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Monday, June 29, 2020

Is Your Dog Itchy All The Time? Don't Waste Time And Check For Allergies Immediately!

I have a deliciously lovable dog named Snickers. And while I've been lucky that she's overall healthy, she does have one minor issue, something called cherry eye, that cosmetic that at this point needs surgery to deal with it (but isn't urgent), and I'm planning on getting that done as soon as I can. But there are some other issues dogs have, and many times, they end up being related to allergies. Read more here to see if that is an issue with your dog.


Allergies are a huge issue in the human world, especially nowadays. From gluten to lactose to peanuts and more, people are now more than ever aware of the many allergies that people have to deal with on a day to day basis. The same, surprisingly, applies to our dogs.

Allergies vs Intolerance

Food intolerance can be a reaction to bad food. For example, if your dog eats spoiled food and experiences vomiting, then that is an intolerance to bad food. If your dog has milk and cannot digest it and has diarrhea as a result, then it is classified as food intolerance.

On the other hand, if your dog’s immune system responds adversely to a common food like rice in a bad way, that is a food allergy. There is always an immunological response in cases of food allergies, and that is usually determined via medical tests.


Common Food Allergies

The top 5 most common food allergies in dogs are:

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Chicken
  • Wheat
  • Soy

It is important to remember that common foods are more commonly allergenic. When an immune system is exposed to a protein, it responds adversely to those the body couldn’t digest. The more the immune system is exposed to this protein, the more sensitive it becomes to it, till it expresses as an allergic reaction.

Which Breeds Are Most Prone To Allergies

The breeds that commonly have allergies are:

  • Dachshund
  • Dalmatian
  • Collie
  • Boxer
  • Golden and Labrador Retriever
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • German Shepherd
  • Maltese

These breeds are predisposed to certain allergies. Other breeds and mixes of dogs also get allergies, though less commonly than these.

Signs of Allergies in Dogs

The most common symptom of a food allergy is itching. Also known as pruritus, you will see your dog scratching himself all the time, especially the paws. The nails on the paws can have discolored nail beds that turn red, brown, or bronze. Along with this, your dog may have pigmented areas and rashes on the skin, which can turn oily, scaly, or leathery.

Frequent ear infections or infections which persist for a long time can also be a sign of allergies. Discharge from the eyes, hair loss, hot spots, and red eyes are other common signs of allergies in dogs.

My Dog Has Allergies! What Should I Do?

Your first conversation has to be with your vet, to assess the underlying cause of the allergies and begin on medication if needed. Commonly, dogs with one allergy have others, and that needs to be investigated as soon as possible. Your vet might ask you to try an elimination diet to try and narrow down what your dog is allergic to. An elimination diet works by eliminating items one by one, in isolation, from the diet, and observing the change in the dog's symptoms.

Because the cause of many cases of allergies is food-related, your vet is likely to recommend a change in diet. He or she will recommend something that specifically does not contain your pet’s allergen like Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Sweet Potato And Fish. High-quality dog food like this has meat as the first few ingredients. Your chosen brand should also have a healthy amount of vegetables and fruits mixed in, as well as supplements for micronutrients.

While there are many advocates for homemade food in cases of allergies, it is not a feasible option for everyone. The advantage of high-quality food made by reputable companies is that not only do they use natural ingredients but also that it is balanced in the exact proportions your dog needs. They are often better for dogs because they use a standardized formula that vets are also familiar with, and will let them know exactly what foods the dog has been exposed to without guesswork.

A Note On Natural Supplements

While natural supplements are not a substitute for your vet, you can discuss natural options with your doctor and work them into your treatment plan. Fish oil is a commonly available supplement that contains Omega-3 fatty acids. This helps reduce inflammation and soothe your pup's irritation. Another oil that helps is coconut oil, which helps with skin when it becomes dry.

Quercetin is a natural flavonoid that has anti-histamine properties, and also helps reduce inflammation as well. Yucca extract is another popular alternative medicine that has been used as an alternative to cortisone, a steroid. Finally, you can also look into digestive enzymes that will help your dog's body process proteins better, thus reducing their immune system's reaction. You can also boost your dog's gut flora using probiotics like yogurt.

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