Just like humans, allergies in dogs are common and impact all types of breeds. As pet owners, it's important we keep an eye out for symptoms and changes in our dog's behaviour, which can sometimes be as obvious as itching.
Camille Ashforth, Senior Brand Manager at Webbox, is on-hand to answer some of our most asked customer questions about allergies in dogs.
1. What are the most common allergies and skin conditions in dogs?
There are three common types of allergies found in dogs: flea allergies, food allergies and environmental allergies. Itching is one of the most common and obvious symptoms, but it can be tricky to figure out exactly what is irritating your dog, so you should go to the vets if you’re worried about behavioural changes with your dog.
Your dog may have an allergy if you notice any of the following symptoms:
If you notice any allergy symptoms in your dog, it's important you take note of what those symptoms are, how often they occur, when you noticed them and how they may have come about. For example, you might notice your dog itching fiercely after eating, or your dog may experience skin sores after you have cleaned the house or car. Noting down changes in your dog’s symptoms and behaviour will help the vet to quickly diagnose potential problems.
2. Can fleas cause allergic reactions?
Fleas are tiny parasites that can be passed on from other dogs, pets, the outdoors or from the home. Ticks and fleas affect a dog’s skin by biting and sucking their blood in order to reproduce, which can quickly lead to an infestation on your dog and in your home. Pets may suffer with fleas and ticks more during the summer as this is when they thrive, but warmer homes in cooler months can also be a breeding ground for these parasites.
Flea saliva can enter your dog’s body, which causes your pet to itch, and can result in Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Symptoms that your dog may have a flea allergy may also include your dog chewing their fur, and their skin may be red and sore.
To minimise the risk of your dog getting fleas, you should use regularly use a flea treatment. It's important you ensure your home is kept clean, as fleas can live in bedding, in soft furnishing and in wood. Vacuum regularly and wash household items with hot, soapy water. If you suspect a flea allergy in your dog, or want further information on flea treatment for your dog, you should visit your vet.
3. Can dogs get food allergies?
Dogs, just like humans, can have food allergies. In dogs, food allergies come from protein intake, such as chicken or beef. If your dog has a food allergy, you may notice symptoms such as a skin rash, vomiting or diarrhoea. You must visit the vet if you suspect your dog may have a food allergy, as the resulting effects can be serious. The vet will most likely put your dog on a special food trial, which will mean you cannot feed your dog anything else (not even treats!) for up to three months to rule out any causes of the allergy. Only then, and on the vet's recommendation, will you start to introduce another dog food back into your pooch's diet.
Dogs can still live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life even with a food allergy. Webbox Naturals offers a range of dog food and treats makes it easy for you to choose the right food for your dog, depending on sensitivities, to ensure they're living their best life.
4. Can dogs become allergic to their surroundings/environment?
It is very common for dogs to allergies to their surroundings, also known as Atopic Dermatitis (atopy). Allergies may result from pollen, cleaning products, dust and much more.
The difficulty with diagnosing atopy in dogs is that it is tricky to determine whether your dog has a food or flea allergy, as symptoms are extremely similar, such as itching, sore skin and redness. You should visit your vet if you think your dog has atopy. In severe cases, dogs with environmental allergy symptoms will need a blood test and once diagnosed, may need medication. PDSA outlines the dog breeds which are most likely to develop environmental allergies, including Beagles, Labradors Retrievers and Westies.
For less severe cases of environmental allergies in dogs, try walking your dog on a different route to avoid areas with high pollen, and vacuum your home to remove dust, to minimise any risk.
You can, of-course, keep up to speed on our other top tips to prioritise your pet’s health and wellbeing by exploring our news & events.