Allergies in Dogs:
Learn the Triggers

Allergies in dogs are chronic and ongoing. They can be triggered by many things, including:

  • Flea saliva
  • Vaccine reaction
  • Food (especially milk products, beef, corn and wheat)
  • Herbicides and pesticides (including topical flea and tick preventives and weed killers used in your yard)
  • Air-borne allergens such as pollen, ragweed and dust
  • Household cleaners

An allergic reaction (an immediate, extreme response such as hives and difficulty breathing) can also be triggered by any of the above, but is most likely to be caused by:

  • Bee, hornet or wasp sting
  • Spider bite

Controlling Allergies in Dogs

Vets will often shave the area around a hot spot caused by licking so that the area is easier to treat.

Allergies in dogs often develop by the age of three and worsen with age, if left untreated. If you have allergies, you know firsthand there is no cure for them; the goal is to control them. That's where your veterinarian comes in. You will need to work closely with your vet to determine the cause of your dog's allergies. Once the cause has been determined, your vet can offer suggestions for treatment.

If your dog's scratching is seasonal, veterinary dermatologists suggest bathing your dog weekly during spring and summer to wash allergens such as pollen from the coat and skin before they cause an allergic reaction.

If your vet determines your dog suffers from airborne allergies such as dust, you can reduce the likelihood of triggering a reaction by dusting and vacuuming your home weekly and invest in an air filtration system if you can afford it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Our dog Petey (that's a photo of his back above) attracts  allergens in his coat. We jokingly call him Pigpen (after the Charlie Brown character always surrounded by a cloud of dirt). You can see the film of dust/dirt/allergens sitting on his black coat each time he comes into the house after being in the yard. From about August until the first hard frost, Petey gets a bath every one or two weeks. In between baths, we use Burt's Bee's spray for hotspots, followed by a toweling, as a "quick clean up." In the event we're out of Burt's, I get a wet paper towel and run it through Petey's fur.

For more information, visit Dog Allergy Symptoms and Dog Food Allergies  on this web site. Or to find a veterinarian who specializes in dog skin problems, visit the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. The information on Dog-Health-Today is meant for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a professional veterinarian.

Allergic Reactions

While in the same realm as allergies, allergic reactions are usually severe and sudden. A dog having a reaction to a bee sting or spider bite is at risk of having his/her airway close. Fast action on your part is essential. Visit my page Bee Stings in Dogs for important information that can help you save your dog's life. 

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