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Understanding Your Dog’s Allergies

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As pet parents, we all want our dogs to be as happy, healthy, and comfortable as possible. When something like allergies comes into the mix, though, it can be tough to watch our pups experience discomfort over something we can’t necessarily control. 

Keep reading to learn more about the common causes of dog allergies, along with some tips for keeping your pet as carefree (and itch-free) as possible. 

What’s Causing Your Dog’s Allergies? 

Some dogs may be completely fine around certain substances such as pollen, mold, or fungi. Others, not so much. When your dog has allergies, it means he has a hypersensitivity to particular substances, or allergens. Basically, the immune system is overreacting. 

Anything that can cause an allergic reaction is an allergen—plants, pollen, insects, animals, food, and more. 

Three main types of dog allergies are: 

Food Allergies

Like humans, it’s possible for dogs to be allergic to certain ingredients in their food. While some of the most common dog food allergens are proteins, it’s possible for your pup to develop an allergy to practically any ingredient, at any age. 

Common signs of food allergies in dogs include: 

  • Itchy skin, paws, or ears
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Lethargy 
  • Loss of appetite 

If you suspect that your dog has a food allergy, talk to your vet. They will likely recommend an elimination diet to confirm the culprit of your dog’s food allergies, gradually switching your pup over to hypoallergenic dog food

Note that you shouldn’t experiment with transitioning your dog’s food on your own, as this could result in tummy troubles for your pooch! 

Flea Allergies

Fleas are annoying enough on their own, jumping onto our pets’ bodies from the yard or around the home and biting and irritating the skin. Plus, they’re around all year long—not just in the warm summer months. 

To make matters worse, some dogs are allergic to flea saliva, which contributes to even more itching all over the body. 

If your dog has flea allergies, you may notice excessive itching and hair loss in the “flea triangle,” the area in the middle of the back to the base of the tail and down the hind legs. 

If you suspect that your pet has flea allergies, talk to your vet to determine the appropriate next steps. 

Environmental Allergies

Dogs, like humans, can develop allergies to a variety of substances and ingredients—household cleaning products, perfumes, cigarette smoke, pollen, grass, weeds, mold, fungi, and more. 

If your pup tends to get allergies in the spring and fall, he’s likely dealing with seasonal allergies. Common signs of seasonal allergies in dogs include: 

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Respiratory issues
  • Itchy, flaky skin
  • Hair loss
  • Shaking head or scratching ears
  • Licking paws

If your pet is allergic to a certain cleaning product or perfume, the solution is simple: swap it out for something else. If he’s allergic to pollen or grass, though, it’s a bit more complicated; you’ll have to focus more on managing his allergies than removing the allergen. 

Managing Your Dog’s Allergies

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can keep your dog’s allergies under control. The first step, of course, is to confirm the source and determine whether it’s something you can remove altogether. 

Otherwise, try the following to keep your dog’s allergies under control: 

  • Avoid walks during times of day when pollen levels are at their peak.

  • Wipe your dog’s paws after going outside to avoid bringing allergens into your home.

  • Vacuum your home and wash your dog’s toys and bedding on a regular basis.

  • When you bathe your dog, try Pet Honesty’s skin-soothing  Anti-Itch Allergy Shampoo.

  • Give your dog dietary supplements such as fish oil or coconut oil

You can also try allergy-specific supplements, such as Pet Honesty’s Allergy Support+ Chews. These tasty chews are vet-recommended to help support your dog’s immune system, soothe allergy-related skin issues, and promote healthy histamine levels. Plus, they’re available in a tasty chicken flavor that your pup is sure to love!