If you suffer from allergies, you know that come spring you’re going to have to start kicking back those allergy meds. Waking up with itchy, watery eyes and a stuffed nose feels like torture. It’s so bad that you begin thinking about all the times your eyes were clear and your nose easy to breathe from; ah, the pleasures of being able to breathe from both nostrils!
For us it’s easy to just go to the store and pick up allergy meds. It’s not so easy for our pets. Unless you can see signs of physical discomfort, there’s no way of telling if your dog is feeling the same irritation as you are. It’s even worse if you take them to the vet and they’re given a medication they have a severely negative reaction to. What can we do to help our loyal mutts and keep them feeling good and irritant-free?
It’s easier than you’d think. Here’s how to free your dog of the oppressive rule of the allergy.
How to Combat Food Allergies
The first thing to know is that food allergies can appear at any time. Your dog may have been eating the same brand of kibble for years, but that won’t stop a food allergy from developing. Allergic food reactions can include:
-Red Inflamed Ears
If your dog is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, you will need to see a veterinarian. According to Hill’s Pet, “Dietary elimination trials—removing the ingredient from the food your dog eats—are the most practical and accurate methods of diagnosing food allergies in dogs. The food your dog eats should be balanced and contain as few ingredients and additives as possible.” This will be a multi-step process, as you will need to zero in on what exactly is causing the dog’s allergic reaction. Start by replacing his processed dog food with an organic dog food. Stop feeding him people food (table scraps) and monitor his allergies. If the allergies persist, remove the dog toys. Once you have discovered the pup’s allergy by process of elimination, you can slowly reintroduce the toys and chews that were taken away. If the allergies come back, remove the chew and toys once more.
How to Combat Environmental Allergies
After your pup has had a good run through the grass at the dog park, does he spend the rest of the evening licking and chewing on his paws? Does your pup shake his head, violently slapping his ears? These behaviors can be attributed to environmental allergies. Environmental allergies include:
To determine what is causing your dog to bite at his paws and scratch himself so repetitively, PetMD suggests setting up an appointment with your vet for an intradermal skin test. By injecting particular allergens under your dog’s skin, the vet will be able to verify which allergen(s) is making the pup uncomfortable. To combat his allergies, your dog may be given antibiotics, antihistamines, fatty acids or steroids.
How to Combat Medicinal Allergies
Dogs who suffer from allergies, like humans, are usually given a prescription medication to help with the effects of the allergy. This can, as we know, backfire. Your dog could have an unknown allergy or could develop an allergy to the steroids, antibiotics fatty acids or antihistamines he was prescribed for his original allergies. This can put your dog in danger, especially if the allergy results in an asthma attack, laboring your dog’s breathing. Once you know that your dog is allergic to certain medications, have them inscribed on a customizable dog collar. If something should happen when you’re not there and his allergies aren’t marked in his chart, the acting vet and staff will know what medications cannot be used. Think of it as his own medical alert bracelet. The collar could save your pup’s life.
Dogs are incredibly resilient and it can be hard to spot when they’re uncomfortable or in pain. Pay attention to changes in their mood and repetitive grooming behavior, it could mean your pupper has allergies that need treating.