What are some common dog allergies that you all see?

Well, allergies, in general, are probably the most common thing that people bring their pets to the vet about. Environmental allergies are probably the most common, which includes insect allergies, such as flea bite allergies and ticks. While food allergies do play a role, they are not as common as environmental allergies.

Dr. Brittany Bueter
Hebron Animal Hospital

How do allergies impact the health and well-being of my dog?

In dogs, allergies tend to affect the eyes, respiratory tract, ears, throat, and also their skin. It creates an almost constant pins and needles feeling, making dogs always feel on edge. It can make dogs really anxious and cause secondary infection, which is uncomfortable.

What are some common signs or symptoms of allergies in a dog?

Common signs of allergies in dogs are red, weepy eyes, chronic ear infections, and licking of the feet, causing pink staining or maroon staining around the feet. Other symptoms can include redness, scaling, and cresting on the belly and the backside. Dogs with allergies might also be seen scooting their butt or licking their butt a lot or their private parts too.

How will you, as a veterinarian, diagnose allergies in my dog?

We diagnose allergies in dogs via a good exam and understanding the distribution of the location of the lesions. This helps us determine if it's more environmental, food, or contact allergy, or a flea allergy. The history of what the client tells us has been going on with the pet when it started, and how it started, also plays a role in diagnosing allergies.

What are some common treatments for dog allergies and are they different than any treatments for flea and insect bites?

For flea allergies, the only way to prevent it is by preventing fleas with prevention. The treatment involves keeping the inflammation down, using anti-inflammatories, whether they be prescription or antihistamines, which can be over-the-counter or a prescription. Treating secondary infection when it happens is also important because that itself is itchy. So then you're going to have a two-fold itch, your infection itch and your allergy itch.

Is there anything that I need to do in my home environment to help with my dog's allergies?

It depends on what their specific allergen is. However, keeping your fragrances down, using hypoallergenic laundry detergent on their bedding, using over-the-counter antihistamines (with vet's approval) can be helpful. If they have outdoor allergies, try walking them on the concrete instead of the grass, not letting them lay out in the yard for an extended period of time, wiping their feet off when they come inside, and keeping the windows shut. If they have indoor allergies, make sure that you have a good HEPA filter with your HVAC system and keep those changed out.

Do dogs suffer from seasonal allergies?

Yes, dogs can suffer greatly from seasonal allergies. It can cause them to constantly smell like corn chips or Fritos or have really stinky ears and breath from licking themselves constantly. This can agitate the owners and can strain the human-animal bond. Severe secondary infections can also happen, which can be difficult to control.

How are the allergies in my dog different than allergies that I might have?

The allergies in dogs are pretty similar to human allergies. However, in dogs, the symptoms tend to present more severely on the skin.

How can I tell if my dog has a food allergy?

Food allergies in dogs tend to present with digestive inconsistencies. They tend to struggle with anal gland issues or constant bum scooting. Ears and rears are common signs of food allergies. However, if they're also having feet, belly skin, or goopy eyes, then it's more likely to be environmental allergies.

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