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Allergies: Your Dog’s Slyest Foe

Dog allergies

Dogs are like humans in that they also suffer from allergies. The most common symptom of dog allergies is itching, but the respiratory tract may also be affected. This leads to coughing, sneezing, or wheezing.

There are also cases where dog allergies affect the eyes and the nose. Typically, these allergies cause a discharge, or the digestive system becomes troubled, causing vomiting or diarrhea.

In the United States, approximately 20% of dogs suffer some allergy. They include atopic dermatitis, flea allergy, food allergy, inhalant allergy, contact allergy, or bacterial allergy. They differ in their symptoms and treatment used, but here’s some basic information on them all.

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Atopic Dermatitis

Perhaps the most common dog allergy is canine atopic dermatitis. The dog’s immune system becomes hypersensitive, usually stemming from substances in the environment, like dust mites or molds.

Atopic dermatitis usually occurs during the first two years of a dog’s life. One of the veritable first signs of this dog allergy is excessive grooming. The pup will most likely lick or chew his paws, abdomen, and hindquarters. You can also check the following areas for signs:

  • Ears to see if they are reddened and hot to the touch
  • Armpits, between the toes of the paws, and groin
  • Saliva to see if there’s staining
  • Abdomen to see if it changes color from a pinkish to angry red or black mottling (chronic cases only)
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Flea Allergies

Out of all dog allergies, flea allergy dermatitis is the most common. This condition is actually caused, not by the flea itself, but by their saliva. When coming to contact with the dog’s skin, this saliva causes an allergic reaction.

As you may notice, the pup will suffer from uncomfortable itching and will seem restless around the house. You may reduce symptoms through a strict flea control regimen, but you should be careful that the preparations used are not harmful.

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Inhalant Allergies

Dogs, like humans, may also be allergic to pollens (tree, grass, and weed), dust mites, molds, and chemicals. Inhalant dog allergies are typically caused by any or all of these environmental factors.

Pure bred or mutts can acquire inhalant allergies, but there are certain breeds that are especially susceptible to react:

  • Terriers (especially the West Highland white terrier, Skye terrier, Scottish terrier, and Boston terrier)
  • Golden retrievers
  • Poodles
  • Dalmatians
  • German shepherds
  • Chinese shar-peis
  • Shih tzus
  • Ihasa apsos
  • Pugs
  • Irish setters
  • Miniature schnauzers

This type of dog allergy exhibits symptoms like scratching, biting, chewing at the feet, and constant licking.

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Food Allergies

Dogs can become allergic to food they’ve been eating for years. That’s why many people overlook the possibility of a food allergy. Unlike other common dog allergies, food allergy only accounts for 10 percent of allergy problems in dogs. The foods that dogs often cannot tolerate include:

  • Soy products
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Milk
  • Whey
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Chemical preservatives
  • Artificial sugars

Of course, there are several other dog allergies, and it’s nearly impossible to name all of them. For more information on the symptoms and what you can do to help your dog, contact your local veterinarian for some advice.

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