Treatments for dog allergies
When most of us think of dog allergies, we probably think about whether or not WE are allergic to dogs. However, there are many dogs that suffer from allergies, just as we do. Diagnosing and treating your dog is important in order to keep them from having to deal with these troublesome reactions.
Identifying the Allergens
The first thing you need to do before you can start any dog allergy treatment is to discover what the allergen is. You can do this by keeping track of the symptoms that your dog is having and when he or she is having them. Try to remember what they were playing with, where they were, and what changes you had made recently in your home, their diet, etc. This will give you an excellent record to show the vet when you bring the dog in for an appointment.
What Kinds of Symptoms Might I See?
When you are dealing with a dog with allergies, you might see symptoms like:
- Wet nose
- Breathing issues
Removing the Allergen
One of the best ways to prevent dog allergies in the first place is to remove the allergen from the dog before it can cause a reaction. And the best way to do this is to make sure you are bathing your dog regularly, especially after they have been outside. If you don't have a lot of time to bathe your dog, you can always simply wipe them down with a wet washcloth or a specially designed pet wipe. This will help to remove pollen and any other irritants that might be hurting your dog.
Other Treatment Options
There are a number of different treatment options for dogs that are allergic to various irritants:
- Fatty acid supplements/additives - Some current research is indicating that a diet high in fatty acids can help reduce the symptoms of allergies in your dog. Try to find a pet food that you and your vet can agree on that has a high level of these nutrients.
- Topical treatments - If your dog is suffering from a skin reaction allergy, you may want to talk to your vet about topical treatments. These are often only available with a prescription, but they are highly effective if used as directed. The main concern with these treatments is that your dog will lick it off itself or wipe it off before it's had an effect.
- Oral treatments - Just as humans have allergy pills, dogs can also take antihistamines if they have been diagnosed by a vet. These pills can be mixed into the dog's food or given by hand. They will need to be taken as directed, especially in high allergen months.
- Immunotherapy - There are some studies indicating that when all else fails, your dog might want to undergo immunotherapy, or hypo sensitization. This involves exposing the dog to small amounts of the allergen until they build up a resistance.
- Steroids - If the dog is having a really hard time with breathing symptoms, steroids may be indicated in the treatment.
There are also some natural therapies like biotin, homeopathy, and vitamin treatments that might also help.
Talking with your vet about the possibilities is a great place to start when you fear your dog has allergies. For some dogs, these are only seasonal and will hardly disrupt their playtime. Still, other dogs will simply grow out of the allergies. However, for some dogs, these symptoms can and will interfere with their lives. As a responsible dog owner, get involved and do what you can to help them feel happy.