Is there any way to easily diagnose skin allergies in dogs?
Pet skin problems keep most vets busy, but skin allergies in dogs may just top the list for most common reason dog owners make visits to the vet.
Allergies are slightly mysterious, even in people, where the allergy sufferer can communicate his or her discomfort and help pin down probable causes of allergic reactions.
But imagine your dog one day breaks out in skin allergies- the problem is much harder to crack since you’re on your own with diagnosis. You simply have to guess as to how the allergies might have begun. Of course just like in people, any number of things can cause skin allergies in dogs, so it’s no easy task. It’s for this reason that most vets see skin allergies in dogs every single day – pet owners simply can’t get to the bottom of things without some help.
Here’s Help: Possible Sources of Your Dog’s Skin Allergies
Here’s a quick run-down of the most common possible irritants which might cause skin allergies in dogs- it may help you diagnose the problem on your own without an expensive trip to the vet’s office. On the other hand, even if you’re planning on taking your dog in, it always helps to pre-think the possible sources of your dog’s skin problems. It will help your vet immensely if you’ve narrowed the field just a bit, and it’s great if you can quickly answer your vet’s questions without having to pause to search your brain on the spot with every question he has for you.
Top 7 Possible Sources of Dog Skin Allergies
#1. Pollen, Dust, or Mold
When a dog inhales something that causes him to have an allergic reaction, it’s called atopy. Pollen (or dust or mold) does for some dogs what it does to some people: it makes them miserable with allergies. However, while they may be allergic to some of the same things we’re allergic to, dogs exhibit reactions in totally different ways.
Your dog will not get a runny nose when he has a pollen allergy: he’ll develop a skin problem. This means hair loss, mutilated skin, red patches, and of course…incessant scratching.
In reality, many skin allergies in dogs are really symptoms of allergies that originate elsewhere.
#2. Flea Saliva
There’s not a dog or any other creature on Earth, for that matter, that doesn’t find a flea bite to be 100% bothersome. However, some dogs hate fleas more than others because they have hypersensitivity to flea saliva. It’s pretty common, actually (in cats, too).
These dogs suffer not only the annoyance of itchy, bothersome fleas and bites, but in addition develop skin conditions due to an allergic reaction to the saliva that’s emitted from the fleas’ mouths when they bite. This condition is called Flea Allergic Dermatitis.
It’s definitely time to visit the vet if you suspect this is the problem.
#3. Milk Products
Dogs are usually lactose intolerant, which means sharing your ice cream with your dog on a hot summer’s day may seem like a great idea but I think we all know the end result of that! Dairy products cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other stomach problems.
On top of that, some dogs are also allergic to milk products…which causes skin problems. If you feed your dog milk products and notice heavy bouts of itchiness then there’s a good chance he’s got allergies to dairy products.
It probably goes completely against your intuition, but yes some dogs are allergic to beef. Eating beef (or in some cases chicken, pork, wheat, corn, or soy) will cause skin allergies in dogs (although the allergic reaction is caused by something ingested, not something touching the skin)
#5. Certain Fabrics
You may not believe this one, but some dogs are indeed allergic to nylon, wool, polyester…you name it. Here, we’re talking true “skin allergies” in dogs- stuff touches the skin and voila: intense scratching.
#6. Flea-Control Products
In an ironic twist to Source #2 (Flea saliva), sometimes the cure for one allergen is the cause of other skin allergies in dogs. The chemicals used in flea control products are harsh (they have to be, since they’re designed to kill bugs). Dogs are likely to be allergic to flea collars, flea dips, and insecticidal shampoo. Consult with your vet on how to solve this conundrum.
#7. Other Chemicals
This is sort of related to the previous cause: household chemicals -are another common source of skin allergies in dogs. Cleaning products, carpet shampoos, room fresheners… you name it and it might be causing your dog to scratch.