Dog Allergic Reaction Guide

Being a pet owner you should be able to identify a dog allergic reaction. Canines can be allergic to a number of factors including chemicals, dust, mold, grasses, food or materials they come in contact with. The allergies are a response of a more sensitive immune system to these factors. In some cases, an allergic reaction may have similar symptoms to a respiratory infection, so you need to differentiate between these and get suitable vet help.

Typical Allergic Reactions

The most typical allergic reactions in dog are similar to the allergies in humans. An allergic dog may:

  • Sneeze
  • Breathe more superficially
  • Have a congested nose
  • Have red, watery eyes
  • Rashes and bumps on the skin
  • Have swollen limbs
  • Cough
  • Be lethargic
  • Scratch and lick excessively, as allergies may cause itchiness

Some of these symptoms may be absent, depending on the cause of the allergies.

The allergic reactions occur after the dog has been exposed to the allergen. If the allergen is removed from your pet’s environment, the dog will no longer have allergy symptoms.

Seasonal Allergies

If your dog is allergic to certain pollens or grasses that are only present in the spring or autumn, you will see that he won’t display any allergy symptoms during the rest of the year.

The allergies to pollens or grasses will peak when the dog is going out and playing in the park or yard, where there are a lot of allergens.

The allergens cause the negative reactions when the dog inhales them, but may be absorbed through the dog’s skin also.

Food Allergies

Food allergies will manifest through itching, rashes or dermatitis and sometimes there will be small bumps on the surface of the skin.

The dog won’t show typical allergy symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes or coughing.

Dogs may be allergic to beef, corn, poultry or different grains.

Contact Allergies

Contact allergies will also manifest only on the dog’s skin. He will have itchy skin and rashes, mainly in the areas where he has been in contact with the allergen. For instance, a dog that is allergic to his plastic food bowls, will have rashes on his face and chin area.

Dogs may be allergic to:

  • Wool
  • Plastic
  • Latex
  • Different metals

Bite Allergies

Dogs may be allergic to insect bites. The most common allergic reaction is to flea bites; dogs are allergic to the saliva components in fleas. The bite mark will get red and swollen and sometimes, pus will gather under the skin.

Another common allergic reaction in dogs is to bee stings. A dog that gets stung by a bee will have a serious swelling. In rare cases, if the dog is highly allergic to bee venom, he will have anaphylactic shock, which is dangerous. A dog with anaphylaxis may get extremely swollen and if the airways are affected, it may stop the dog from breathing.

Allergy Testing

A dog with allergic reactions should be tested. There are 3 ways to test allergies:

  • Intradermal testing, effective for inhalant allergies
  • Blood testing to identify inhalant allergens
  • Testing, eliminating one ingredient from the dog’s diet to determine the culprit allergen; eliminating one material at a time from the dog’s environment, changing bedding, food bowls