We know it’s worrying when our pets seem to be in discomfort. So, we have put together this handy guide to help you on your journey to relieving your dog’s allergies and transforming them into a happy, healthy dog!
In this blog, we will look at:
- What is An Allergy?
- Why Has My Dog Developed an Allergy?
- How Can I Help My Dog With Their Allergies?
- How Are Medicinal Mushrooms Helpful for My Dog’s Allergy?
What is an Allergy?
Allergies can be a range of severities and can affect various parts of the dog's body, including the skin, eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. Some common types of allergies include seasonal allergies (hay fever), food allergies, medication allergies, and insect allergies.
Why Has My Dog Developed an Allergy?
A diet that doesn’t agree with your pet or if your dog has a poor diet can result in itching, redness and even regular infections. A good, balanced diet is so important for the overall health and well-being of your pet. Changing your dog's diet to a good quality food or changing the food to determine what does not agree with your pet may be beneficial. Be careful not to change food too quickly as this could make the issues worse and cause stomach upsets. A vet can also conduct an allergy test to determine which ingredients or products your dog has an intolerance to. Using food supplements to help your pet’s oversensitive immune system would be beneficial to calm your dog's reactions. They contain powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation and improve the immune system.
ReactionsJust like us humans, dogs can react to their surrounding environment. Below are some possible instances that could cause a reaction.
- Grass or pollen - Yes! Dogs can have reactions to pollen and dust. This can make an appearance on your dog’s feet, or if your dog likes to roll, redness and sore spots can appear on the body and this tends to be a seasonal reaction.
- Fleas can cause serious skin infections but a bite from a flea can affect dogs in different ways and it is the saliva from the flea that causes this. Some dogs may not show any reactions other than a quick scratch, some dogs can suffer and experience a reaction all over the body, which may be present for some time.
- Swimming is great exercise for dogs, however, you need to be selective about where you let your dog swim. Dirty ponds or rivers harbour dangerous bacteria that can cause a reaction and can also increase your dog's risk of developing a skin infection and it could be dangerous if water is ingested. Always ensure that your dog has been rinsed off or washed properly after swimming.
- Allergic reactions - This is probably one of the most serious reactions a dog could endure. Although rare, severe reactions to bee stings, vaccines or other factors could happen. If your dog is suffering and showing any of the below symptoms, you need to contact the vet straight away as it is a matter of urgency.
- Difficulty breathing or fast breathing
- Swelling of the face lips or throat
- Hives on the skin
- Pale gums or tongue
Genetics and Breed
Stress, Boredom and AnxietySome dogs can be very sensitive to changes that are happening in your life and whatever happens to you can affect them. This isn’t necessarily a reaction however, it is possible that if dogs are feeling stressed, nervous or anxious, which can show by them chewing or licking themselves, which can cause a reaction if the skin becomes irritated. This can also become a behavioral habit, so if a dog is used to chewing or licking in a certain place, they may continue, even though there are no symptoms or visual signs there. If you notice this behaviour, try and distract your dog with play or walking. However, excessive licking and chewing could also be a result of an underlying issue that may need veterinary treatment. Speak to your vet if you are unsure what you think could be causing your dog's allergies. A vet can conduct allergy tests to determine the cause and then advise on a suitable course of action to relieve your dog.
How Do I Know if My Dog Has Allergies?
There are a range of symptoms that can appear when your dog has developed an allergy:
- Food allergies - Often, certain ingredients can upset your dog’s immune system. This can show itself in many different ways such as:
- Bald patches
- Skin redness
- Recurring ear or foot infections/ itchy ears and feet
- Pollen and dust - The symptoms for this usually occur seasonally. The symptoms can appear in these common areas:
- Itchy/red feet, toes and ears
- Redness/ sensitivity around the groin, underarms and mouth
- Redness around the eyes
- Sneezing and runny nose
- Parasite allergy - Some dogs can experience an immediate hypersensitivity to flea saliva, whilst some dogs may not show any reaction until 24-48 hours. A vet can conduct skin and blood tests to determine if your dog's allergy is a result of flea infestation. Some common signs are:
- Hair loss
- Discomfort when trying to settle
- Licking, excessive scratching and chewing
- Skin redness or rashes
How Can I Help My Dog With Their Allergies?
Depending on the severity and type of allergy, there are numerous routes you can take to improve your dog’s health long-term and protect their immune system every day.
Combined with a good quality, balanced diet, adding medicinal supplements can help fight off allergies, reduce swelling and improve immunity.
Whether your dog has been bitten by a flea whilst strolling out and about, or you have a flea infestation in the home, fleas can, unfortunately, cause an issue. These parasites are difficult to get rid of and can lay dormant in your house until they sense movement.
Washing and Grooming
If your dog is recovering from a skin allergy, it’s a good idea to help along the process by keeping them fresh and clean! This helps remove dirt, dead skin and loose hair. Take care or seek advice on which products to use and when to start washing. You may need to use veterinary-prescribed products.
How Can I Help My Dog With Their Allergies?
What to look out for when choosing a mushroom supplement?
Choosing a good quality mushroom supplement can be a daunting task, as there are many options available in the market. However, there are a few key things to consider when selecting a high-quality mushroom supplement.
- Burke, A. (2021) Dog allergies: Symptoms and treatment, American Kennel Club. American Kennel Club. Available at: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-allergies-symptoms-treatment/ (Accessed: March 31, 2023).
- Jones, L. (2021) Excessive licking, chewing, and grooming in dogs, PetMD. Available at: https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/excessive-licking-chewing-and-grooming-dogs (Accessed: March 31, 2023).
- Pajer, N. (2016) 7 types of water that can make your dog sick, PetMD. Available at: https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/7-types-water-can-make-your-dog-sick (Accessed: March 31, 2023).
- White, S.D. and Moriello, K.A. (2023) Allergies in dogs - dog owners, MSD Veterinary Manual. MSD Veterinary Manual. Available at: https://www.msdvetmanual.com/dog-owners/skin-disorders-of-dogs/allergies-in-dogs (Accessed: March 31, 2023).
- Lantry, S. (2021) Does your dog have a flea allergy?, PetMD. Available at: https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/skin/c_multi_flea_bite_hypersensitivity (Accessed: March 31, 2023).