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Canine Allergies - Does your dog have an Allergy?

Did you know that your dog can have allergies, just like you?

The most common dog allergy is itching of the skin. Their respiratory tract can also be affected causing them to wheeze, sneeze, and/or cough. You may even notice a discharge from their eyes and nose. In some cases, the digestive system can be affected which will cause them to vomit or have diarrhea.

In the United States around 20 percent of the dogs suffer from some type of allergy. Some of the allergies might be allergic to fleas, atopic dermatitis, allergies to food, allergies to some thing in the air, allergies to some thing they come in contact with or a bacterial allergy.

Atopic Dermatitis

This canine allergy is caused by the dog’s immune system hypersensitivity to common substance around them, such as dust mites or mold. Atopic Dermatitis is an allergic skin disease that usually appears within the first two years of a dog’s life.

Watch your dog for grooming excessively, by licking or chewing his back legs, paws, and abdomen, these are signs that he may suffer from atopic dermatitis. Another way to check is to see if his ears are reddened and hot to the touch.

There are signs that are not as noticeable like in the armpits, groin, and between the toes of his paws. Saliva staining is another sign of atopic dermatitis. It appears as a reddish brown stain. If the case becomes severe, the skin may change color, especially the abdomen, from a pink to a dark red to a very dark black.

It can be difficult to diagnose because flea allergy, food allergy and parasitic infections have some of the same signs. After you have ruled out the three above allergies from you list you may then need to have your dogs skin tested for allergies such as dust mites, pollens, and mold. After your vet has determined the cause of the atopic dermatitis he can recommend treatment.

Flea Allergy

No the flea is not the real allergy here, it is the fleas saliva. Your vet can perform a skin allergy test to determine if your dog is allergic to flea saliva. If he is then a regular strict flea control regimen is required to reduce your dog’s symptoms. But, be sure to use the chemicals with caution, as some can harm your dog.

Inhalant Allergy (allergies to some thing in the air)

These allergies are caused by the same things that cause allergies in humans, tree, grass, weed, dust mites, molds, and chemicals.

Any dog is susceptible to inhalant allergies, but the most common dogs affected are terriers, golden retrievers, poodles, dalmations, German shepherds, Chinese Shar-peis, shih tzus, lhasa apsos, pugs, Irish setters, and minature schnauzers.

If you notice your dog chewing at his feet and constantly licking then he may have inhalant allergies. Other common symptoms include biting, and scratching. The worst itching will be on his feet, hind legs, groin and armpits.

Inhalant allergies are often associated with recurring ear infections in you dog.

Food Allergy

Food that your dog may have eaten for years may become a food allergy. So, this type of allergy is often overlooked.

Dogs usually cannot tolerate fish, eggs, whey, milk, chicken, pork, beef, corn, wheat, soy products, chemical preservatives, and artificial sugars in their meal.

It may take a long while to determine the food allergen. A way to find the allergen is to put your dog on a diet that consists of protein and starch that your dog has not eaten before.

Start adding back the ingredients of the dog food you have been feeding him, spreading this out over a week. If the symptoms return then you should be able to determine the food allergen.

Then look for a dog food that does not contain the allergen. Symptoms of food allergies in your dog may be scratching at ears, shaking of the head, itchy skin, licking and biting their back legs, rubbing their face on carpet, inflammation in their ears, coughing and in rare cases vomiting, sneezing, and diarrhea.

Contact Allergy (allergies to some thing they come in contact with)

This is the least common type of allergies in dogs. Some of the common items that may cause a reaction are wood bedding, grass, plants, and flea collars.

Bacterial Allergy

There are several different types of Staphylococcus (Staph) living on your dog’s skin. That is normal! Most dogs do not develop an allergy to them, but some dogs might.

Bacterial allergies will cause hair loss that looks similar to ring worm. The areas that are infected need to be treated with antibiotics.