Dog allergies are not usually life-threatening, but allergies can cause discomfort and make your dog miserable while also creating other complications. Most dog allergy symptoms are associated with skin problems and can lead to chronic respiratory issues if untreated for long periods.
Here is a list of allergy symptoms commonly found in dogs:
- Watery eyes
- Irritated skin or loss of fur
- Habitual scratching
- Excessive licking
- Repeated sneezing or wheezing
- Chewing on a specific part of the body
- Frequently rubbing against furniture, walls, or other items around the house or yard
Most allergies develop in a dog's second year of life. In your dog's first year, he or she will be exposed to many types of allergens, primarily through the skin. In a dog's second year of life, its immune system may overreact to the antigen(s), causing a release of immune cells that unleash inflammatory substances, leading to itching symptoms.
One of the first things we do to discover the cause of your dog's symptoms is a thorough exam. We will examine the external skin for parasites such as fleas and mites. We may perform diagnostics to help us determine what types of infections may be present.
If we conclude that your dog's allergies are the root cause of skin irritation or infections and discomfort, we may recommend testing specific allergens.
Dog Allergen Groups
Dog allergens typically fall into the following groups:
- Food allergies – Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to certain ingredients in food.
- Contact allergy – This includes many different types of grass and plants. It could also include mold and dust mites.
- Flea allergies – A large number of dogs are highly allergic to fleas.
- Inhalant allergy – Allergens are present in the air.
The most common allergies found in dogs are contact allergies. Contact and inhaled allergies can cause an allergic reaction in the body that centers mainly on or in the skin and causes extreme irritation. A dog's skin can become so irritated that they scratch persistently and eventually cause an infection.
If you observe your dog exhibiting any of the above symptoms, please contact Warwick Animal Hospital in Newport News, VA, (757-595-3337) and make an appointment. Early diagnosis and care of dog allergies increase the likelihood of your dog's treatment being successful. Early diagnosis and treatment can also be less expensive than delaying treatment.