Did you know your four-legged best friend experiences allergies, too? However, instead of itchy eyes and a watery nose dogs develop skin problems in response to allergens.
This phenomenon is caused by a generalized histamine response. Whereas histamine (the immune system mediator that fights allergies and produces inflammation) is localized in humans to the eyes, nose, or throat, dogs experience a full-body reaction. Here, five common skin problems in dogs related to allergies will be discussed.
Common Skin Problems in Dogs
The most common body part affected by allergies for dogs is their skin. These reactions include:
Pruritis (Itchy Skin)
Pruritis is the medical term for itchy skin. While all dogs scratch themselves throughout the day, a dog with pruritis will scratch itself incessantly. Additionally, the skin will be red and inflamed, and the dog will bite or chew specific areas. When the irritation is extreme the dog may also scratch to the point of bleeding. If open wounds become infected, pruritis can lead to pyoderma, which is a painful skin infection.
Flea Dermatitis and Hot Spots
One cause of pruritis is flea dermatitis. Nearly all dogs are allergic to an enzyme found in flea saliva. When a flea bites your dog, an intense itchiness occurs. Your dog will scratch and bite in attempt to relieve the discomfort. A dog with flea dermatitis will show signs of inflamed skin, redness, hives, and fluid-filled bumps.
A hot spot – also called moist dermatitis – occurs when a flea bite becomes infected. The hot spot will have red, raw skin and may ooze pus. Hot spots are painful, and your dog will likely be bald in the surrounding area.
Food Intolerance or Allergy
An increasing number of dogs are diagnosed with food allergies and sensitivities. Common food triggers include soy, corn, wheat, beef, chicken, egg, fish, pork, and rabbit. While there are many symptoms of food allergies or sensitivities in dogs, one reaction is uncontrollably itchy skin.
Another common skin problem in dog is yeast infections, particularly on sensitive areas such as ears and belly. A yeast infection can be the result of water or debris trapped in your dog’s ears or an immune system response to environmental toxins. Dogs with ear infections show signs such as head scratching, head tilt, foul odor, changes in ear wax consistency, head shaking, and skin redness.
Dogs also suffer from seasonal and environmental allergies. Common allergy triggers in dogs include pollen, grass, mold, dust mites, and animal dander. These allergens cause general skin itchiness, particularly on paws or ears.
How to Treat your Dog’s Skin Allergies
Treating your dog’s skin allergies can require some detective work. Listed here are five ways to provide your dog relief.
Minimize Allergen Exposure
While easier said than done, minimizing your dog’s exposure to allergens is the best way to prevent your dog from scratching. For instance, if your dog has a seasonal allergy there are steps you can take to reduce your dog’s discomfort.
Set up a paw wash station by your back door and wash your dog’s paws with mild soap every time he or she returns from outside. Give your dog a weekly bath with an allergen-eliminating shampoo. Use a HEPA air filter in your house. Additionally, you should brush your dog frequently to remove as much allergen debris from the fur as possible.
If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, the first step is to set up an elimination diet. A bland diet of turkey and sweet potato can be fed during the elimination period. Every few days, feed your dog a new food item (such as grains, fish, beef, chicken, etc.) and observe your pet for a reaction.
All dogs should be on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. If your dog regularly develops hot spots and you are lax about flea control, start a consistent preventative routine.
Supplement Healthy Food Choices
Regardless of the cause of your dog’s skin problems, WINPRO Allergy can help. The combination of ingredients such as proprietary K-Thrive Formula D, bromelain, nettle extract, and quercetin are guaranteed to reduce inflammation in your dog that causes general itchiness. In addition, WINPRO Allergy is formulated to combat the effects of environmental toxins while promoting a healthy skin and coat.
Finally, an anti-histamine such as Benadryl can be an effective short-term solution before your dog’s allergy triggers are identified. The standard dosage for dogs is 1 mg of Benadryl per 1 pound of body weight.
Ultimately, these common skin problems in dogs can be frustrating for both dog and owner. However, with care and diligence steps can be taken to minimize your dog’s discomfort from these five common skin problems.