The Major Canine Allergies: Inhalants, Foods and Pests

Canine allergies are as common in dogs as the urge to chase sticks and catch Frisbees! Unfortunately, canine allergies are not as fun. While a wide variety of canine allergies exist, there are three major canine allergies: inhalants, foods, and pests.

Inhalant Canine Allergies

Inhalant canine allergies, such as atopic dermatitis, are allergic skin diseases caused by immunological hypersensitivity to common environmental substances such as dust mites, pollen, mold, ragweed, cedar, etc. Symptoms include excessive grooming as well as licking and chewing the paws, perineum (anal region), and abdomen. Inhaled allergies can cause the dog to cough and sneeze, and he may have watery eyes, and severe itching. This will cause him to lick and scratch at just about any area of the body. Inhalant allergies can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, hypoallergenic shampoos, antibiotics, and hyposensitization (allergy shots).

Canine Food Allergies

Canine food allergy is the second most common type of allergy in dogs. Food allergies typically develop in dogs between the ages of 2 and 6. A large number of dogs with food allergies also suffer from inhalant allergies. Common food allergy triggers include: certain protein heavy foods such as meat/beef, dairy, and chicken, and grains such as wheat and corn.

Food allergies in dogs can cause a number of unpleasant and unsightly symptoms. Your dog may bite, chew and scratch his ears excessively, he may also scratch his eyes and muzzle, and bite and chew at his paws, underarms, groin, and anus. In some cases, your dog might vomit, pass gas excessively, have diarrhea, and he might stretch repeatedly for relief. Symptoms of canine food allergies including biting, chewing and scratching his ears excessively, and scratching the eyes and muzzle. Your dog might also bite and chew at his paws, underarms, groin, and anus. In some cases, vomiting may occur as well as excessive flatulence, diarrhea, and excessive stretching for relief.

You should take your dog to a vet if you suspect that he has food allergies. Only a vet can determine what type of food allergy you dog has by administering the correct tests. He can also prescribe the best treatments and diet for your dog's specific type of food allergy. Treatment options range from antibiotics and/or supplements to a special diets.

Canine Pest Allergies

The number one canine pest allergy is called parasitic dermatitis. It is caused by parasites such as fleas. The fleas make their home in the dog's fur, which causes the dog to scratch and bite. Dog's that are hypersensitive to the flea (saliva) will experience redness and swelling in addition to intense and immediate itching. There are several ways to control fleas. Regular grooming is effective as well as use of products that contain permethrin, amitraz or fipronyl. You can use a flea collar to repel fleas and other pests as well.