Dog allergy symptoms often tend to be similar, irrespective of the cause of the allergy, and this does not help when you are trying to find out the cause of the problem. However, there are small indicators you should look out for if you believe your dog has an allergy, and that can be used to determine a likely cause.
Dogs are no different to humans when it comes to allergies, and dog allergy symptoms are very similar to ours – sneezing, itching, and watering eyes. However, we humans generally have a rough idea of what is causing our allergy, and we also know that we have one, but your poor dog has no idea what is causing that awful itch.
He sure can’t tell you, so let’s have a look at the more common dog allergy symptoms, and how they can be used to perhaps determine what is causing them. ‘Perhaps’ is used because dog allergies are notoriously difficult to diagnose, but the dog itself might help you.
Itching, Redness and Scratching
Itching is caused by irritation to the skin, and causes the dog to scratch the affected area. This turns it red and perhaps even inflamed if the dog starts biting and gnawing at the irritation. As inflammation sets in and the immune system kicks into gear, then the dog can get really agitated and distressed. The skin can become broken and subject to bacterial contamination that causes pustules to form.
There are two major causes of these dog allergy symptoms: contact allergens such as fleas, and food allergies. It is not so much the ‘flea bite’ that causes these symptoms, though it can be irritating, but the flea’s saliva. A flea bite is not an allergic reaction, but many dogs will have an allergic reaction to the saliva of the flea, which is used to prevent the blood from clotting as the flea feeds.
Other contact allergens include detergents, hairs (even human hairs) and some airborne allergens that land on the skin such as pollen, dust mites and other types of dust – they affect dogs just as they affect humans. The behavior of dogs suffering from any type of irritating itching is scratching and rubbing its skin on the ground – particularly a carpet or something slightly rough. Dog’s sometime sit down and walk with their front paws and their behind on the ground when they have itching at their rear end.
Food allergies in dogs can cause exactly the same symptoms unfortunately, but the ‘tell’ here is that a dog may also vomit, have loose stools or the abnormal behavior can often coincide with a change of food. If you notice this, and change the food back to regular, then the problem should go. Alternatively try only tinned foods, preferably organic if you can afford it, and that should cure a food allergy.
Running Eyes, Licking Paws
Just like humans are affected by pollen, hay fever is also a form of dog allergy. Their skin can become irritated, so they may scratch with most of the symptoms above, but the ‘tell’ here is that bitches are more affected than dogs, and their eyes tend to water just as with humans. Not only that, but another of the specific dog allergy symptoms is licking their paws.
They do this to alleviate itching in their paws, and you should give their feet a careful examination because ticks and fleas can be picked up from grass, and of course, dogs do not usually wear shoes so can pick up all sorts of infections when they are outside, not only allergens. However, by walking in clover fields, or even among daisies and buttercups in your garden, they can experience severe itching from the pollen, in which case their eyes my not water but they will be seen to be licking their paws excessively, and sometimes even gnawing at them.
So, while it is difficult to establish the exact cause of dog allergy symptoms, you can narrow it down by keeping your eyes open and observing your dog’s behavior. You can generally tell a contact allergen from a food allergy, and frequently hay fever can be diagnosed by the time of the year, your dog’s exposure and they way its eyes water or it licks its paws.
Nevertheless, if you are unsure, and your dog is suffering and displaying extreme dog allergy symptoms, you should play safe and pay a visit to the vet.