Dealing With Dog Allergies
This time of year can be tough for pets with allergies. Dogs may have an allergic reaction to anything at any time. Your dog may have an allergic reaction tomorrow to the food he’s eaten all his life, the detergent that you use to wash your blankets, or the grass in your yard.
An allergic reaction is the body’s response to an invader. Your dog’s body mounts a defense against what it perceives to be an attacker — whether it’s a flea bite or an ingredient in his dog food. That defense can be a rash, hives, itching, or watery eyes. His body is reacting to the offending allergen by trying to get rid of it in some way.
Why does a dog develop an allergy when he hasn’t been allergic previously? His body may suddenly decide something previously accepted is no longer acceptable. The body may suddenly have an intolerance for a specific ingredient. Whatever the body is allergic to, it may only take a very small amount to get a big reaction.
Dogs are most commonly allergic to flea bites which results in flea bite dermatitis — itching, redness, rash, and loss of hair around the rear quarters and over the tail. According to one vet, for a dog with flea bite dermatitis, or an allergy to fleas, if one flea bites a dog on the nose, the dog will itch like crazy around his tail. This allergy makes a dog miserable. Good flea control is absolutely essential for a dog that is allergic to fleas.
Dogs are also commonly allergic to some typical ingredients in dog food. One of the most common ingredients in dog food is corn in various forms. Corn can be found as whole corn, ground corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal and so on. If your dog is allergic to corn he will react to any of these kinds of corn. You may have to read the ingredient labels carefully to find some of the corn since it can be slipped in almost unnoticeably.
Dogs may be allergic to other grains and cereals in dog food, so you may need to try your dog on different foods to gauge his reaction.
Dogs can also be allergic to different kinds of meat protein. Some dogs are now allergic to chicken or lamb since these have been so commonly used as primary dog food ingredients. If your dog is allergic to one of these meat ingredients there are plenty of other meat proteins available. Some dog food companies specialize in making foods with novel proteins such as emu meat, kangaroo, venison and others.
If your dog is on good flea control and you have tried different foods but you still suspect that your dog is suffering from allergies, consult your vet. Your vet can test your dog to isolate the cause of the allergic reaction. It could be a cleaning product, something you use in your yard, or one of a dozen other things that we use daily.
Allergies are a problem for both people and pets but they can be overcome with a little effort. By identifying the cause of the allergy you can eliminate it and make your dog much happier.
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