Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from allergies as well. We found that once we moved to our small town, which is surrounded by farmland, our one bulldog Dallas started showing signs of allergies. At first we thought it was her diet so we began an elimination diet to try and pinpoint the culprit of her itchiness. We went down the list of proteins, cutting out chicken, beef, etc., but we were not seeing the results we wanted to. The nice thing with feeding a raw diet is that you have full control of the ingredients they are ingesting which allows you to see how they react to each protein individually. Finally, we took Dallas to the vet, where he suggested it was environmental. We were given a special shampoo and also added a fatty acid supplement to her diet and we saw a dramatic change. It was also the fall season, and as we moved into winter, her symptoms calmed down. As we enter into fall again, I now know to see the signs and how to help her get through this allergy season and thought I would share them with you.
Environmental allergies can be triggered by many things such as:
- mold and fungus
- flea saliva
It is very common for dogs to suffer from allergies but it tends to show itself in certain breeds such as Bulldogs. And just like in humans, it tends to flare up during certain times of the year.
Some signs that your dog has allergies are:
- itchy, patchy, red skin–dogs tend to rub themselves on the carpet, the furniture, and your legs. Itchy areas can easily turn into hot spots which can get crusty and also infected. The crustiness can turn to bald spots as well
- chewing paws–their paws can look swollen and inflamed
- watery eyes and runny nose
- red, smelly, itchy ears–usually accompanied with head shaking and ear scratching
- sneezing or reverse sneezing–reverse sneezing is a whole other blog!
There are a few things that we can do to help our pooches through allergy season. As I mentioned above, bathing our dogs can help. Bathing will wash off any allergens that are stuck to our dogs fur and if using a special medicated shampoo, can really help skin issues. I am not a fan of bathing dogs often, but when my girl has a flare up, we bath her every other day when it’s bad!
Antihistamines can also offer relief. We keep Benadryl on hand during allergy season and for any allergy flare-ups that may occur, usually from bug bites in the summer. We also like to add a fatty acid supplement to their diet such as omega 3 fatty acid. This has been proven to help with the itchiness of allergies. Also, don’t forget to wipe off your pet’s feet with a wet cloth or wet wipe after walks. Allergens love to stick to our dogs, so wiping them off after walks can help. And finally, we have added an air purifier to our home to help cut back on some allergens in the air.
Of course, if severe, you can request an intradermal skin allergy test from your vet. It may be necessary if your dog needs medication such as Prednisone or Apoquel. I have heard mixed things about allergy tests. I have heard that they are not very accurate and can be very expensive but when your pet is suffering, I can understand wanting to find answers!
Knowing the signs of environmental allergies is helping us help Dallas this allergy season. As much as we love that fresh country air, we are definelty aware of when the farmer has his combine out but at least we can help keep symptoms under control.