Dogs are just as susceptible to allergies as human beings and they don’t have the benefit of going down to the store and picking up Claritin or Zyrtec. All they can do is lick, chew or scratch at the hot spots and marks they get on their skin as a result. If your dog starts to show any of the signs of a skin allergy, the vet should be your first stop. However, there are many things you can do to avoid these issues cropping up at all.
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Skin allergies will appear in a few different forms. Allergies themselves are most frequently related to flea bites, followed by food allergies, and then inhalant allergies such as dust or pollens. The skin will often grow irritated and red. Swelling may occur, but will most often be a result of excess scratching or biting by your dog.
If your dog starts to lose hair as a result of the reaction or gets an ear infection, it might be a long term food allergy related to their dry food – a common problem that occurs in many dogs that eat processed dog foods.
Who Gets Skin Allergies
Any dog can come down with skin allergies. There is no particular indicator that makes a single dog more likely to get sick. However, dogs that are fed dry food too early do have a higher rate of food allergies and short haired dogs are more likely to suffer from skin contact allergies. Additionally, dogs that are bred for water sports or hunting tend to be less susceptible to flea bite allergies and moisture issues, though this is not exclusive. Any dog can suffer from dampness and flea bites.
Avoiding Skin Problems
Skin problems can be avoided in a number of ways. To start with, make sure your dog is given flea medication a regular basis. This is important not just for flea bite allergies, but for avoiding potential sickness from tick bites or other parasites that will latch on to your dog when they go outside.
Additionally, avoid feeding your dog foods with too many grain fillers. Of the grains, rice is the safest with corn, soy and wheat all directly linked to allergens that dogs can develop. Processed meats can also cause food allergies, and table scraps should be strictly avoided due to the foods that a dog cannot process in them.
If your dog starts to show signs of skin problems for any reason, see your vet. He will likely take blood tests and possibly put your dog on an elimination diet to see how his allergic reactions respond. Very often, basic nutritional changes can be all a dog needs to get better.