Just like humans, dogs are also prone to developing allergies. A dog may become allergic to a certain substance because of prolonged exposure. However, the most common allergies seen in dogs are related to food. The growing number of dogs that are becoming allergic to ingredients in their food has inspired many companies to start producing “hypoallergenic” dog food. These specialized formulas are designed to meet the nutritional needs of dogs with allergies, while excluding the most common food-based allergens.
However, it is possible for dogs to become allergic to substances that are not food-related. The reason for an allergic reaction in a dog is through exposure to a certain allergen or antigen. A dog’s immune system responds to certain substances as foreign invaders, which causes an allergic reaction. There are three different methods by which a dog will display an allergic reaction – itching of the skin, coughing or sneezing, and gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting and diarrhea).
Caring for a dog with allergies can be extremely difficult, since it requires you to modify your habits in order to meet your dog’s needs. If you are caring for a dog that has an allergy to a food-based item, you may need to begin researching appropriate hypoallergenic dog food formulas to purchase. This can be relatively expensive, and makes choosing the proper food all the more important. Many dogs become allergic to carbohydrate-based ingredients, such as corn, soy or wheat. If you are unsure of the specific ingredient that your dog is allergic to, it’s highly recommended to try using a grain-free dog food formula. If your dog has a grain-based allergy, their symptoms will eventually disappear when they are fed the grain-free food.
When caring for a dog with allergies, it is entirely possible that your dog may be allergic to substances that are not food-related. Some dogs show allergic reactions to certain shampoos, air fresheners, wool bedding or other topical substances. These types of allergies require that you first identify the substance that is causing your dog’s allergic reaction. Usually, these allergies are either based on inhalation of a product, or direct contact with an allergen. Depending on your dog’s symptoms, you will usually be able to tell the difference between these two types of allergic reactions.
In some cases, your dog may develop a flea allergy. Although initially difficult to deal with, caring for a dog with a flea allergy requires that you completely eradicate all fleas from your household. This can be accomplished by using a variety of flea treatment products. Flea “bombs” are small devices that envelop a room in flea-killing smoke, though require that you remove yourself (and any pets) from your household for several hours. Topical flea treatments are also effective, and can be applied directly to your dog’s skin. There are also anti-flea spray products, which can be used to treat curtains, furniture and any bedding that can not be reached with a flea bomb.
Caring for a pet dogs with allergies may seem difficult, but it is much easier when you identify the source of your dog’s allergic reaction. Treatment for allergies may also be obtained from your veterinarian, though obtaining a prescription for allergy medication usually requires that you schedule a veterinary visit.