How To Tell If Your Dog Has Allergies

Allergies are just a part of life, even for dogs. Like humans, some puppies experience allergies to a wide range of substances they come in contact with on a day-to-day basis. While some allergens cause only mild reactions, some can be very dangerous. As such, it is important to recognize the signs that your dog might be suffering from allergies. So how do you tell if your dog has allergies? First, it’s important to understand the causes and symptoms of allergies, but also what to do if you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction.

General Allergy Symptoms

As in humans, there are a wide range of symptoms of allergies in dogs. These symptoms can be obvious or subtle, so regular veterinary visits are recommended to ensure your dog’s long term health. Nevertheless, the following symptoms are often associated with allergies in dogs:

  • Constant licking or scratching
  • Red, moist, or scabbed skin
  • Red, itchy, or runny eyes
  • Itchy back or bottom
  • Itchy ears
  • Persistent ear infections
  • Excessive sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Paw chewing
  • Swollen paws

In addition to these primary symptoms, your dog may also exhibit secondary signs of allergy including bacterial or yeast infections. These kinds of infections are often associated with hair loss, skin lesions, or dry, crusted skin.

Common Allergens

If you observe some of the above symptoms in your dog, you should immediately consider whether or not there are potential allergens in your dog’s environment. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know if a substance is an allergen, because many substances are associated with allergic reactions. Nevertheless, some of the most common substances that cause allergies in dogs include:

  • Pollen from trees, grass, and weeds
  • Mould spores
  • Dust
  • Dust mites
  • Dander
  • Feathers
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Prescription drugs
  • Fleas Flea control products
  • Scented cosmetics
  • Household cleaners
  • Rubber or plastic
  • Certain fabrics

Food can also cause allergic reactions in dogs, and it can be extremely difficult to identify the food item that is acting as an allergen. Dogs can be allergic to proteins (beef, chicken, and pork), vegetables, wheat, soy, and other food products. If you suspect your dog has a diet-related allergy, you’ll need to carry out some careful investigations. Food allergies are most commonly associated with itchy skin, difficulty breathing, and vomiting and diarrhea. To determine the allergen, you will have to try an elimination diet that exposes your dog to limited food-types; this will allow you to determine the allergen through a process of elimination.

Most importantly, if you suspect your dog is suffering from allergies, visit your veterinarian. S/he will take a complete history of your dog, conduct a physical examination, and ultimately determine the source of the allergy. Subsequently, your veterinarian will help you develop the best treatment plan for your dog.