Allergens in dogs: the most common and what to do

Dogs can have allergic reactions to many elements that are part of their daily life. As an owner, it is important that you pay attention to the symptoms of allergies to avoid serious consequences.

An allergy is a reaction of the immune system to a foreign element in the body. As with people, dogs and other pets can also suffer from allergies. You may be wondering: “What are the most common allergens in dogs?”. To answer this question, it is necessary to know which are the most common allergies and their symptoms.

The most common allergies in dogs and their symptoms

There are several types of allergies that can affect dogs. Skin allergies, food allergies and allergies caused by allergens present in the environment. They all have different symptoms. However, the various symptoms of allergies can overlap.

Some more common allergens in dogs cause allergic reactions that are so mild that you can barely notice them. For example, redness of the skin or localized itching after a bee or insect sting.

However, if your dog is showing signs of a more prominent allergic reaction, such as facial swelling, excessive itching, vomiting, hives , bumps or rashes, we recommend that you see a veterinarian immediately.

Allergens in dogs: anaphylactic shock

In rare cases, dogs can have a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Signs of anaphylaxis can include shortness of breath, weakness, and collapse. Anaphylaxis can be a life-threatening allergic reaction.

In some dogs, anaphylactic shock can be caused by bee stings or a reaction to a vaccine. Therefore, it is advisable to check the dog’s condition after giving vaccines, drugs or when eating new foods.

Typically, adrenaline is given to counteract the symptoms of anaphylactic shock. In the early stages of anaphylactic shock, adrenaline may be useful, although a study published in 2002 suggests that its efficacy in more advanced cases is limited.

Fortunately, anaphylactic shocks in dogs are rare and a prompt consultation with a veterinarian could easily solve the problem.

Allergic skin reactions

Allergic skin reactions present with redness, itching, inflammation and rashes that affect the skin and are called allergic dermatitis. These are the most common symptoms of allergic reactions that affect dogs. There are three main causes of skin allergies in dogs:

  • Insects. Insect allergic dermatitis.
  • Food allergy.
  • Environmental allergens.

All skin allergies can cause secondary infections due to the presence of fungi or bacteria. If remedies are not found quickly, the animal’s clinical picture can worsen.

Most common allergens in dogs: food allergies

Symptoms of food allergies in dogs can relate to the skin (hives, swelling of the face, itching, bleeding), the gastrointestinal tract (vomiting, diarrhea), or both. Also, chronic ear or foot infections can occur. In severe cases, dogs can have a major allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis.

Symptoms and treatments vary based on the dog, its medical history and the causes of the allergy. According to experts from the American College of Veterinary Dermatology , 10-20% of allergy cases in dogs are due to food allergies.

Components of the dog’s diet are among the most common allergens in dogs. It is important to consult a veterinarian to distinguish an allergy from a food intolerance.

Foods that can cause allergies

Dogs can be allergic to any type of food. The most common food sources that can cause food allergies or intolerances are:

  • Beef.
  • Chicken meat and derivatives (eggs).
  • Fish.
  • Wheat and other grains.

The best way to diagnose and treat a food allergy is to consult a veterinarian. Together you will be able to check the symptoms present in the dog and discover the ingredient that causes the allergy.

Most common allergens in dogs: contact allergies

Environmental allergens, such as dust, pollen and mold, can cause atopic allergic reactions or atopic dermatitis. In most cases, these allergies are seasonal. You realize this because the dog scratches itself only at certain times of the year.

As with food allergies, the most affected areas are the legs and ears. However, they can also affect the muzzle, armpits, groin, eye area, and spaces between the toes.

In dogs, allergic dermatitis appears to be related to ear infections and ear infections. However, there aren’t many studies on it.

A statistical study conducted by researchers at the University of California found that atopic dermatitis is mainly caused by a reaction to dust mites, one of the most common allergens in dogs.

Atopic dermatitis tends to worsen depending on the season of the year, with a higher incidence in the fall. Also according to the same study, the second allergen is mold, which causes a higher incidence of allergies in autumn and spring.

It should be noted that there is a predisposition of some breeds to allergies. For example, the Bull Terrier has a pollen allergy.

Insect bites, one of the most common allergens in dogs

As for insect bites, the most common allergen in dogs is fleas . Many dogs are allergic to flea saliva and develop allergic dermatitis when they come in contact with this ectoparasite.

Flea-infested dogs get itchy (especially at the base of the tail) and their skin can become red, inflamed, and crusted. Additionally, they can experience anaphylactic shock if stung by scorpions, wasps, or bees.

Symptoms of insect bites are redness and swelling of the skin in the area of ​​the sting. They also often swell the ears, muzzle and legs.

If your dog has abnormal inflammation, we recommend that you take him to the vet immediately. This professional will be able to make the exact diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

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