Sneezing, watery eyes, nose dripping and itchy skin. Yup, sounds like allergies. Just like humans, dogs can have allergies too. Also, like the 2-legged mammal, allergies can show up at any stage of your pet’s life even if they did not exhibit signs of an allergic reaction before. But how do you know for certain it is allergies and not something more serious? It’s not like your best bud can say, “The ragweed is really bad this year! I can barely stand it.”
Rule of Thumb – Two Main Types of Allergies
1) Food 2) Outdoor Allergens
What’s the Difference?
Food allergies will show up year-round. Environmental allergies typically occur
during the change of seasons.
However, in areas with mild winters, it can be confusing to tell the difference. But don’t fret! There are still ways you can get to the bottom of your babies ailments and solve the problem.
Signs Your Pet Has Allergies
Skin. Even though we all get allergies, pets typically show signs of it through their skin. Inflammation, intense itching, and skin irritation resulting in hot spots or welts will occur when your pooch is suffering.
Ears. In addition, a pet that is having a horrible skin reaction will tend to have a irritation in their ears as well. (Poor babies can’t catch a break!) You will see (and smell) the signs of an overproduction of bacteria and/or yeast in the ear canal. Your pet will scratch her ears, rub her ears/side of head on carpets and furniture and shake her head, sometimes violently because of the pain. Simply flipping the ear flap over and peering inside, you will see a puffy ear canal that is sometimes filled with infectious fluid. There may be spots of blood as well from your baby pawing the swollen ear.
Feet. Seasonal allergies can do a number on dogs’ feet and pads. If you see your pet constantly licking and chewing their feet, you might want to check for allergies.
Respiratory. Experts say that you may not see as many respiratory problems, however, any experienced pet care professional will tell you that they have seen multiple cases of red, puffy and watery eyes, running nose and a cough. Your pet may also feel a little warmer than normal.
Keeping Track and Talking to Your Vet
When in doubt with any health concerns with your pet, please visit your local veterinarian. They are your best resource into your fur-babies well-being. They can conduct an allergy test that can correctly identify what is affecting your best friend negatively. But I always feel that it is best to be prepared and be a voice for your pet.
Get a Doggie Calendar
Exclusively just for your pet, buy a monthly calendar that you can track and record your pet’s behavior, sleeping patterns, eating habits and any of the above allergy signs. By tracking yearly when your pet is uncomfortable, and monitoring the daily news for outdoor allergens, you can have an idea of what ails your best friend. You can take this information with you to your vet to assist with prognosis and treatment.
Treatments and Precautions
To help your beloved bestie fight allergies, start with the right food. A healthy diet will better your bud’s immune system, which in turn, will lessen the aggravation of allergies.
Skin Issues: Weekly medicated baths will help soothe their itchy, irritated skin. At Million Dollar Dog, we use Skin Therapy by Envirogroom. It is both a medicated wash and an antiseptic that will help fight the nasty hot spots as well. Soak your baby for 10 minutes in this medicated shampoo and rinse thoroughly. Do this weekly until you see the relief on your pet’s face. Then switch to every other week, gradually moving to once a month throughout the season.
Ears: Nothing is better than a good ear cleaner like Natural Green by Envirogroom. Be preventative, and clean your pet’s ears out at least once a week but more frequently during their more serious allergy breakout. When infection has occurred, you must contact your vet for medication.
Feet: You can also use your medicated shampoo to treat itchy feet. Put the product in a basin or tub with lukewarm water and soak her feet for 5-10 min.
All Over Relief: The best way to soothe your poor pet while they are having an allergy nightmare is Benadryl. The general rule of thumb is 1 milligram per 1 lb of your pup. Please consult your vet for possible use and dosage with your pet. She may be on other medication that will not do well with the Benadryl.
Supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids are amazing for many reasons but one being with allergy sufferers. Omega-3 keeps inflammation down which will help soothe your pet during the rough months.
When All Else Fails
If you are a sufferer from seasonal allergies, you know that you can do everything right and still feel lousy. Your pet will be the same. However, by monitoring your pet’s behavior, watching the skin, ears and feet and documenting what you see, you will better be able to treat her when she is at rock bottom during the seasonal flare.
Take time to wipe her down after every walk, removing any pollen and outdoor allergens that may be on her coat and feet. Vacuum ‘her area’ often to keep the threat down. Schedule a vet appointment for customized advice and please, please give her lots of love and affection during her battle with the mold, tree & flower blooms, grass and ragweed. She needs to know that you are in this battle together!