We all love our dogs, and for many owners, our four-legged friends are far more a member of the family than they are a pet. Our dogs are with us through thick and thin, and as they always want the best for us, it is important that we do the same for them. Just as with people, dogs can suffer very badly through allergies. We often do not consider this, especially as a great many people are allergic to dogs themselves, but there are various things which dogs of all breeds are allergic to and which can cause them serious symptoms.
Often when we see our dogs behaving strangely or under the weather, we assume that it must be a virus or something they ate, but quite often, it is an allergic reaction to something. If you notice anything untoward with your dog, be sure to have them checked out by a vet so that they can diagnose the issue and identify the source of the allergy.
To help all the dog owners out there who suspect their dog may have a problem, here are the three most common allergies in dogs.
1. Food Allergies
Food allergies or hypersensitivity to food is a problem which many dogs face. Dogs can develop an allergy to any ingredient, but it tends to be to either the protein or to wheat gluten and soy. Some of the telltale symptoms of a food allergy include persistent scratching and problems with digestion and respiration. Your dog’s vet will be able to determine the cause of your dog’s allergic reaction, so you will be able to adjust its diet accordingly.
Wheat gluten is such a common allergy for dogs that there are many gluten-free dog foods on the market. One thing to be aware of, however, is that these often use legumes as a substitute for the wheat, but these can cause heart disease in dogs if the legumes weren’t prepared properly. To be on the safe side, always go with legume free dog food to be sure that your dog will not get sick. If you are preparing the legumes yourself, then it would not be an issue, but as you have no way of knowing about legumes in processed dog food, it is best to be on the safe side.
2. Seasonal Allergies
Another common problem which many dogs face is hay fever and other seasonal allergies. We often think of these as being purely human diseases, but our four-legged friends can suffer just as much as we do in the Spring and Summer. Dogs can be allergic to pollen, dust mites, grass, and other things, which also irritate us and will have very similar symptoms. If you notice that your dog is sneezing, wheezing, has a runny nose, or seems to have any other hay fever symptoms then get them checked out by the vet. Dogs take similar kinds of medicine to humans for seasonal allergies, and the results can be very effective, so be sure to get an accurate diagnosis.
3. Flea and Insect Bite Allergy
Fleas and insect bites can cause severe allergic reactions in many dogs. The bugs which are usually responsible are ticks, fleas, horseflies, mosquitoes, and others, which depend on where you live, such as wasps and hornets. The most common cause of insect allergies in dogs is the saliva of fleas, which can lead to a condition called flea allergy dermatitis. This will cause your dog to scratch and bite itself and even start ripping out its own fur. Where the fur and skin are broken, a secondary infection can then take place, which is extremely painful for dogs and can lead to many serious injuries down the road. Always keep your dog free of fleas and other pests and take them straight to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
Allergies are no fun, as anyone with hayfever or gluten or nut allergy can attest. Just as with humans, a bad allergic reaction can be a horrible experience for a dog, and in the worst cases, can even be fateful. It is really important to seek immediate medical attention if your dog is having an allergic reaction so they can get treated swiftly and so that you can identify and eradicate the source of the allergy from your home. Make sure that you are aware of the three common allergies in this article so that you can keep your dog safe and healthy.