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Your Veterinarian near Houston Discusses Allergies in Dogs

Dog rolling in a highly pollinated field.

Dogs and other animals suffer allergies for the same reason humans, their immune system abnormally reacts to allergens that otherwise would be perceived as harmless to the body. Even healthy canine immune systems can overreact to pollen, food proteins or other substances by releasing antibodies meant to protect the body from something the immune system thinks is a danger to the body. These antibodies force connective tissues to release histamine, the chemical responsible for itchy eyes, sneezing, congestion, and skin irritations. If your dog is sneezing, itching, scratching, losing fur or has dog skin problems, your vets near Houston will run tests to determine if your dog is experiencing an allergic response to environmental and/or food irritants.

Different Types of Allergies in Dogs

  • Flea Allergy - Dogs can be allergic to just about anything, including medications, household cleaning products, insect bites, seasonal allergens (tree mold, pollen, corn dust) and shampoos. A common dog allergy involves biting insects such as fleas, ticks, spiders, mosquitos, and flies. Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) occurs in dogs severely allergic to flea bites, specifically flea saliva. Chemicals in flea saliva will cause dogs with FAD to scratch, bite and lick excessively, sometimes to the point of losing hair and creating "hot spots".
  • Food Allergy/Food Hypersensitivity - Hair loss, scabs, sore spots and other dog skin problems may be diagnosed by your veterinarian near Houston as an allergic response to carbohydrates or proteins in food. Dairy products, chicken, beef, eggs and wheat gluten are common culprits of canine food allergies. Puppies and adult dogs can suffer food allergies at any time.
  • Seasonal Allergies - Dogs can suffer seasonal allergies to tree and grass pollen, ragweed and mold during spring and summer. If your dog only seems to present allergy symptoms at certain times of the year, it is probably a season allergy.

Symptoms of Food, Seasonal and Environmental Allergies in Dogs

Your dog's skin is mostly affected by allergies of all types. Signs your dog may be allergic to insects, pollen, chemicals, food or even household dust mites include:

  • Constantly licking their groin and flanks
  • Rubbing their face with their paws/flicking their nose with their paws
  • Irritated, reddened ears/recurring ear infections
  • Facial scabs/hot spots
  • Patchy hair loss on a cat's underside (hairless skin may seep a clear fluid)
  • Sneezing/wheezing
  • Coughing/spitting up/vomiting
  • Frequent bowel movements/loose stools/diarrhea (especially if it's a food allergy)

How Your Vets near Houston Treat Canine Allergies

  • Food Allergies - Determining what kind of food your dog is allergic to is achieved by eliminating different foods from his diet. Hyposensitization (immunotherapy) is another popular treatment for food allergies involving intradermal skin testing to determine which antigens cause immune system responses in dogs. Once these antigens have been identified, your vet will inject the dog with a commercially prepared substance containing modified antigens. Within several weeks, dogs become desensitized to whatever food ingredient is producing an allergic response.
  • Seasonal Allergies - Topical solutions and shampoos offer short-term relief for dog skin problems caused by pollen, mold or ragweed. Hydrocortisone and colloidal oatmeal shampoos can help reduce severe skin itching. Anti-itch salves or creams rubbed onto the feet, in between toes and the dog's stomach may also minimize itching.

Supplementing with a B vitamin call biotin has been shown to relieve symptoms of dry, itchy skin or seborrhea attributed to allergies. Biotin powder can be sprinkled on wet dog food or mixed with the dog's water.

Contact Our local Houston Veterinarians for More Information!

Our veterinary animal hospital is also proud to provide holistic services for managing your dog's allergies or other health issues, including acupuncture, nutritional counseling, ozone therapy and the impact of stress on a dog's health.  Contact our vets near Houston today to schedule an appointment: 281-440-444.