Generally, when someone talks about a “dog allergy,” they are referring to people who are allergic to dogs. However, this human-centric view of allergies draws attention away from the fact that dogs have allergies of their own. Some dogs are even allergic to people!
When a human or animal experiences an allergic reaction, it means that their immune system has identified a generally harmless particle as being dangerous. When this happens, the immune system mounts an unnecessary immune response to fight off the imaginary enemy. This immune response leads to unpleasant symptoms, ranging from mild itching to anaphylactic shock.
It is vital for pet owners and anyone who works with dogs to understand how to recognize and treat various allergies that dogs can suffer from. To do that, we need to know what kinds of allergies your dog is likely to have and what to do when a dog experiences an allergic reaction. Read on to learn more!
Can Dogs Have Allergies That Are Similar to Human Allergies?
Yes! Dogs can be allergic to a wide range of allergens, many of which overlap with the common allergies humans experience. The list of common allergies among dogs includes:
- Pollen and spores
- Shed skin cells of other pets (and occasionally even humans)
- Dust mites
- Certain protein sources, such as soy, beef, chicken, or turkey
While this is not a comprehensive list, these are just a few of the allergies your dog is most likely to experience. These allergens can cause a wide variety of symptoms, which pet owners should learn to recognize.
How Do You Know If a Dog Has Allergies?
When a human is experiencing allergies, there are standard symptoms that we all know to look for: excessive sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, or coughing. However, while dogs do in fact experience allergies, their symptoms look different from a human’s. Rather than sneezing, allergies in dogs often cause atopic dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis is inflammation of the skin that causes the dog to itch. You might notice your dog rubbing its face excessively or licking its armpits or feet. Other signs of allergies in dogs include excessive scratching or shedding, chronic ear infections, or abnormally waxy ears.
Dogs suffering from flea allergies have a similar condition known as flea allergy dermatitis. While all dogs experiencing a flea infestation experience itching, dogs who are allergic to fleas may experience more severe inflammation, possibly followed by fur loss and other nasty symptoms.
If a dog has food allergies, the symptoms will include digestive complaints. If your dog is constantly having diarrhea or vomits frequently, it could be a sign that your dog is allergic to an ingredient in its food or treats.
To diagnose a food allergy, you will need to put your dog on a hypoallergenic diet for 8-12 weeks. If symptoms subside only to return shortly after reintroducing their old food, your dog can be diagnosed with food allergy.
How Do You Deal With a Dog’s Allergies?
There are many over-the-counter remedies that you can use to treat your dog’s allergies. Antihistamines such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin (Not Claritin-D), and cetirizine are all safe and effective for dogs. Anything that has pseudoephedrine in it — like Claritin-D — can be fatal to dogs, even in small doses. If your dog has a food allergy, they may need to stay on a hypoallergenic diet permanently.
You can help combat allergens by bathing your dog regularly and by wiping their paws and feet after going outside.
Sometimes allergies can be so bad that dogs go into anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction that is so severe it is life-threatening. If your dog has extreme allergies, you need to get them an EpiPen.
Because anaphylaxis can lead to cardiac and respiratory arrest, every pet owner should know how to perform animal CPR.
How Can I Be Prepared for Emergencies?
At ProTrainings, we are dedicated to saving lives — and that includes animal lives. Everyone who owns a pet would benefit from learning pet first aid, but for people who work with animals on a daily basis, it is absolutely essential.
That’s why we developed our state-of-the-art online pet first aid training courses. We’ll teach your staff how to do everything from dealing with cuts and bruises to pet CPR.
Check out our online resources today to find out how we can make getting your team trained quicker, easier, or more efficient.