Believe it or not, allergies are quite common in dogs of all sizes, breeds, and ages. If you are worried that your dog has allergies, there are some things that you can do to help them. But first, let's take a look at some of the most common signs that dogs are suffering from allergies. Although allergies are not typically a serious illness we highly recommend getting pet health insurance for your dog. It could save you a fortune in the event your pup needs serious health care. It can also cut down the costs on average pet visits. See our article here on the highest rated pet health insurance companies we could find.
Signs of Allergies In Dogs
If you notice that your dog is scratching, biting, or licking their skin excessively, it is likely because they are feeling itchy in that area. If itching is your dog's only symptom, your veterinarian will likely first check for parasites or infections. If your dog is clear of those, the itching is likely due to allergies. Dogs who itch year-round are presumably having an allergic reaction to food or an environmental variable such as dust. Still, dogs who itch only seasonally may have allergies to pollen or mold.
Hives are not overly prevalent in dogs, but if there are hives on your dog's body, they are likely the result of allergies. Dogs with allergies may develop hives from insect bites or stings, medications, inhaling specific allergens (such as breathing in pollen or dust), or coming in contact with individual plants or new products such as shampoos. Many times, hives disappear as quickly as they appear, but if your dog is experiencing chronic hives, contact your veterinarian to see if they can help you get to the root of the allergies.
If you notice that your dog's face, ears, lips, or eyelids are swollen, then it might be a sign of allergies. It's essential that if you notice swelling in your dog's face that you contact your veterinarian. If their face is swelling, then there is a chance that their throat may be swelling, which can lead to trouble breathing for your dog.
Dogs who frequently suffer from diarrhea may be feeling the side effects of specific allergies. Dogs with food allergies often show severe distress in their stomach. It can be tricky to pinpoint precisely the cause of food allergies in dogs since dogs may have diarrhea up to multiple hours after eating. Your veterinarian can help you work on an elimination diet plan so that you can get to the root of the problem.
Like diarrhea, vomiting is also a sign that your dog has a food allergy. Of course, dogs may throw up simply because they ate too fast or ate something that did not agree with them. But if vomiting is a recurring problem, it may be the result of a food allergy. Veterinarians will help you to discover what exactly is causing your dog's food allergies by using an elimination diet.
Naturally, dogs sniff around a lot, and sneezing is a way for their bodies to expel irritants. But if your dog is sneezing a lot, it might be due to allergies. If your dog inhales things like pollen, dust, or mold spores, it could cause them to have an allergic reaction, and you may notice them sneezing constantly.
7. Itchy ears or chronic ear infections
Problems with dogs' ears often point to allergies. Because of this, dogs with allergies are more likely to get ear infections than dogs who do not have allergies. Ear infections are often the result of allergies to dust mites, pollen, and specific food allergies. If your dog is getting reoccurring ear infections, talk to your vet about the possibility that your dog has allergies.
8. Constant licking
One of the most common reasons for dogs constantly licking is allergies. If your dog has itchy skin or paws, they may lick them excessively. This is because licking releases endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers, making the itching feel better. Another thing to look out for is if the area that your dog is licking is inflamed, irritated, or losing hair. This is a sign that your dog is licking too much.
9. Itchy or runny eyes
Allergies can cause dogs to experience itchy and runny eyes. Allergies can cause dogs to develop conjunctivitis. You will notice conjunctivas in your dog if the lining of their eyes is inflamed or if you see mucus, pus, or water-like discharge. Your dog's eyes may also start to get red- this is another sign of allergies.
10. Red and inflamed skin
When dogs suffer from allergies, one of the telltale signs is red or inflamed skin. When dogs are exposed to an allergen, they often become itchy, and their skin will turn red and irritated as a result. Your dog's red skin will likely be painful to the touch for them as well.
The Types of Allergies Dogs Experience
Allergies in dogs are usually broken up into three different categories: Skin allergies, food allergies and food sensitivities.
Skin allergies, also known as allergic dermatitis, is the most common in dogs. This can be apparent if your dog is very itchy and is continuously scratching. This may cause your dog's skin to become inflamed, red, or even scabbed. A few different causes usually cause skin allergies in dogs, and the spots where your dog itches the most can give you clues as to what type of allergies they have. If your dog is very itchy at the base of its tail, then that could be a sign that your dog is reacting to flea bites. If your dog is itching at their ears, paws, muzzle, stomach, or around their eyes, this might signal that your dog is allergic to environmental elements- such as mold, dust, or pollen. A lot of time, environmental allergies are seasonal, so you might only notice your dog itching at certain times of the year.
Food allergies in dogs are not as common. Dogs with food allergies may show a wide variety of symptoms- ranging from hives and swelling to vomiting and diarrhea. In rare cases, dogs can develop a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Signs of anaphylaxis in dogs include hives, a swollen face or muzzle, excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and a blueish tint to the tongue and gums. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and if you believe that your dog is having an anaphylaxis reaction, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Dogs can also experience food sensitivities. The difference between sensitivities and allergies is that with sensitivities, the reaction is caused by the digestive system, while the immune system causes an allergic reaction. Signs that your dog may have a food sensitivity include vomiting, diarrhea, a dull coat, flakey skin, and reoccurring infections in their ears or paws. See our article here on the 10 highest rated quality dog foods for your furbaby.
Testing For Allergies in Dogs
If you believe that your dog has allergies, make sure to make an appointment with your veterinarian so that your dog could get officially evaluated. If your veterinarian believes that allergies are a likely cause of your dog's symptoms after an exam, they may suggest allergy testing. Testing for allergies in dogs is usually done in one of two ways:
Intradermal skin testing
This occurs by a veterinarian injecting small amounts of different suspected allergens under the skin's surface. The drawbacks of this testing method are that dogs have to be given anesthesia, and they may have to have large areas of their coat shaved so that the reactions can be observed.
A RAST test
The other most common way to test for dogs' allergies is by giving them a RAST test. A RAST test is a blood test that will be submitted for laboratory analysis. RAST tests do not require dogs to go under anesthesia, and they will not have to get their coat shaved.
Treatment of Allergies in Dogs
The best way to help a dog with allergies is to make sure that they avoid the allergen as much as possible (removing the specific food that they are allergic to from their diet, discontinuing the use of a particular shampoo). In some cases, veterinarians may also prescribe an allergy medication for dogs to help with the symptoms associated with allergies.
Allergies in German Shepherds
German Shepherds are a bit more susceptible to immune disorders, including allergies. These dogs are a high-risk breed for developing allergies, especially skin allergies. If you see that your German Shepherd is showing signs of allergies, it is best to take them to the veterinarian to be looked at. The most common places that German Shepherds will experience allergic reactions would be on their face, ears, paws, legs, and stomach.
Additionally, German Shepherds are also at an increased risk of developing food allergies, and the effects of these allergies will often appear on their skin.
The most common allergies that German Shepherds seem to develop are allergies to fleas, grains in dog foods, pollen, dust mites, mold, and cleaning products that they may come in contact with.
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