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Have you ever noticed how your pup starts behaving differently as soon as summer and spring seasons arrive? From itching to licking and scratching, they may present themselves with various reactions as a result of high pollen concentration in the air.
If you’re a pet owner concerned about the onset of certain symptoms in your dog, you may want to consider the possibility of atopic allergies as the primary cause. While humans present with watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and runny nose when allergies attack, pets are likely to exhibit ear infections, skin infections, and itching.
So what do you do when environmental allergies strike with full force? Here are some ways to identify and manage your dog’s allergies, but before we get there, here’s what atopic dermatitis is.
Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common causes of allergic reactions in dogs. They usually appear as hypersensitivity or overreaction to certain substances in the environment like dust mites, soils, pollens, and grasses, to name a few.
It’s likely for your dog to display certain signs and symptoms, especially between one and three years of age. Here are some of them:
⮚ Licking their paws (especially after being exposed to the outside environment)
⮚ Intense biting
⮚ Ear infections
⮚ Skin damage (because of licking or scratching)
⮚ Hair loss
Some allergies tend to be hereditary, while others are mostly due to the environment. When it comes to breeds that are predisposed to developing them, you can expect the following to be at a higher risk:
⮚ Golden Retrievers
⮚ White Terriers
⮚ West Highland
⮚ Labrador Retrievers
However, the list is not only limited to the stated names. Pets in tropical environments are also at a higher risk of developing atopic dermatitis.
Remember, allergies come in all shapes and sizes, and in order to manage them effectively, you must understand the underlying causes.
What Exactly Is Your Dog Sensitive to?
It’s easy to term every allergy brought about by external elements as “environmental.” However, there are many other sources of allergies with their unique set of symptoms. Hence, before you make the mistake of bringing everything under the umbrella of “environmental,” here are some other types of allergies to be aware of.
FAD or Flea Allergy Dermatitis appears as infections and skin irritation in dogs. Again, despite what the name suggests, your dog is not allergic to fleas but their saliva.
Again, it’s not the same as normal itching due to bug bites, for example. Dogs with this type of allergy may even go to the extent of scratching and licking compulsively or chewing their skin until it gets raw and what develops, as a result, is an infection.
One of the most tricky parts about it is the diagnosis because you may not even be able to see the flea(s). For instance, if a flea bites your pup and falls off later, that single bite can cause a severe reaction that may even last for weeks to come.
As much as owners tend to consider it common, food allergies account for just 10% of all allergies. However, it doesn’t mean you should completely discount the possibility that your dog may be sensitive to certain food items. It could either be due to one or several ingredients. There’s no sure way to know until you expose your pup to certain foods.
Again, this doesn’t entail that there’s something wrong with those items. It’s very similar to humans experiencing an allergy to shellfish or peanuts, for instance. Some known food allergens for dogs include proteins found in chicken, lamb, wheat, soy, and beef.
More often than not, you’ll notice some form of digestive problems as the starting point of this allergy, and sometimes it may even result in skin irritation which looks very similar to atopic dermatitis.
Food intolerance is another factor, but it’s not the same as a true allergy because your immune system does not have any role to play here. Hence, in this case, your dog may clearly be going through a problem that regular treatments may not be able to handle.
When it comes to allergies, treatments cannot cure them but rather help you manage them. However, it’s important to set realistic goals and expectations when it comes to different interventions.
Here are some strategies that have effectively worked over the years.
Environmental Allergies: Sadly, there isn’t much you can do about them since the pollen count isn’t under your control. However, medications or immunotherapy can be prescribed based on your veterinarian’s evaluation. Some treatments are meant to help your pet build up a tolerance for certain allergens, while others are focused on helping your dog manage the symptoms.
Flea Allergies: If you’re sure that your dog has a flea allergy, you may have to take significant steps to have flea-control measures in place all year round. Remember, fleas are hard to grasp and sometimes even harder to see, so never disregard the possibility of their presence as some of them can survive even in winters.
Food Allergies: Sometimes, it only takes a single encounter with a certain food item to realize that it doesn’t suit your furry friend’s body. From that point onwards, make sure to never have those items around. This type of allergy requires personal care rather than treatments.
Allergies in pets can be frustrating, especially when you haven’t been able to find a cause. Remember, environmental factors are not the only culprits here. It could even be your dog’s favorite treat that may be causing them this amount of harm without realizing it. Remember, not every symptom requires treatment.
Sometimes all you need to do is incorporate some changes in your and your furry friend’s lifestyle to improve their health. However, when it’s time, don’t hesitate to take the next step and get them treated right away.