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Dog Skin Allergies

allergies in dogs

Skin Allergies in Dogs – Introduction

Do you suspect that your dog has skin allergies? Perhaps your pet has a skin condition that you have tried treating unsuccessfully at home or maybe he has experienced skin swelling or itching from time to time that you just can’t get to the bottom of.

Fortunately, the majority of dog skin allergies are not severe and can be relieved and prevented by making adjustments to your dog’s diet or environment. In this article, we’ll explore some of the more common skin allergies, the reactions they can cause and how your vet can help you to get dog skin allergies under control.

What Are Dog Skin Allergies?

Also known as allergic dermatitis, dog skin allergies are the most common type of allergic reactions experienced by dogs. Allergies are caused by several sources, but the most likely include:

  • Environmental allergens
  • Food allergies
  • Flea allergies

Skin Allergies Caused by Environmental Allergens

A lot of allergens can exist in your dog’s daily environment. Dust, mold, and pollen are just some of the allergens that can cause flare-ups on your dog’s skin. In a lot of cases, these allergens are seasonal. That means you might get some respite from pollen during the winter only to see your dog start scratching once spring rolls around. Allergies caused by environmental allergens usually affect the ears and paws but can also affect ankles, muzzle, groin, muzzle and around the eyes.

Skin Allergies Caused by Food

Food sensitivities and allergies can cause your dog’s skin to become very itchy. Your dog might experience itchy areas on his ears and paws but might also develop gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Skin Allergies Caused by Fleas

Fleas can cause so many more problems for your dog than just an irritating itch. If your dog is allergic to flea saliva, he might experience a nasty reaction that causes his skin to become inflamed, red and scabbed. The accompanying itch will also have him scratching like crazy, causing even more soreness to these areas.

A problem with all skin allergies in dogs is that they can cause a secondary infection. If your dog licks, scratches or bites at his skin to ease the itch and irritation he is experiencing, yeast or bacterial infection may occur.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Skin Allergies in Dogs

Diagnosing skin allergies in dogs can often be a complicated procedure. The first thing your vet will want to rule out is that the symptoms are being caused by any other underlying condition.

Environmental allergen reactions can be one of the most difficult to diagnose. During any normal day, your dog might be exposed to many different potential allergens. A run through the park could expose him to pollen, sleeping in his bed could expose him to dust, and so on. Your vet will work closely with you, asking questions about your dog’s lifestyle both at home and out and about to determine the best course of action.

Food allergies can often be identified by using an elimination diet approach. This involves feeding your dog a single source of carbohydrate and protein for 12 weeks.

Flea allergies are usually quite easy to diagnose. Your vet will do a thorough inspection of your dog’s fur and skin, especially around his neck and shoulder area and base of his tail (common flea hangout areas) and apply a product that is effective at killing all fleas and their eggs. Once the fleas are eradicated, you should notice a big change in your dog almost immediately. Without his live passengers, he will no longer feel the need to itch and scratch at himself and his irritated areas will start to heal.

Cost to Treat:  $25 to $100

Preventing Skin Allergies in Dogs

As with humans, the best way to prevent skin allergies in dogs is to avoid the allergen that causes the problem in the first place. For example, using a regular flea treating on your dog will reduce his chance of attracting fleas and the risk of flea allergy dermatitis.

In addition to making necessary lifestyle adjustments, your vet may also prescribe a medication for your dog that will help to control the symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as itching or a secondary skin infection. You can’t always avoid allergens, so knowing you have a medication that will ease your dog’s irritation and suffering is good peace of mind.

Allergy testing can be tricky and expensive. Your dog deserves the best treatment possible without you worrying about escalating costs. A pet insurance plan with will cover your veterinary costs and ensure your dog receives care of the highest standard.

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