Have you heard someone tell you that her dog has allergies? Has your veterinarian suggested that allergies could be a problem for your dog? Do you suspect that your dog has allergies?
If so, then you’ve probably realized that allergies in dogs are not quite as simple as we might wish. For starters, there are several different types of allergies that could be causing your dog's symptoms.
Types of Allergies in Dogs
Allergies are a misguided reaction to foreign substances by the body's immune system, which, of course, people and pets can suffer from. There are quite a few different types of allergies in dogs. Skin allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergens all pose challenges for dogs and their owners, and to make things more complicated, the symptoms of all these different types of allergies can overlap.
Skin allergies, called allergic dermatitis, are the most common type of allergic reactions in dogs. There are three main causes of skin allergies in dogs:
Flea allergy dermatitis
True food allergies may not be as common as people think, according to AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein. True food allergies result in an immune response, which can range in symptoms from skin conditions ( hives, facial swelling, itchiness), gastrointestinal signs (vomiting and/or diarrhea) or a combination of both. In some rare cases, a severe reaction resulting in anaphylaxis can occur — similar to severe peanut allergies in humans.
Acute Allergic Reactions
Perhaps the most alarming of all the types of allergies in dogs is an acute allergic reaction. Dogs, like people, can go into anaphylactic shock if they have a severe reaction to an allergen. This can be fatal if not treated.
Bee stings and vaccine reactions, among other things, can cause an anaphylactic response in some dogs, which is why it is always a good idea to keep a close eye on your dog following the administration of any new vaccine, drug, or food item. Luckily, anaphylactic reactions are rare in dogs.
Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs
The symptoms of allergies in dogs may vary depending on the cause. A dog that goes into anaphylactic shock, for instance, will have a drop in blood sugar followed by shock, which is very different from a skin condition.
In general, however, the following symptoms could be a sign of an allergic reaction.
Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
Red, inflamed skin
Chronic ear infections
Itchy, runny eyes
Some of these symptoms could also be a sign of another condition. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis and to help your dog start feeling better.
For more information on this and other topics visit The American Kennel Club website or https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-allergies-symptoms-treatment/