Dog Allergies – Most Common Types

The number one cause of visits to the vet’s office other than routine physical exams is somehow linked to allergies. It is amazing how allergies can affect the lives of our four-legged friends. Most people don’t understand the far-reaching effects of the immune systems and what can happen if it goes haywire. There are four main causes of allergies and the symptoms tend to overlap, so it can be hard to differentiate them. Problems such as chronic ear issues, skin infections, hair loss, skin thickening, and similar pet health issues are all symptoms of allergies. Many people are really confused when an ear problem is diagnosed as allergies. Generally, the ears are warm, wet, and dark environments perfect for the growth of bacteria. The immune system, when working properly, takes care of these things before it gets out of control. But, if a pet suffers from allergies, the immune system is compromised, allowing these normal bacteria to form bad infections.

The biggest cause of allergies is a condition called atopy. Atopy is an pet health allergy caused by airborne particles like dust, mold, dander, pollens, and many other small particles. Atopy is the cause of over 80 percent of all canine allergies! That is by far the highest of the four and, unfortunately, it is the only one we have absolutely no control over. The use of humidifiers and air purifiers helps, but unless your pet lives in a plastic bubble they will inhale these particles. Atopy tends to cause ear problems, and scratching around the tail head, in the armpit, and licking of the toes. Usually these problems begin seasonally and then progresses to year-round problems. We can control the itching to a certain degree with steroids and antihistamines but the only real treatment is finding out what the substance is and making a vaccine against it.

The second most common pet health allergy is flea allergic dermatitis, which affects only about fifteen percent of dogs with allergies. Most of my clients think that this is “number one” but unfortunately it is a distant second behind atopy. Fortunately though, this allergy is relatively treatable by using strong lasting flea products. Flea shampoos, flea collars and over-the-counter products containing pyrethrins are good at killing fleas for a few hours to a few days but fleas will again affect our pets. Long-lasting flea control products tend to last a month and keep fleas at bay. The allergy can come from just one fleabite and cause itching for weeks. Animals with fleabite allergies tend to itch along the tailhead, armpits, and neck region. Remember, use flea products on your animals and also treat your yard for fleas to reduce itching in your pets.

The third most common allergy is a food allergy. This is another pet health allergy that people think is much more common. Of all the allergies, food allergies are the easiest to treat, but in reality this type of allergy only affects less than five percent of itchy dogs. So this means that only one out of twenty itchy animals suffers from a true food allergy. These allergies show up as scratching at the ears, tail base, and licking at the toes. Most animals that suffer from food allergies are allergic to three basic things, beef, chicken, and corn. Unfortunately these products are found in 99 percent of dog foods and treats. When we eliminate these ingredients, it takes about three months to see the symptoms go away.

Gary Pearson is an accomplished niche website developer and author.