Like humans, dogs may have food allergies or environmental allergies. Flea bite allergies and contact allergies, also known as atopy, are the most common types of environmental allergies in dogs. Flea bite allergies are a reaction to the saliva of fleas, of course, while atopy is a reaction to those things your dog would contact, such as dust, pollen, and mold. Atopy is usually seasonal, with dogs suffering from tree pollen exhibiting symptoms in the spring and those with fungal allergies showing symptoms in the autumn.
Food allergies are the third most common type of allergy in dogs, accounting for about 10 percent of all allergies in dogs, according to Doctors Foster and Smith. Allergies affect all breeds of dogs, males and females, and neutered and intact dogs equally. Allergies may develop in puppies as young as five months and dogs as old as 12 years.
Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to a harmless substance. In a dog that has an allergy to pollen, for example, the immune system reacts to pollen as if it is harmful. The immune system normally protects the body from harmful substances. When the body encounters an allergen, it releases histamine, a natural chemical that defends the body from the allergy. Histamine also causes the symptoms associated with allergies, such as itching.
Itching is the hallmark of all allergies. Dogs react to itching by licking or chewing the itchy skin or scratching it with their feet. Itching can occur anywhere, but it is most likely to develop on a dog’s face, ears, belly, feet, and armpits. Other symptoms of allergies in dogs include chewing at the feet, constant licking of the flank and groin areas, rubbing in the face, inflamed ears, and occasionally wheezing.
Food allergies that trigger a reaction from the immune system are different from food intolerances, which are conditions in which a dog has trouble digesting food. Food intolerance may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Signs of food allergies in dogs include itching, scratching, red and inflamed skin, coughing, wheezing, and chronic ear problems.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Allergies in Dogs
Early diagnosis and treatment of allergies in dogs are important to the health and well-being of your canine companion. Allergic reactions are uncomfortable. Itching leads to scratching, and scratching can lead to infections. Our veterinarian can determine if your pet has food allergies by suggesting a different food that you can feed your pet for 12 weeks or so. Treatment includes choosing a different food for your four-legged friend.
To diagnose inhaled allergies, our vet will examine your pet and ask questions about your dog’s lifestyle. Treatment for atopy includes avoiding the allergen when possible or administering medications to control the allergies if avoidance is impossible.
Contact Our Local Veterinarian in Danville for More Information!
If you notice your dog scratching and suspect allergies, make an appointment with our veterinarian near Danville. Our veterinarian has the training, tools, and experience needed to diagnose and treat the most common dog allergies affecting pets in California. Tassajara Veterinary Clinic is conveniently located at 3436 Camino Tassajara in Danville, CA. Make an appointment for vet care by contacting us at (925) 736-8387.