Dog Skin Allergies

  • 05/10/2013

Allergies are a pesky problem that even dogs suffer from. It is estimated that every one in seven dogs are victims to allergy related issues. One of the most common allergies in dogs is that of skin allergies, which are said to be hereditarily linked. Some dog breeds are more likely to experience allergies, but all dog breeds and mixes may be affected. Allergies are reactions linked through certain food exposure, inhalants, or something in the environment that cause irritation. An allergen is the culprit of the problem that your dog's immune system responds to differently, creating an allergic or hypersensitive reaction. Allergies aren't discovered upon first encounter with the allergen. In fact, it typically takes at least two times of exposure to the allergen before there is an allergic reaction. Dog skin allergies have become quite common among the canine breeds and they are just as susceptible as humans. Canines tend to react to allergens through skin problems versus nasal nuisances. There are a wide range of causes that make it difficult to properly diagnose your pup. Allergies may develop at any point in time during life, so keep an eye on your pooch for any problems that may arise. Dog skin allergies are broken down into four main categories; Nutritional Dermatitis, Atopic Dermatitis, Parasitic Dermatitis, and Neurogenic Dermatitis.

Nutritional dermatitis is a food allergy that causes an itchy rash to emerge about the skin of your dog. Since your pooch is covered in fur the allergy may be difficult to notice, especially for those longer haired breeds. Veterinarians speculate that nutritional dermatitis arises from intake of poor quality dog food. Even though some commercial pet food labels claim to be complete formulas, all are not. Poor nutrition or excessive weight-loss kibble will cause a stressed dog and dry, itchy skin. The best solution is offering your dog a diet higher in better quality of protein and fat. Watching dog food labels is always advised and make sure your pup's diet is healthy so that nutritional dermatitis can be avoided altogether.

According to veterinarians, the most common dog skin allergy is atopic dermatitis (also known as atopy) and typically begins at a young age. Atopic dermatitis is caused by substances your pooch breathes in; including molds, pollens, dust, and other airborne bits. Early signs won't be so severe - there will be slight itching, but nothing noticeable. Later, dogs with atopy will chew and lick at their paws, as well as scratch their ears, faces, and eyelids. It may go unnoticed until your pup chews its skin raw from terrible itching, making it hard to first determine. Bringing your dog to the veterinarian is advised so you can obtain treatment to help control the allergies. It is also suggested to try and keep your dog in surroundings free of the allergen, although sometimes that is impossible and you must do the best you can.

Dogs and fleas have never gotten along, and sometimes fleas are more than just a nuisance. If you notice your dog scratching and pawing at its skin, it may be related to parasitic dermatitis, another type of skin allergy prominent in dogs. There are other bothersome bugs that may be culprits in your dog's skin allergies, such as deer flies, gnats, chiggers, and different types of mites. If your pup has a run in with a Sarcoptic mite it will create intense itching, inflamed skin, and numerous small scabs - this dog skin allergy also goes by scabies or red mange and tends to affect the dog's face and front legs. A Demodex mite is another dangerous critter that typically infests young dogs. Demodex mites prey on dogs stressed from disease, poor nutrition, immune disorders, or harsh environments and is rumored to be a genetically transmitted immune protein shortage. Bring your pup to the vet for proper care.

Sometimes the skin allergy affecting your poor pooch may not clearly be defined. In that case, your doggie may suffer from neurogenic dermatitis, which is dog skin allergies existing with no known cause but excessive chewing and licking on your pooch's part. Characteristics of neurogenic dermatitis involve canines persistently knawing a specific area raw. Veterinarians believe dog skin allergies in the neurogenic category are created through separation anxiety, frustration, and confinement. Typically the foreleg or ankle is the victim of unhealing abrasions caused by persistent scratching and biting of your fickle friend. As with any dog skin allergy, visiting your vet is recommended. In this case it is clear that you may want to offer some positive changes in your pup's life to relieve anxiety or frustration. After all, having a happy dog also makes for a healthy dog.

There are a wide range of dog skin allergies, and each holds its own cause and cure. Routine visits to the veterinarian will help maintain any allergen issues Fido may be undergoing. Bringing your dog in earlier may also help detect an existing dog skin allergy you are unaware of yet due to early stages. As with anything, early diagnosis is always the best way to maintain otherwise devastating outcomes. Sporting a dog shirt on your dog will help hide the attacked areas if allergens do arise, and will make it difficult for your pooch to lick the area raw. Stay aware of your pooch's problems if any are to arise, and always contact a veterinarian if you have any concerns.


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