How to recognize, treat and prevent dog skin allergy.
Dogs are robust animals, with bags of energy. So it might surprise you to know just how many ailments and sicknesses they are susceptible to.
Skin allergies are just one of the health problems dogs have, and while they may seem minor compared to other canine illnesses, they can be very uncomfortable for your dog. Left untreated they can also lead to more serious problems.
If your dog starts to lick, chew and scratch at his coat and skin compulsively, chances are that he has a skin allergy, and your first stop should be the vet.
However, it doesn’t need to get to that. There are many things you can do to prevent a dog skin allergy becoming a problem.
Dog Skin Allergy: Warning Signs
Most skin allergies are caused by one of three catalysts. Flea bite allergies are most common, followed by food allergies, and then environmental irritants, like dust or pollen.
The first indicator of an allergy will be red, inflamed skin. Swelling may also occur, especially if the dog has been scratching and biting.
There may also be hair loss, either due to the dog scratching or due to the allergy itself. If your dog does start to lose clumps of hair, or gets an ear infection, it is most likely a food allergy related. This is fairly common in dogs that eat dry dog foods.
Dog Skin Allergy: Which dogs are at risk?
Skin allergies can occur in all dogs, regardless of breed, gender or age. Dogs that are fed dry kibble tend to have a higher rate of food allergies and short haired dogs are more likely to suffer from allergies due to environmental factors.
Hunting and retrieving breeds tend to be less susceptible to flea bite allergies by this is by no means exclusive.
Dog Skin Allergy: Prevention
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the chance of skin problems in your dog.
For starters, make sure your dog is given a flea treatment on a regular basis. This applies doubly for dogs that have flea-bite allergy. And it is also a good way to protect your dog from other external parasites, like ticks.
Additionally, feeding your dog a healthy, balanced diet will avoid the possibility of food allergies. Feed the best quality kibble you can afford, and steer clear of dog foods that are grain based. Corn, soy and wheat have all been directly linked to allergies that dogs can develop.
Processed meats can also cause food allergies, while table scraps contain many foods that a dog’s digestive system cannot process.
If, despite all your preventative measures, your dog starts to show signs of skin problems, take him to the vet as soon as possible.
The vet will likely run some blood tests and possibly recommend an elimination diet, in order to pinpoint the reason for the allergy.
Very often, a simple change of diet is all that is needed to treat a dog skin allergy.