Many of us have experienced the misery of dealing with allergies! The runny, stuffy nose, and itchy puffy eyes make you want to climb in bed with a box of tissues and a bottle of decongestant. Unfortunately, your pup also experiences these symptoms and more! Your sweet pup can’t just run to the local drug store and pick up some allergy medication for themselves, so they rely on you to feel their best! If you want to learn about dog allergies and the symptoms to look out for in North Charleston, SC, keep reading! How Do You Know if Your Dog Has Allergies? Some dogs are genetically predisposed to produce excess histamines in response to allergens. These dogs frequently have autoimmune issues that make them more susceptible to developing allergies. If you notice that your pup has red or inflamed skin, is sneezing a lot, has itchy ears, keeps getting chronic ear infections, or is dealing with gastrointestinal symptoms, it’s time to sit down with your trusted veterinarian. It would be best to discuss your dog’s symptoms and start the process of figuring out what your pet is allergic to so that you can learn what changes need to be made to keep your furry friend comfortable moving forward! Allergy Symptoms If you notice your dog exhibiting any of the symptoms listed below, it’s worth a consultation with your vet so that your best friend can get back to feeling their best! Acute Allergic Reactions Acute allergic reactions in dogs are the most severe and require emergency veterinary attention! If you notice that your dog is developing any adverse symptoms after administering a vaccination or medication, or if they have been bitten or stung, call your vet immediately! Anaphylactic Shock If not treated quickly, your dog may go into anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening medical emergency. When your dog is exposed to an allergen, their immune system will produce antihistamines. The excess of histamines in the body cause the itching, swelling, and irritation commonly experienced with allergy symptoms. If the histamines stay localized in the skin, the allergic reaction usually presents as itching, redness, and swelling in the skin. If you notice these symptoms, contact a vet or emergency vet right away. Hives, and Facial Swelling Another acute allergic reaction includes hives or the swelling of the face, throat, eyelids and ears. These symptoms are critical and will likely require veterinary care to quickly control, but they are not likely to be fatal. Your vet will most likely treat your pet with an antihistamine to reduce the body’s response to the allergen. Acute allergic reactions can be caused by a number of environmental, food, or flea allergies, so it is important to work with your veterinarian in order to determine exactly what your pet is allergic to. Common Types of Dog Allergies Listed below are the 2 main types of allergies that dogs get: Skin Allergies Skin allergies, or allergic dermatitis, is one of the most common allergic responses in dogs. Your dog’s reaction to the itching and irritation will likely cause them to lick, scratch, or rub the skin at the affected site. If the skin is scratched open or damaged, it becomes highly vulnerable for infections to develop and cause further systemic problems. Fleas, food, and environmental allergens all cause reactions that affect the skin. Flea saliva triggers an allergic reaction in canine dermis in which the skin becomes red, swollen, and crusty around the base of the tail. Itchy, swollen, or infected legs, ears, and feet are generally telltale symptoms of environmental or food allergies. If the itching is combined with vomiting and or diarrhea, it is likely your dog is suffering from a food allergy. If your dog has an itchy face and legs, but no gastrointestinal symptoms, your vet will likely start by testing for sensitivities to environmental allergens. Dogs can be allergic to a long list of environmental allergens including dust, pollen, mold, grasses, perfumes, cleaning products, shampoos, different types of fabrics, smoke, rubber, or even plastic! Finding the root source of your dog’s allergies is key to helping them find relief! Food Allergies Food allergies in dogs are generally not as common as we are led to believe, as they are frequently incorrectly confused with food sensitivities. A food allergy is triggered by an immune response usually to the protein or complex carbohydrate in the food which leads to dermatitis, hives, and swelling of the face, eyelids, ears, or throat. If you are unsure whether or not your dog is suffering from a food allergy, it’s always a good idea to take your dog in for a consultation at the vet. They will help determine whether your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity, and will make sure your pup’s digestive and immune health is on track! Seek Veterinary Care for Dog Allergies If your dog is having an allergic reaction, its best to get them to the vet and comfortable as soon as possible! Even though allergies usually aren’t life threatening, addressing them right away will help keep your pup healthier and happier. The key to treating dog allergies is to determine the allergen and removing it from the dog’s diet or environment. If you notice your dog exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, it’s worth a consultation with your vet so that your best friend can get back to feeling their best again! You and your vet will work together to assess any recent changes in your dog’s diet or lifestyle that may have contributed to your dog’s most recent allergic reaction in order to try to isolate the allergen. Contact Northwoods Veterinary Clinic by calling or schedule an appointment online. Our team in North Charleston, SC is dedicated to providing the best care for your pet!