Allergy season in Tennessee is upon us, whether you be human or canine. Allergies in dogs tend to manifest a little differently than they do in us, however. While people suffer from stuffy noses, sinus pressure, and itchy eyes, our pets tend to deal more with itchy, inflamed skin.
Dogs who have allergies can be in a lot of discomfort. At Volunteer Veterinary Hospital, we have a lot that we can do to treat allergies in dogs. Until then, though, there are definitely some things you can do at home to help your pet.
Reasons Your Pet is Itchy
If your dog is suddenly itchy, there is probably a good reason. Many things can cause itchy skin (pruritus), including fleas, skin mites, skin infections, contact irritation, and even food allergies.
One of the most common reasons for seasonal pruritus flares in dogs, though, is environmental allergens. Common culprits for allergies in dogs can include:
- Molds and fungus
- Dust mites
- Airborne irritants such as perfumes and smoke
- Pests (including allergy to flea saliva)
Some pets actually suffer from a condition called atopy. In this disease, the skin’s defense barriers are not normally formed and allow excessive stimulation of the immune system. These pets often have multiple environmental allergies that can be quite frustrating to manage.
Treating Allergies in Dogs
Some allergens in dogs are avoidable, and many causes of allergies in dogs are not. Many times pet owners will need the help of one of our veterinarians to get things under control.
Sometimes, though, symptoms are mild, or you just need a little help until you can get in for an appointment. In these situations, there are certainly a few things you can do at home to help your pet.
Our ten favorite tips for dogs with allergies include:
- Be sure your pet is on a quality, prescription flea medication to take these pests out of the equation.
- Bathe your pet in a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo for pets (be sure to rinse well). Many times physically washing your pet’s skin and fur is helpful. For dogs with allergies, bathing several times a week can be okay.
- Consider using foot soaks to remove allergens from your pet’s itchy paws and prevent allergens from tracking indoors.
- Minimize allergens in your house by vacuuming and cleaning your floors often.
- Avoid perfumes and other scented products for your pet that may exacerbate already irritated skin.
- Consider using a good quality omega fatty acid to support skin health (please call us for recommendations).
- Use fragrance-free, non-toxic chemicals in your home.
- Consider closing the windows and turning on the air conditioning if your pet has outdoor allergens. Using HEPA filters may also be helpful.
- Give your pet a trim so that long hair doesn’t trap allergens against the skin.
- Contact us for recommendations for over-the-counter options for medicated shampoos, creams, or antihistamines. Be aware that these should only be used with a veterinarian recommendation as many products in the stores or Pinterest concoctions can cause more harm than good.
Allergies in dogs are common, and quite frustrating. There is no reason for your pet to suffer. If your pet is itching, don’t hesitate to make an appointment so that we can get started helping.