Signs Your Dog is Having an Allergic Reaction

scratching dog

Humans are well used to having, and dealing with, allergic reactions. Whether it is to pollen, perfume, something we’ve touched or something we have eaten, almost all of us have experienced an allergic reaction to something or other at some point during our lifetime. However, it might surprise you to know that your canine best friend is just as likely to have allergies as you are! Understanding when your dog is having an allergic reaction is important, as it will help you to identify what your furry pal is allergic to, and find the right treatment to alleviate his symptoms.

What is an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction is a reaction that your pet’s body has to a particular substance or food – known as an allergen. When his body comes into contact with this allergen, it triggers his immune system to fight against it, despite the fact that it isn’t really harmful like a virus or illness would be. The extent of this overreaction can vary from mild to severe, and in some cases your dog’s body can react so severely that it can cause him to be in life-threatening danger.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction

The symptoms of an allergic reaction can vary widely, largely depending on the degree to which your dog has been exposed and what the allergen is that has caused the reaction. However, typical symptoms include:

- Watery, itchy eyes

- Runny nose

- A skin rash

- Nausea

- Sneezing

- Intense itching/scratching, particularly around the ears, anus and back

- Vomiting or diarrhea

- Persistent licking

- Hair loss

- Snoring

- Swelling – this could be around the eyes, on the face or on part of the body

- Breathing difficulties

Many of the above symptoms can seem mild, and can be difficult to pick up on. However, owners often find that their canine companion presents with a combination of some of the above symptoms. Therefore, if your furbaby is suffering from two or more of the above symptoms, it is worth arranging an appointment with the veterinarian of Flamingo Pet Clinic, who may be able to advise if an allergy is the likely cause of his symptoms.

Breeds with a greater risk of allergies

Allergies can be present in any breed or age of dog. However, several breeds do tend to be pre-disposed to allergic reactions. These include flat-faced breeds, such as bulldogs, pugs and Boston terriers, as well as terriers, setters and retrievers.

Types of allergies

There are many different types of allergies, and your dog can experience a reaction to exactly the same types of allergens that humans can. These include:

- Outdoor allergens: there are a whole heap of different irritants present in the environment, such as pollen, grasses, mold, dust mites and even cleaning chemicals. It is important to remember that many dogs suffer from seasonal allergies, and so their symptoms may be worse in certain months of the year.

- Food intolerances. Dogs are just as likely to eat something that upsets their stomach as you are. Some of the most common food intolerances seen in dogs include dairy, wheat, beef, corn, soy and eggs. It can help to keep a diary of what your pet is eating if you suspect that he may have a food allergy.

- Parasites. Parasite infestations can cause a range of allergic symptoms. In fact, flea allergy dermatitis is the single most common allergy seen in canines in the U.S. Preventative treatments are now widely available and can help protect your furry friend from these types of allergic reactions.

If you are worried that your pet has an allergy, the best thing that you can do is to contact and seek the advice of Flamingo Pet Clinic's veterinarian. Allergies can be difficult to identify, and having a professional at hand to help you diagnose the cause of your dog’s symptoms is essential. Only then can you find the best treatment to alleviate his discomfort and know what allergens to avoid in the future.