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Advice From Your Vet

2018-04-15

Advice from your vet

Allergies

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of spring and watching the world turn green after a long winter. Unfortunately, the budding of trees and plants also brings pollens that drive our pets’ allergies crazy.

Allergies are arguably as common in dogs as they are in people. The latest trend in allergy management is avoiding certain ingredients in dog foods. Food allergies, including grain and protein allergies, can be a problem in dogs. Unfortunately, most allergies in our pets are environmental and are unavoidable. These include things like plant pollens, dust, molds, dander, cotton, and other common household materials. Only a small percentage of allergies are food-related, and most of the dogs with food allergies have some environmental allergies as well. This makes it very unlikely to find a food that will resolve all your dog’s allergy symptoms.


Signs of environmental allergies in dogs are different than people and include itchy and inflamed skin associated with the paws, legs, abdomen, ears, face, and around the hind end. If the problem goes on long enough, the constant scratching, licking, and chewing leads to skin and ear infections and exacerbates the problem.

Skin testing can be performed to identify environmental allergens; the process is very similar to the skin testing performed in people. Most dogs with allergies test positive for 10-15 different allergens. This information can be used to customize immunotherapeutic injections (allergy shots) to desensitize the body. This type of treatment can take a long time to yield results, and because of this, most people elect to pursue other treatments that will provide faster relief.

If your dog is showing signs of allergies, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian. There are a variety of safe and effective treatments that will help keep your dog comfortable
and healthy. Environmental allergies are impossible to avoid, but there is no reason they should prevent you and your dog from enjoying the spring weather.