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How Do I Know If My Dog Is Allergic To Something?

Taking good care of your dog starts with being proactive. You don’t want to wait until your dog gets seriously sick before going to the veterinarian, right? 

Figuring out your dog’s allergies can be tricky, but this act is more than possible. Your dog is a curious creature, constantly sniffing and licking their way through the world. When your dog touches something they’re allergic to, the warning signs will become apparent immediately.

What are the most common dog allergies? How do you keep your dog safe and happy? Keep reading to learn more. 

How to Spot Signs of Dog Allergies

Just like us, dogs have various sensitivities and allergies. Spotting an allergic reaction in your dog is simple once you know what to look for.

If your dog is showing an allergic reaction, you’ll notice the following physical symptoms:

  • Constant itching (such as your dog scratching or rubbing themselves on the floor)
  • Red, inflamed, and/or swollen skin
  • Throwing up
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Hives
  • Runny eyes
  • Ear infections

More often than not, dogs will show several of these symptoms at once. An ear infection once in a while or the occasional sneeze doesn’t denote an allergic reaction. On the other hand, constant sneezing throughout the day or recurrent ear infections are a sign they’re not feeling well!

Related: Why Is My Puppy Limping?

Different Types of Dog Allergies

a pet dog sneezing outside

Let’s more closely define an allergy before moving on to common dog allergies. An allergic reaction is an exaggerated response to what the body perceives as a foreign intrusion.

While dog immune systems are generally good at sorting out the good from the bad, this response can go overboard and cause an acute allergic reaction.

Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

Seasonal allergies are one of the most frequent allergic responses in dogs. Airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mold spores can irritate your dog’s nose and cause all kinds of responses.

You’ll know your dog has seasonal allergies when they sneeze, cough, or have runny eyes during spring or in forested areas. These irritants can sneak through an open door or window even if you keep your dog inside most of the day.

Skin Allergies in Dogs

Another frequent experience dogs go through are skin allergies. Like us, dogs can develop skin conditions like eczema, an irritating inflammation that requires topical treatment.

Another skin condition that affects dogs is flea allergy dermatitis. Most dogs bitten by fleas only experience itching, but flea allergy dermatitis is an allergic response to a flea bite. These bites are notoriously painful and will cause the dog to gnaw on their skin, potentially breaking it and causing a wound.

Food Allergies in Dogs

Food allergies are usually easier to avoid in dogs when you closely monitor their diet. That said, many people do not understand food allergies in dogs and wrongfully believe dogs can eat anything you give them.

Common foods humans eat that dogs should never have in their diet include (but aren’t limited to):

Acute Allergies in Dogs

What’s the difference between an allergy and an acute allergy? The former has a range of symptoms, sometimes mild and other times more moderate.

An acute allergy is severe and life-threatening, potentially causing anaphylactic shock. If your dog goes into shock, they’ll display the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blue skin
  • Shallow breathing
  • Racing heart
  • White gums
  • Swollen skin/hives
  • Drooling

Related: Dog Refuses To Walk? Here Is What You're Doing Wrong

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How to Diagnose Dog Allergies

man petting a large white dog

Diagnosing dog allergies is key to helping your dog live a long, happy life. There’s no need to fret about every little thing they do constantly: just keep a sharp eye out and you will be on the right track!

Can I Test My Dogs for Allergies?

Diagnosing dog allergies is best done with the aid of a veterinarian and an allergy test. These tests generally use skin and blood instead of saliva, since saliva tends to show weak results. 

Help your veterinarian by ruling out certain foods or substances so you can get an answer faster. If needed, take notes in a journal with the potential trigger, date, and dog response.

How to Treat Dog Allergies

Treating dog allergies looks different depending on the allergy and severity of your dog’s reaction. Your veterinarian will determine the best course of action after a round of tests (with possible sedation). 

Flea allergies will go away topical liquids such as Comfortis or Simparica. Your dog may also be given chews to give them a dose of medication with a comfortable beef or chicken flavor. 

Food allergy treatments take more patience, requiring a strict hypoallergenic diet for a few months to rule out possible triggers.

Last but not least, seasonal allergies are treated with steroids, oral medications, and/or injectable medications.

Related: How To Keep Dogs From Digging Under Fences

Can I Still Walk My Dog If They Have Allergies?

large white dog wearing the RIFRUF Caesar 1S in Guava

Most dogs with allergies can still go on walks despite their condition. That said, we recommend you defer to your veterinarian’s advice so you don’t inadvertently make your pet feel worse!

If you and your dog are allowed to go on walks, make sure they’re as comfortable as possible. While dog paws look tough, they’re quite sensitive and can be damaged by sharp glass, hot gravel, or snow melting chemicals. We provide high-quality dog accessories that protect your dog’s delicate skin, paw pads, and claws.

If you’re tired of picking burrs and foxtails out of your dog’s fur after every walk, you’re in good hands. Our cotton fleece hoodies are not just snuggly, they’re protective.

Protect your pet with clothes designed to last! Check out our hoodies, booties, and essential kits.

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