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Can dogs have allergies?

Have you ever considered that your dog might be suffering from allergies? If you've ever noticed he or she starts scratching and itching more at certain times of the year, it could be due to a sensitivity to certain things such as pollens or flea bites. In this case, it's essential to seek medical help as this can be a very distressing situation.

Read our blog post to better understand allergies and how you can help your furry friend feel better.

What are allergies?

An allergic reaction is an exaggerated immune response to something that is harmless, such as pollens, certain foods, medications or insect saliva.

Dogs have many types of allergies, but the most common ones are food allergies, flea allergy dermatitis and atopic dermatitis, which is caused by airborne allergens.

These often show up as skin problems. For instance, red, itchy skin that doesn't seem to go away and is causing a lot of distress to your furry friend might be due to an allergic problem.

As many owners know, diagnosing and treating these issues can be complicated. Vets might not be able to pinpoint precisely what your pet is allergic to, but there are many tests they can do to narrow it down and then formulate the proper treatment to manage the signs successfully.

Is it possible for my dog to have allergies in the spring?

Many people suffer from the dreaded hay fever, a sensitivity to the many pollens that are floating around during spring, and it can make this season quite tricky. Our dogs can also suffer from this, but, as we have mentioned, it will most likely show itself as an itchy skin rather than sneezing or runny eyes.

Another common allergy that might flare up during the warmer weather is flea allergy dermatitis, as fleas are much more abundant in the spring and summer. For susceptible animals, even just one bite is enough to trigger intense itching and discomfort.

To help make sure that your dog is not exposed to potential allergens, it's vital that you keep his or her flea treatment up to date, especially as the weather improves!

Can allergies be dangerous?

Unfortunately, some allergic reactions can be severe and even lethal if not treated promptly.

Dogs can have what is called an anaphylactic reaction, which is a very severe, acute response to an allergen. Although it is rare, it most often occurs following a bee or wasp sting, or when your pet is given a new vaccine or medication.

It generally happens minutes after exposure, and you may spot:

  • Sudden vomiting and diarrhoea;

  • Excessive drooling;

  • Hives and swelling of the face;

  • Difficulty breathing due to swelling of the throat or mouth.

This is an emergency situation! If you notice these signs, do not delay and call your vet immediately so they can assess your pet and ensure that he or she is properly treated.

In summary:

  • Dogs can have spring allergies, and they will most likely reveal themselves as an itchy skin;

  • Diagnosing and treating allergies can be challenging, but your vet can help you find the best solutions;

  • Whilst rare, anaphylactic reactions are generally life-threatening, and you need to call your vet if you think that your dog may be having one!

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Published: 01 Feb 2023

Read the previous article: Osteoarthritis in cats