suddenly become allergic to foods they’ve been eating for years. That’s why many people overlook the possibility that any symptoms can be an allergy to food. Unlike the other common dog allergies mentioned above, food allergies only account for around 10 percent of allergy problems in dogs. I have added a list of foods that dogs often can’t tolerate that can cause allergies these include:
Preservatives within their foods
There are other dog allergies, of course, but I have just included the most common here. For more information on the symptoms and what you can do to help your dog, contact your local veterinarian for some advice, if they feel the symptoms indicate a food allergy, they will probably recommend changing different items of food, i.e swapping the proteins, grain etc, to something they don’t usually have. They may also suggest a hypoallergenic diet. While on a special diet you should refrain from treats and any human foods you may give your dogs, until you find a food that does not trigger any symptoms you can then start reintroducing other foods such as treats one at a time, and if any reactions occur you can then eliminate that food.
My Own Dogs Allergy
The whole reason I decided to write a post on this today is because of a recent experience I have been having with one of my own dogs. She is 8 years old and never suffered with allergies or had any skin issues in the past, but about a month or so ago she suddenly started scratching, she hasn’t got fleas so ruled that out, within a couple of days her stomach was red raw, and she had licked a sore patch on her leg and kept licking her paw.
I took her to the vets and he seemed to think after asking where I walk her that it may be a reaction to the long grass. So he put her on a course of steroids, and to be fair they did do the trick and the scratching and licking seemed to ease off and by the time she finished the course she had stopped completely. But within a few days although I had been avoiding the long grass the scratching started again, and the licking of her paws and biting.
While she had been on the steroids I noticed an increase in her appetite, but also after they had finished she didn’t seem to be her normal self, she seemed a lot quieter and more subdued than her normal lively self almost depressed, so I was reluctant to take her back to the vet to be put on more medication.
I wasn’t looking for a way how to stop my dog from itching, but I happened to come across an article about apple cider vinegar, and how it can help different health issues for dogs, I knew it was supposed to be really good for humans and a lot of people use it for many things but had never thought about dogs, so I decided to do a bit of research, and found it can help dogs that are itching and have skin problems.
After doing plenty of research, I thought I would give it a try, so I got a bottle of apple cider vinegar did the recommended dilution of 50/50 with water, and applied it to the areas that she was itching, I must add that it shouldn’t be used if the area has any broken skin, which my dog didn’t have. Literally the next day I noticed the areas did look so inflamed and now over a week later and I have been applying it morning and night she isn’t really scratching at all, and she seems to be back to her normal happy self.
I’m not saying apple cider vinegar should be used if your dog does have an allergy instead of taking them to the vets, I did take my dog, but the medication hadn’t worked so I gave it a try and for her it seemed to work, but always consult a veterinarian first.
Would love to hear your thoughts, and if you have found any ways to help your dog with allergies, please leave your comments below.