Allergies and Your Dog!
We are going to take a look at different types of allergies, what may be causing them and some things that may help. All resources are will be listed at the end of the article. 1st thing is to make sure your dog does not have mange.
Dogs can get yeast & bacterial secondary infections from having irritated or infected skin. These secondary infections may mask allergies. It is important to have a vet look at & treat the yeast/bacterial infection and the allergy. Otherwise, the dog will just continue to have irritated allergic skin and therefore keep getting secondary infections.
A vet can help treat secondary infections with an oral antifungal and/or antibiotic. You may use an anti-fungal/bacterial shampoo every 3-7 days. If shampoo is irritating your dog’s skin, you can get some shampoo with hydrocortisone and that can help. Common medicated shampoos include Malaseb, Duoxo, Miconasex+Triz, Canine Skin Solutions, Jax and Daisy, Curaseb, Mal-a-ket, etc… Chlorhexidine is the main active ingredient for most of these shampoos except for Canine Skin Solutions (CSS), so if your dog is allergic to chlorhexidine, use CSS! Also, Neosporin, Anti-fungal cream or a diaper rash cream may help.
An environmental allergy, seasonal allergy or inhalant allergy is caused by allergens in the air that your pet breathes in. This is also known as atopy.
Allergies of this kind are often seasonal, relating to specific plants that only grow at certain times of the year. However, environmental allergies in dogs can occur year-round too, in response to allergens such as grass, mold, and mildew.
Contact environmental allergy is caused by the dog’s skin coming into contact with a specific substance or material, such as shampoo, flea treatments, or wool bedding. This type of allergy is usually manifested on the dog’s skin in the form of itching and dermatitis.
There are a few things you can do to make allergy season more bearable for your pet, such as:
- Bathe your pet frequently. Washing your dog at least once every week removes allergens that can get caught in hair and fur. Your cat can benefit from a bath, too. Hypoallergenic shampoos are best. Oatmeal-based products can help reduce itching and soothe skin. If your feline friend has a strong dislike of water, as many cats do, remove allergens by running a damp cloth over its body.
- Wipe your pet’s paws. Pollen can become stuck to the bottoms of your pet’s feet. When your dog or cat returns inside, remove the pollen with a soft cloth. Pollen can also stick to the bottoms of your shoes. Your pet will not only benefit if you remove your shoes when you enter your house, but you will too if you have seasonal allergies.
- Give your furry friend Omega-3 fatty acid supplements. The supplements can help keep your pet’s skin healthy and reduce the effects of seasonal allergies.
- Bring your pet indoors before you mow: Whether your pet is allergic to grasses or pollen, keeping your friend indoors while you mow will help decrease exposure to allergens.
- Pay attention to the allergy forecast. Online weather sites, such as Weather.com, feature allergy forecasts that let you know when pollen or mold levels are high in your area. If levels rise, keep your pet inside as much as possible until the levels begin to drop.
- Use the air-conditioner. Pollen is so small that it can drift through the holes in window and door screens. Air-conditioner filters catch the pollen and prevent it from settling on surfaces in your home.
Allergies Caused By Fleas and Parasites
Almost every dog will get fleas, ticks, mites, or other parasites at some point in its life. Usually, these parasites are easily removed, and the dog will not have an adverse reaction. However, some pets will develop allergies, mainly relating to biting parasites. It is typically the parasite’s saliva that causes an allergic reaction in dogs. If you do have fleas or ticks spray your yard as well as your home and get your dog the proper medicine for treatment.
