August 17, 2010

Skin Allergies in Dogs

Filed under: dog allergies — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:36 am

Normally when we think about dogs and allergies, we’re talking about the kinds of allergies that humans get because of pet dogs.  Yet, skin allergies are a common condition that affects all breeds of dogs.  Sometimes known as allergic dermatitis, there are a wide range of factors that lead to skin allergies in dogs.  Dog allergic dermatitis is most commonly the result of allergies to flea bites, foods, or the inhalation of airborne allergens.  Yet many other factors are associated with skin allergies in dogs including drug or hormonal reactions, allergies to bacteria and parasites, and even contact allergies such as reactions to topical treatments, various materials, and household cleaners.

Moreover, skin allergies in dogs may first appear at nearly any age.  While flea and inhalation allergies usually present in young adults, food allergies in dogs may begin at any age.  Moreover, some breeds seem to be predisposed to developing atopy, an allergy that results from inhalation or absorption of allergens through the skin.

Allergies are typically extremely difficult to diagnose because their symptoms are quite similar to the symptoms of other conditions.  As a result, veterinarians normally diagnose allergies after a process of elimination.  Nevertheless, there are a few symptoms to watch for if you suspect your dog may be suffering from a skin allergy.

  • Scratching, licking or chewing the skin
  • Rash-like bumps on the skin
  • Pus-filled bumps on the skin
  • Darker skin pigmentation
  • Hair loss
  • Head shaking
  • Dark saliva

Once your veterinarian has conducted a thorough history and physical exam and conducted a variety of tests like skin scraping or cytology, a diagnosis of allergy can be made.  Subsequent treatment depends on the particular allergy but will usually include limiting exposure to the allergen, the use of antibacterial shampoo or ointments, and possibly immunotherapy.

April 12, 2010

Am I allergic to dogs?

Filed under: allergic to dogs,dog allergies,hypoallergenic breeds,pet allergies — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:31 am

Dog allergies are relatively common in the human world. The leading cause of the allergies is actually pet dander floating around in the air. These dead skin flakes are more prevalent during the spring because dogs begin to shed in spring meaning allergies can become much worse. If you suspect you may be allergic to dogs, there are some things you can do to reduce your symptoms.

First, you need to know the signs of allergy to determine if pet dander is going to be a problem for you. Allergies often manifest in the same way: itchy eyes, a runny nose, asthma, and rashes are among the most common symptoms of allergy. If you notice these reactions increase when you’re in the presence of a dog, you’re likely suffering from an allergy to dogs.

Luckily, there are a wide range of products on the market that are designed to treat pet allergies. From shampoos that moisturize your dog’s skin to prevent dander to shedding tools to control hair, there are definitely ways that you can minimize the severity of your allergic reaction. Medications are also a popular alternative for treating allergies to dogs.

In addition, there are a number of hypoallergenic breeds which are less likely to cause severe allergic reactions in humans. allergic to dogsSome of these breeds include:

  • Shih Tzus
  • Poodles
  • Hybrids
  • Portuguese water dogs
  • Schnauzers
  • Yorkshire terriers
  • Maltese

The important thing to remember is that pet allergies do not need to prevent you from becoming a pet owner. Do your research and you’ll find many ways to ameliorate the problems associated with these allergies. Whether you get a hypoallergenic breed or you take the necessary precautions to control allergens, you can be a happy pet owner with a happy, healthy puppy.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.