Allergies in dogs - what you really need to know
PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing explains: “As with humans, there are different types of allergies dogs can suffer with – and also many different triggers.
“If your dog has a skin allergy they may suffer from itchy skin, hair loss or rashes. Scratching and skin problems are extremely common in dogs. In fact, they are among the most common conditions that our vets see and treat.”
Caring for your dog’s skin allergy:
Get advice from your vet
“If you think your dog has a skin allergy, it’s best to get advice from your vet early on,” Nina explains.
“Skin problems often get worse over time and can become more difficult to treat if left, especially if the skin becomes inflamed or infected.”
Avoid any triggers
“Dogs will often have more than one trigger that kick starts an allergy response and this can make identifying the cause of a skin allergy very difficult,” Nina adds. “They could be almost anything - fleas, food, pollens, grass or mites to name just a few.”
“Fleas make your dog itchy which can worsen their skin allergies. There are also dogs that can be allergic to fleas themselves.”
“Food can be a trigger for some skin allergies. Carrying out a food trial is a good way to see if your dog’s diet might be causing their skin issues.
Keep a diary
“Try keeping a diary to help spot the triggers.”
Avoid lotions and potions
“There are many shampoos, lotions, creams, ointments and natural remedies available that say they are good for dogs with skin problems. Unfortunately, many of these products aren’t specifically designed for dogs that have allergic skin disease, and they can make already irritated or inflamed skin much worse.”
Look for changes
“Skin allergies often get better or worse and come and go over time – and sometimes this can seem completely random. It’s also important not to stop your dog’s treatment or diet without your vet’s advice – even if they seem much better.”
“We understand it’s hard to see your four-legged friend feeling uncomfortable. The cost for treating allergies can add up and spending another afternoon at the vets might not be your favourite thing to do, but it’s really important to be patient, especially when you’re starting a new treatment. Ask a vet questions and explain to them your worries and concerns.”