Many of us humans suffer from allergies of various types, so it might not surprise you to learn that dogs aren’t all that different! Immune systems can be tricky things, and we all seem to have our own peculiarities. In fact, your dog can even be allergic to some of the same things you are.
For the most part, allergies in dogs tend to fall into three main categories: Allergies to food, allergies to something in the environment, and flea allergy dermatitis.
Food allergies. Just like us, dogs can develop allergies to certain things in their food. Symptoms will often present as hives or itchiness, especially around the face, ears, and paws. Unsurprisingly, gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting are also common with food allergies. Very rarely, anaphylaxis can occur.
True food allergies can happen, but most often what we’re seeing is a sensitivity which occurs through gradual exposure to offending food ingredients such as corn, wheat, soy, milk, eggs, beef, or chicken.
Environmental allergies. Like us, dogs can display an allergy to mold, dust, or pollen. You might notice that symptoms only present during certain times of year. Once again, itchiness around the paws and ears are the most common signs of an environmental allergy, but you might also notice dermatitis on the muzzle, wrists, ankles, groin, underarms, or around the eyes. Sneezing or runny eyes might also occur.
Flea allergy dermatitis. Some dogs are actually allergic to flea saliva, and experience an allergic reaction when they are bitten. Your dog may become extremely itchy, and then the skin becomes inflamed and red. Scabs may form over time.
As your dog scratches and licks at his skin, a bacterial or yeast infection can also occur. Along with the flea infestation itself, the secondary infection of the skin will require treatment.
As you can see, many allergic symptoms overlap so that it can be difficult to determine the cause of your dog’s problem. If you notice any of the above symptoms of allergies, call us for an appointment so that we can “troubleshoot” together and come up with solutions.