Dogs and Allergies: Prevention and Treatment Tips

There are a lot of things to talk about when it comes to dogs and allergies. Dogs develop allergies typically after the age of 2 or 3 and the allergies are caused by a negative response of the immune system to substances that get in the dog’s body. At some extent, allergies can be prevented; if the allergies occur, there are also a number of ways to manage them.

Preventing Allergies

Some dogs are genetically predisposed to develop allergies. Others have a hypersensitive immune system and will have allergies; while other dogs may develop allergies due to an underlying disease that weakens the immune system.

Even if in genetically predisposed dogs the allergies cannot be prevented, keeping your dog healthy and boosting his immune system may keep the allergies away. There are a lot of dietary supplements that can strengthen the immune system; omega 3 fatty acids are the most common immunity boosters. You should consult your vet to establish if your dog’s diet contains the required nutrients and if there is need for some supplements.

Another way to prevent allergies is to keep your home allergen free. This may be achieved by periodical cleaning. If you reduce your dog’s exposure to possible allergens, he is less likely to display allergy symptoms. Remember that chemicals such as perfumes and household cleaners or smoke are also among common allergens.

Keeping air purifiers in your home may also reduce the allergens and prevent allergies in your dog.

Treatment for Allergies

If your dog has already developed allergies, you will need to find an optimal treatment. Consult your vet to test the dog and determine the allergens. Common allergens such as pollens, mold or smoke may be diagnosed through blood or skin testing. However, if your dog has food allergies, the testing may take several months, until the culprit food is identified.

Once the allergen is determined, the vet may recommend a type of treatment. However, the treatment prescribed may not be suitable for your pet, so the treatments need to be tested also.

In dogs with food allergies, the treatment consists of prescription food and the avoidance of the allergen. In dogs with contact allergies, the culprit material must be eliminated from the dog’s environment.

In dogs with inhalant allergies, there is need for treatment. Even if your vet will recommend allergy shots, these will only be effective after a few months of treatment, so there will be need for an additional type of treatment. Antihistamines will be administered and the dog must be monitored to see if these are effective. If they are not effective, another type of antihistamines should be prescribed. The effect of antihistamines may vary in each dog in part. Once an effective antihistamine is detected, this should be alternated with another type of antihistamine, as after 3 months, the dog may become immune to the ingredients of the drug and this will not be effective anymore.

Vets may combine antihistamines with steroid treatment. However, steroids are not recommended as a long term treatment, as there are a lot of side effects that may occur.

Homeopathic allergy remedies are also available. Consult a homeopath for alternative treatment options.