Dog skin allergies are among the most common conditions our pets have. The good news is that this is not life threatening—the bad news is that it can be extremely uncomfortable for our poor dogs.
An allergy, as we know, is a hypersensitivity to a foreign substance. The body reacts adversely and in this case, the dog shows rashes, hives, bald spots and redness all throughout his body. There are three main types of dog skin allergies mainly flea allergy dermatitis, atopic dermatitis and food allergy dermatitis.
1. Flea allergy dermatitis. This is the most common allergies in dogs. As you can surmise from the name, the culprit for this particular allergy is the tiny flea.
Fleas definitely fall under the small but terrible category. These little parasites attach themselves to the dog and excrete their saliva to clot the blood. It is the saliva and not the actual flea (contrary to popular opinion) that triggers the allergic reaction. This means it does not have to take a whole army of fleas to cause the allergies—one little flea will suffice.
It will do your dog well for you to check for fleas regularly. Use your hands or a soft brush to comb through his hair. Untangle knots because this can turn into “hot spots” and cause secondary skin infections. Many times, a dog with flea allergy dermatitis will have bald spots down his back, on his rear legs and at the base of his tail.
You can treat this by giving your dog a flea control treatment. Some people don’t like this because of chemicals. If this is you, you can use a concoction of water and essential oils to spray on your dog. Citronella and lavender are examples of aromatic oils that repel parasites from making a home on your dog.
2. Atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis can be triggered by many possible allergens like pollen, weed, dust, mold, detergent, etc. You might notice that dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis usually have it during certain times of the year, namely late summer and fall. Your dog will start scratching incessantly and if that’s not enough, they will bite and chew at themselves just to get relief from the itchiness.
While you have no control over the outside elements, you can do what you can when it comes to your home’s atmosphere. When your dog comes in the house, wipe him down with a soft, damp towel to remove the dirt and pollen that might have attached itself to him. Clean and vacuum upholstery and furniture often, especially those near the dog (his beddings, etc.). If you are able, invest in an air cleaner to improve your home’s air quality not just for the dog, but for you as well.
3. Food allergy dermatitis. Food allergies probably consist around 10% of all dog allergies. Some dogs are more sensitive to certain ingredients and will exhibit allergic reactions when they are exposed to these food.
You will know a dog is allergic to a certain food if he gets significantly better after you put him on a hypoallergenic diet for a few weeks. Gradually add in an ingredient after several days until you determine which one it is that your dog is allergic to. Since dogs can develop new allergies over a period of time, it is a good idea to create two or three diet plans and rotate them every few months to stabilize your dog’s condition.
Be sure to give your dog healthy and nutritious food. This will help boost his immune system to fight off infections. Moreover, fleas and mosquitoes seem to be averse to feeding off healthy canines. Dogs with severe allergies will look bad with his bald and red skin, but with the right diet and management, he will look better after a while. Consider buying supplements to improve his condition. Omega fatty acid is a fantastic way to put moisture back in the dog’s skin and hair. Always consult with the vet first before you make any changes in his diet.
Now your dog doesn’t need to be a victim of dog skin allergies. Go to the links in this page and find out how you can enjoy a strong and healthy dog today.