It can be very stressful for both of you if your dog suffers from skin allergies or canine atopic dermatitis. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help alleviate the symptoms and keep your pooch comfortable. To take care of your dog suffering from skin allergies and other health issues, here are some tips.
What Causes Skin Allergies in Dogs?
Any of the following can cause skin allergies in dogs:
- Allergic reactions. This is when your dog’s immune system overreacts to a foreign substance, such as pollen or dust.
- Infections and parasites. Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites can cause allergic reactions on your dog’s skin, which leads to severe itching and redness around the area where the parasite resides. Bacterial infections are also common causes of skin irritation in dogs. An example would be hot spots.
- Diet. If you feed your dog a diet high in grains and low in protein, this may lead to food allergies that show up on its skin as rashes or hives due to contact with certain foods like wheat flour or green peppers. In fact, the diet you feed your puppy can also lead to allergies in adulthood. Mixed-oil supplements, dry animal parts, and drinking water from a puddle are associated with allergy or atopy, as concluded in a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Certain chemicals in cleaning products can also cause similar symptoms if they come into contact with your furry friend’s sensitive nose.
- Environmental irritants. Environmental irritants like pollen and dust can cause skin irritation in dogs. If your dog is allergic to something outside, it will often manifest as a rash or hives on its body when they are exposed to the allergen again. Hence, both humans and pets living in urban areas are at a higher risk of developing allergies. This was concluded in a recent study published in the Nature journal that analyzed the environment-related allergic traits in dogs and their owners.
Skin conditions like mange mites will also irritate your pup’s epidermis. Still, these types tend not to trigger allergic responses so much as infection from biting insects like mosquitoes which carry them around wherever they go.
Symptoms of Skin Allergies
Skin allergies can pose numerous symptoms. Here are some of the symptoms you may see in your dog:
- Redness and irritation. When your dog’s skin is irritated, you’ll see patches of redness on its skin.
- Itchiness. Your dog may scratch at his or her belly, head, paws, and other areas where the allergy is most severe.
- Hair loss. If your dog suffers from an allergy attack in which they have lost hair due to excessive scratching or rubbing against things like furniture or carpeting, this can also be a sign of skin allergies.
- Skin infections. Suppose the inflamed area becomes infected with bacteria due to scratching or licking it excessively. In that case, this could lead to a bacterial infection and other symptoms listed here, such as redness and irritation above.
- Dry skin. If a dry climate makes it difficult for your dog’s body oils to stay adequately moistened because there isn’t much humidity in whatever part of the country where you live, that could cause some problems too. You might notice flaky white patches on certain spots around their bodies, especially under the armpits.
How to Take Care of Your Dog With Skin Allergy
You can use multiple ways to take care of your dog with skin allergies. Here are some of the things you can do.
Use Medication For Itching Relief
You can use medication to alleviate skin allergies if your dog suffers from skin allergies. There are several options available, including:
- Oral medications include medicines for relieving itching sensation and inflammation. For instance, Apoquel can help relieve the itching sensation. It starts showing relief within 4 hours and controls itchiness within 24 hours. You must consult with your vet before using Apoquel for dogs. The vet will be in the best position to help you decide whether to give your pet Apoquel based on the diagnosis and other factors, such as the pet’s current health condition and any other medications.
- Topical ointments that contain steroids. These are applied to the affected area and may help reduce inflammation and itching. They must be used with care, though. Your vet can tell you whether this treatment would be acceptable for your pet and what dosage should be used.
- Antihistamines that are given as pills or in liquid form can also help relieve itchiness by interfering with chemical reactions in the body that cause itchy skin problems in dogs with allergies or atopic dermatitis.
Find the Allergen and Stop It
For many dogs, the best way to treat a skin allergy is by removing the allergen from your dog’s life. Talking with your vet about treating the allergy is also a good idea. If you can identify what’s causing your dog’s allergies, you’ll be able to reduce their chances of getting them again in future years.
If you suspect an allergen in your house or yard, you can try keeping Fido away until his symptoms disappear. Likewise, if you find some food ingredient causing the problem, you can eliminate the ingredient from your pet’s diet.
All the trouble with the allergy is because of the allergen. Hence, vets sometimes use immunotherapy treatment for allergies. Allergen-specific immunotherapy, as the name gives out, makes the dog’s body immune to the allergen. Vets may use this to treat allergies caused by pollen, mites, and wasp or bee venom.
Bathe Your Dog Regularly With Medicated Shampoos
Bathing your dog regularly with medicated shampoos will help to relieve itching and keep the skin healthy. However, most pet parents don’t do this. According to a survey of over 300 American dog parents, 56% of owners don’t bathe their dogs as often as they should. If you don’t bathe your dog frequently or if you don’t do it right, your canine friend will be at a higher risk of developing skin allergies.
Bath your dog weekly or every other week, depending on how often you think they need it. Before applying shampoo:
- Wash the coat with warm water and mild dog shampoo.
- Rinse thoroughly until no residue remains in the fur.
- If possible, use a conditioner after rinsing out your shampoo to ensure softness and shine for your pet’s coat.
As you can see, there are many different causes of skin allergies in dogs. However, the best way to deal with this is to find out what’s causing it and stop it from happening again. You will need to research on your own and talk to your vet about what might be causing your dog’s skin allergies.