How can you tell if your dog is suffering from allergies?
Dogs’ allergies symptoms are usually caused by certain ingredients in its food, a seasonal allergy much like us humans are prone to have, or an environmental allergy.
If your dog seems to be affected with allergy symptoms only during certain times of the year, it’s most likely a seasonal allergy.
Allergies in dogs usually show up as problems with their skin, also known as allergic dermatitis, but allergies do affect the respiratory system of dogs in some cases.
These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Mild seasonal allergies over many years may eventually lead to year-round allergies according to Dr. Becker’s article on Healthy Pets.
Most Common Allergy Symptoms of Dogs
- Itching and scratching
- Itchy ears and shaking head
- Smelly ears – ears that smell bad are commonly infected by yeast or another bacteria
- Loss of fur – bald spots
- Red, irritated skin – especially on the paws, chin, chest, and belly
- Swollen paws – skin is often red on the paws too
- Open sores
- Hot spots – inflamed and itchy, these spots get infected by the common bacterias found on your dog’s coat.
- Vomiting and diarrhea
Common Respiratory Allergy Symptoms of Dogs
- Runny nose
- Watery, sometimes bloodshot eyes
Serious Allergic Reactions
The symptoms below are ones that I would definitely recommend you call your vet if your dog starts experiencing…it may mean life or death if you wait too long!
If your dog has any of these symptoms that suddenly appear, it probably got into something it shouldn’t have and is having a severe reaction to whatever it was….
- Panting excessively
- Excessive swelling – especially of the face, throat, or around ears and eyes
- Severe vomiting and diarrhea
- Dizziness – dog keeps falling down, unstable walking
So, Call Your Vet…like NOW!
Don’t want to scare you, but it’s better to be safe and find out for sure from your veterinarian, rather than be sorry later…they can tell you what you can do immediately to help your dog. It may mean giving your dog something as simple as Benadryl, or it may mean a visit to the vet ASAP.
It helps to know what caused the reaction, so tell your vet everything you know or think may have caused it…I’m not a veterinarian, just a fellow dog owner who has gone through this…and we all survived!
Common Causes of Dogs Allergies
- Food ingredients — corn, wheat, gluten, soy, beef, chicken, and pork
- Environmental — dust, mold, grass, pollen
- Fleas and ticks
- Cleaning products
Since allergies can occur at any age in dogs, it’s a good idea to keep track as best you can of anything coming into your home or even outside your home that your pet has regular contact with. Keep track of your dog’s diet and if adding a new dog food or treat to it’s diet be aware of what the ingredients are in this new food or treat.
For example, if your dog never had allergic symptoms before, and it’s now started to scratch like there’s no tomorrow since using a brand new shampoo, it’s most likely the new shampoo is the culprit of your dog’s itchy behavior. I’d recommend you get a bottle of shampoo that you know you’ve used before and caused no problems for your dog in the past. Don’t use the new one again until ALL of your dog’s symptoms clear up.
If you feel like you really need to use that new brand of shampoo again, then do so, but be prepared to deal with an itchy dog again…I suppose otherwise you won’t know for absolutely sure this is what caused Fido to find scratching as a new favorite, but hopefully fleeting, pastime to fill his days.
I’d also recommend that you write down the name of the shampoo, or whatever the offending product may be, and all of the ingredients in it too. This way you can compare it to the ingredients in the “old” brand you were using and note any differences you find.
One or more of these ingredients in the new brand are probably the cause of your dog’s allergies symptoms.
Compare the ingredients with any other shampoos you might think of trying in the future. This will help to avoid the ingredients that may be the cause of your dog’s allergy symptoms. Avoid the ones that have the exact same ingredients as the new one, which caused the allergies.
If you find a product that only contains one of these ingredients, but is exactly the same as the “old” shampoo brand’s ingredients, it might work for your dog, but it could also be the one ingredient it’s allergic to in the first place…so keep an eye on your dog afterwards and look for any of the dogs allergies symptoms to appear in the next several days or even weeks.
If it causes your dog to have allergy symptoms then there’s one ingredient you know you should avoid in the future!
You can do this with any product, whether it’s dog food, medications, shampoos, treats, or maybe even a new cleaning product you’re using to clean your floors.
Dogs allergy symptoms can be caused by so many different things since like people, all dogs are different.
Once you notice your dog is having any of the symptoms listed above, start thinking about what’s new or different in it’s life. Is it food or medicine? Is it a new dog toy or treat?
Could it be your dog often gets ticks or fleas? Dogs coming back in the house almost every day with ticks or fleas may also be more prone to allergies. There are ways to prevent ticks from taking over your yard, which you can learn more about in one of my earlier posts, How to Get Rid of Ticks.
Could it be something that you thought had nothing to do with your dog? Like a new cleaning product in the house?
Or, just maybe you need to clean your house a bit better and get rid of those dirty old dust bunnies piling up along the baseboards and hiding out under your bed…they add up quick just like the real bunnies, lol.
Except there’s nothing cute about the dusty ones…
Hope this helps you out with understanding more about your dogs allergy symptoms and what could be causing them…I’ll be doing some more research on the subject and will be writing more about this topic very soon…
Until then, have a safe and Happy Halloween with your dog! -Sherry