Humans with allergies dread the spring season. They suffer from stuffed noses, breathing difficulties, headaches, and worse symptoms from the pollen-inundated air. Dogs also suffer from allergies, but the symptoms of allergic reactions in dogs aren’t necessarily as obvious as they are in humans.
To help you prevent and identify allergic reactions in your dog, we offer these five facts about dogs and their allergies. Here’s what you need to know
Dogs Can Be Exposed to Allergens Anywhere
As with humans, individual dogs and puppies exhibit allergic reactions to a variety of environmental stimuli. These stimuli can cause reactions after being inhaled, injected, eaten, or brushed against their coat or skin.
Some dogs are allergic to a variety of materials, while other dogs are only allergic to one specific food or chemical. Dogs can be affected by allergens anywhere they go, including in stores, friends’ homes, and the inside of your car.
Allergens in homes include:
- Mold and mildew
- Carpet fibers
- Cigarette or cigar smoke
- Dust and pollen
- Detergents and cleaning products
- Foods including poultry or fish
- Coatings, sealants, and household sprays
- Human medications and supplements
Your yard or garage may contain plants, building materials, and insects that cause allergic reactions in your dog. Lawn treatments and plastic products can also cause problems with sensitive dogs.
In your neighborhood, allergens can be lurking along the route that you and your dog walk every day. Your dog may exhibit an allergic reaction to:
- Pollen and dust
- Garden herbicides and pesticides
- Sidewalk sprays and road coatings
- Driveway sealants
- Trash, discarded food, and debris
- Plants and grass clippings
- Insect bites
- Standing water
Allergens are everywhere. However, when you know how to identify and avoid common allergens, you can lower your dog’s risk of suffering from an allergic reaction. As you and your dog enjoy trips around the block or playtime in the park, be aware of potential allergens. If you suspect these allergens may be affecting your pet, redirect your dog away from areas known to contain them.
Common Plants Cause Allergic Reactions in Some Dogs
Plants in residential and commercial landscapes can cause allergic reactions in some pets. Dogs can also suffer from allergies to common wild plants found at the edges of hiking trails.
When planning your garden, reject plants that are toxic or allergy-triggering to your dog. Problematic landscape plants to avoid if you have a sensitive dog include:
- Male juniper shrubs
- Acacia shrubs
- Mulberry trees
- Oak trees
- Evening and garden primrose
- Sago palm
- Bermuda grass
Some of these plants, like the male juniper, create abundant pollen that affects dogs. Others, including oleander, may induce an allergic reaction when touched or eaten because they are toxic to dogs.
Indoor house plants can also cause canine allergic reactions. Houseplants to avoid when you own a sensitive dog include:
- Cut-leaf philodendron
A wide array of attractive plants are safe to plant around dogs. Choose these plants when creating your gardens and indoor plant displays. African violets, celosia, false aralia, and many of the succulents are safe for most dogs.
When out in nature, you may want to keep your dog from blooming bulbs including daffodils and narcissus. Spurge, crown of thorns, yew tree, and poison oak should also be avoided when outside with your dog.
Of course, if your dog appears perfectly healthy even when around these plants, there is no need to have your pet avoid them unless they are known to be toxic to pets.
Bites From Stinging Animals Cause Allergies
Tick and flea saliva cause allergies in dogs. These allergic reactions become more noticeable in flea and tick season. Allergies to mites may cause allergy symptoms year-round.
Bees, hornets, and wasps induce moderate to severe allergic reactions in some dogs. When you know that your dog has been bitten or stung by an insect, monitor your dog closely for the next few days to ensure there are no life-threatening reactions.
Allergy Symptoms Follow Three Patterns in Dogs
Dogs have three types of allergic reactions, which include:
- Urticaria — itchy or non-itchy hives, bumps, or rash
- Angiodema — moderately or severely swollen face
- Anaphylaxis — severe reaction that may be deadly
Symptoms of anaphylactic shock include gastrointestinal upset, cold paws, white or pale gums, respiratory distress, weak pulse, seizures, or shivering. If you suspect your dog is having this type of reaction, your pet needs immediate medical intervention.
Most dogs exhibit urticaria and the resulting scratching as a result of their allergies. However, dogs may only chew at their paws or the bases of their tails, so owners don’t suspect allergies. Other often unexpected signs that your dog has allergies include:
- Scabby, moist, or reddened skin
- Itchy or smelly ears
Pay attention to the subtle signs of your dog’s discomfort to spot allergies before they become serious.
Help is Available for Dogs Suffering With Allergies
There are a variety of tests available to help diagnose your dog’s allergy triggers. Allergy treatments may include medications, topical preparations, and shampoos. Proper flea-and-tick treatments can help prevent allergic reactions to insect bites. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on other preventative methods to reduce allergy risks.
Contact 1st Pet Veterinary Centers to make an appointment and further discuss possible testing and treatment for your dog’s allergies. We work with you and your pet to prevent, diagnose, and treat canine allergies and allergic reactions.