Contact Allergies in Dogs

Contact allergies in dogs are those types of allergic reactions that come about when your pet comes into physical contact with a certain offender. These allergies are not particularly common, but they do affect a good number of dogs. Some of the most common contact allergies involve plants, while others involve chemicals that can be found in certain substances and cleaning solutions around the house.

Because each dog's case is somewhat different, it's important to take prompt action to address your pet's allergy if you feel that it's something that may cause him discomfort or may prove to be damaging to his health. Read on for a brief overview about contact allergies in dogs.

What Causes Contact Allergies?

Contact allergies come about as a result of your pet's body's inability to properly interact with objects in its surroundings. Allergies typically develop over time, and may be the result of irritation or prolonged exposure. For instance, it's not uncommon for pets to develop allergies to certain plants that exist in the yard, if they repeatedly and continuously experience a mild irritation when they contact those plants. The exact cause of contact allergies is unknown; some pets are born with severe contact allergies, while others tend to develop them over time.

How to Recognize and Treat Contact Allergies

The main symptoms of contact allergies are as follows:

  • Physical irritation
  • Red or irritated spots on various parts of the body (frequently the nose, face and paws)
  • Rashes, skin lesions and open sores
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing

The last two symptoms on this list are generally signs of a more severe reaction and should be dealt with as quickly as possible. If you don't get your pet to a proper medical treatment facility and a veterinarian quickly when he displays these symptoms, you may be putting his health at risk.

Treating contact allergies first requires that you determine what your pet is allergic to. At the sign of allergy symptoms, take your pet in to the veterinarian for an examination. While allergies are more common than many other conditions, there is always the chance that your pet has another disease or problem that is similar to an allergic reaction in appearance. Your vet will ask you to explain the different symptoms that you've noticed in your dog and will conduct a thorough physical examination.

Identifying Allergens

The next step in treating the allergy will be to identify the allergens that have caused the reaction in your dog. This is oftentimes a trial and error process that takes some time to complete. Your vet will ask you to keep careful watch on your dog and monitor the items in his environment that he comes into contact with. There are also tests that can be performed in the vet's office to determine which allergens are causing the reaction.

In order to treat your pet's allergies, the best thing to do is to simply keep him away from the offending materials.