True food allergies may not be as common as people think, according to AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein. True food allergies result in an immune response, which can range in symptoms from skin conditions (hives, facial swelling, and itchiness), gastrointestinal signs (vomiting and/or diarrhea) or a combination of both. In some rare cases, a severe reaction resulting in anaphylaxis can occur — similar to severe peanut allergies in humans what most people mean when they say that their dog has a food allergy is that their dog has a food sensitivity, also known as food intolerance. Food sensitivities, unlike true allergies, do not involve an immune response and are instead a gradual reaction to an offending ingredient in your dog’s food.
|Dog Food Allergen||Percentage of Dogs With Reported Reaction|
Wondering what is in dog food that causes allergies? The most common allergens are beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish. And, most dogs are usually allergic to more than one thing. Yet generally, it’s the protein part of those foods that tend to be problematic, rather than, say, the meat itself. Keep in mind, veggies can contain protein, so they’re not automatically safe
Dog Elimination Diet
The most reliable way to diagnose a food allergy is to feed your dog something entirely new, and relatively pure, for at least eight weeks. For accurate results, you’ll need to feed a non-contaminated simple ingredient diet (it can be commercial or cooked) for the entire trial. The diet should include a single-source animal or vegetable protein and a single source of carbohydrate calories, without other natural flavors (that could have unidentified proteins)—and it must be a food your pet hasn’t had in the past. Classic examples include venison and potato, rabbit and pea, and fish and potato. There are newer options out there too, like alligator and coconut.
It’s also important you refrain from feeding treats, table scraps, snacks, and flavored medications and supplements of any kind that don’t match the specific ingredient combo you’re using for the trial. After eight weeks, to truly prove the food allergy, you must then feed the original food—the suspected allergic protein or proteins—again. If there’s a reaction or breakout at that point, that’s a pretty good indication of an allergy.
Medicines to Help your Dog with Allergies
- Apoquel -Vet
- Cytopoint shot- Vet
- Antihistamines- Over the counter (Zyrtec, Claritin, etc)
- Do not get any D product like Claritin D
- See your vet for proper dosing
- Neosporin Over the counter (to help with healing)
- Anti-fungal cream- Vet or Over the Counter (to help with healing)
- Diaper rash – Over the Counter (to help with healing)
- Medicated Shampoos- Over the counter
*Just a note, Apoquel, steroids, Cytopoint, immunotherapy, and Atopica do NOT treat secondary infections!
Natural Remedies to Help your Dog with Allergies
1. Oat Baths -If your pup’s itching is caused by allergies, an oat bath can be very soothing. Boil oat straw in the water and mix it in with your dog’s bath.
2. Aloe Vera -When you use Aloe Vera for your dog, make sure you are not using the whole leaf. The leaf contains saponins, the yellow or orange substance found in the rind, which is a laxative that can make your dog sick. Use only the gel. Aloe has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it perfect for treating burns, itches, and hot spots when applied to the skin.
3. Thyme -Thyme contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. It also has antiseptic and antifungal properties, which make it great for use where skin and yeast infections are common, like between your dog’s toes.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar -Apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse for your dog’s paws that will take off some of the pollen and allergens that accumulate. It’s also effective for fighting some of the rashes and itch caused by yeast infections and can be used as a cleaner for your dog’s ears.
5. Coconut Oil -Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which decreases yeast production. It contributes to healthy skin.
****Just a note, We have not tested these things nor do we know if any of the Home Remedies work.****
IMPORTANT! This is a summary of allergies as understood by non-vets and gathered information around the web. Always check with your vet before any treatments and to get proper diagnoses.
Resources and References
There is a lot of quality information at the Dog Allergies Issue and Other Information Support Group on Facebook.
Sarcoptic Mange: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/mange-sarcoptic-in-dogs
Demodectic Mange: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/mange-demodectic-in-dogs
Overviews of several allergy issues from dermatology vets: http://www.adavet.com/dermatology-101
Overall education library for skin issues from dermatology vets: https://www.healthyskin4dogs.com/educationlibrary
Pet Food info from nutritionist vets including how to choose foods and info about the grain-free re-examination: https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/petfoodology/
Info about food allergies specifically AND HOW TO DO AN ELIMINATION DIET: https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2017/01/food-allergies/
Info about food sensitivities specifically: https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2019/09/figuring-out-food-sensitivities/
Info about blood and skin testing for allergies: https://www.dispomed.com/dog-allergy-testing-blood-vs-skin-key-differences-and-recommendations/
Difference between Cytopoint and Apoquel: https://mckeevervetderm.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/543/2018/04/How-to-Choose-Between-Apoquel-and-Cytopoint.pdf