Ask any dog owner and they will tell you that dogs have allergies, too. While humans will cough, sneeze, or having runny noses, dogs react to allergens with their skin.
Very similar to humans in their reactions, dog skin allergies manifest in a familiar way. A typical symptom of allergies is the dog scratching. Dogs have a tendency to scratch at the same locations over and over. This can cause hair loss and what can be considered ‘hot spots’ on the animal.
Dog skin allergies can often cause hair loss and red spots that make them want to lick. The constant licking causes the ‘hot spot’ to become even more red and irritated. The continual licking often causes the spot to redden and become hot, almost like an infection in humans. Since dogs do not have the same form of immune system, when an animal is allergic to a substance the skin is the first line of defense.
Dog Skin Allergies Causes
Often when dog owners notice their pets scratching and licking, they take them to their local veterinarian. Many vets agree that there are four categories of allergic reactions in dogs.
- Allergies caused by fleas and other biting insects (flea allergy dermatitis).
- Allergies caused by inhaled allergens such as dust mites, grasses, molds, and tree and weed pollens (canine atopy).
- Allergies caused and by foods and drugs (food allergies).
- And, dog skin allergies caused by irritants that have direct contact with the skin (contact allergies).
Dog skin allergies caused by fleas, biting flies, and mosquitoes can be easily treated by many over-the-counter topical applications. However, with the newest range of medications available from vets can ease this skin allergy in dogs. There are liquid applications that are used down the spine of the dog, and there are even pills or chewable tablets that last for 30 days in preventing the dog skin allergies caused by insects.
Allergies that are caused by food and drugs are often more difficult to determine. In these cases the dog can be food allergy tested, at a significant cost, or your vet can put the dog on a strict diet to see if food is the root of the problem. This is the same for dog skin allergies that are caused by grasses, molds, and pollens. The only way to truly know the triggering effect is to have the dog allergy tested. Although, most vets will have the owner try giving their pet some Benadryl tablets based on their weight to see if it assists with the symptoms.
Contact allergies, though treatable, can be the most difficult to identify due to the fact that the animal has to have come in direct contact with the substance. Once identified, it can be as simple as keeping the dog away from the substance. However, if the substance cannot be identified, keeping a close eye on the pet is the most effective way to deter dog skin allergies caused by direct contact.
While many dogs never show any sign of dog skin allergies in their lifetime, if you are a pet owner and find that your dog is licking or scratching excessively, it is best to take them to your vet to determine the reason.