Cocker Spaniel Allergies

The Cocker Spaniel is a playful dog with a great personality. However, this breed may be prone to some health issues such as deafness, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, hyperthyroidism or allergies. Cocker Spaniels may develop inhalant allergies, food allergies and contact allergies.

Food Allergies

Cocker Spaniels are at risk for developing allergies to food. The immune system responds to certain ingredients by releasing histamines and causing different reactions. The dog will most likely experience itchiness in the ears and feet. The dog will scratch his ears and feet fervently. The affected areas will be red, irritated and swollen. You may also feel bumps and warmth when touching the ears or the feet of the pet.

In some Spaniels, the food allergies may also involve the gastrointestinal tract, causing vomiting, diarrhea, or blood and mucus in the feces and vomit.

The food that causes allergies may be anything starting from beef and corn to the preservatives used in the making of commercial dog foods. A lot of dogs may be allergic to milk. The ingredient that causes allergies is difficult to detect and may take several months to identify.

The dog should be given an elimination diet. This diet consists of one source of proteins and a source of starch (i.e., beef and potatoes). This diet should be kept for three to six weeks and if no allergic reactions are present, the dog will receive an additional ingredient. One additional ingredient can be added every two weeks, and if the dog starts developing allergies, the ingredient that causes allergies will be identified. The dog will have to be fed a diet that doesn't contain the culprit ingredient.

Inhalant Allergies

Inhalant allergies may affect any dog breed, and Cocker Spaniels are no exception. There are a lot of substances that may cause allergic reactions in dogs. After inhaling the allergen, the dog's immune system will have a negative reaction and histamines will be produced, causing symptoms such as itchiness, redness, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, hot spots and dry skin. Not all of these symptoms may be present.

The most common allergens include pollens, grasses, mold, dust mites, household chemicals, perfumes and flea products.

The treatment for inhalant allergies will be made up of antihistamines or steroids, and if the allergen is known, immunization shots can be given to the dog.

Contact Allergies

Contact allergies may be due to different materials that the dog encounters. The skin touches the material and the body develops a negative reaction with skin rashes, itchiness or blisters. If the exposure to the allergen is repeated, the dog may have dry and flaky skin, and secondary skin infections can also occur. Common materials that cause contact allergies include:

  • Wool (bedding, items of clothing)
  • Plastic (bowls)
  • Copper
  • Synthetic materials (carpets, pillows, clothes)
  • Sand

Identify the materials that cause allergies and remove these from the pet's surroundings. Opt for ceramic or metallic bowls and get cotton bedding. Contact allergies are easy to prevent, once the allergen is detected.