Having a dog with allergies can be confusing and knowing what to do about it can be even more confusing. Dogs can develop different types of allergies including environmental allergies, food allergies, and flea allergies. So, what are allergies anyway? How can you tell if your dog has allergies? And finally, what can you do about it? This last question is what I hear the most and we will get to that. But first, let’s discuss what allergies are and how to tell if your dog has allergies.
What are allergies?
Dogs, not unlike humans, have this amazing system of cells and proteins called the Immune System. The immune system is a complex system that is very efficient at fighting off infections and diseases. Immune system cells are continuously searching for foreign invaders. Once these invaders are recognized, the immune response kicks in. Without this immune response, bacteria and virus’ would wreak havoc. Sometimes, the immune system incorrectly identifies an object as a foreign invader. And, this is where we get allergies. Here is a common example: Pollen gets into your system, your immune system cells recognize it (mistakenly) as foreign invading germs, and the fight starts! So, what does this look like?
How Can You Tell if a Dog Has Allergies?
Just as we can have differing responses to allergies, so can dogs. The symptoms can include itchy paws, red irritated and itchy ears, hives, swelling, red irritated skin, skin infections, ear infections, and loss of fur. Allergies can even cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs. Just as you get an itch from time to time, so do dogs. Just because a dog itches here and there does not necessarily indicate they have allergies. However, if the itching is incessant and accompanied by other symptoms such as redness and ear infections, you most likely have a dog suffering from allergies. So, the big question is: What can you do about it?
What Can You Give a Dog with Allergies?
The way in which you treat allergies in dogs is highly dependent on the severity of the allergies. I am all about the natural paths to solutions so I would personally start with the natural route. I would start by bathing your pup with Itchy Dog Shampoo and providing them with a Skin & Coast supplement daily. If your dog has redness and particularly itchy areas, I highly suggest using this Skin Soother. These are the products I use for my dogs, and they work wonderfully. Before starting this regime, I gave my pups Benadryl every night before bed. This also worked for me. However, as I mentioned, I prefer the natural route, so I changed it up. If the natural route does not work from you, it may mean that your pups allergies are just a little more pronounced. If you have been attempting the natural route for over a week and see no change, try the Benadryl route. I used the grape flavored children’s Benadryl. Each chewable tablet is 12.5 mg. While they state you can give 1 mg per pound of body weight, one tablet worked for my pups. Of course, if it is not sufficient for yours, you can up the dose to a max of 1 mg per pound so if they weigh 25 pounds, 2 tablets would work. If the Benadryl does not work, you may have to go through your veterinarian and your dog may need to get Cytopoint injections or Apoquel tablets. In my opinion, Cytopoint and Apoquel should be your last resort options as there have been adverse reactions reported with these allergy medications. Additionally, there are age and weight requirements when administering these drugs. In most cases, the natural route works, and your pups will thank you for it!
If you have natural options that have worked for you, feel free to share! Knowledge is Power!