Treatment Options for Canine Skin Allergies

Itching, scratching, biting, licking and flaking are all symptoms of canine skin allergies. Before a veterinarian can diagnose dog skin allergies, they must first rule out other types of dermatitis.

Causes of Canine Skin Allergies

Every dog has a biochemistry made up of millions of genetic outcomes. Sometimes a dog's immune system will respond differently to certain materials, chemicals or other substances, causing an over-reaction. The immune system will recognize the antigen-the substance causing the allergic reaction-so it can be combated. The result of this combat is irritated tissue that is swollen.

Allergies develop when histamines are released from the dog's skin Mast cells. There is an assortment of antibody and antigen protein complexes within the tissues, which cause the dilation and constriction of blood cells. Broken intracellular structures can then cause the release of toxins, therefore causing a chemical and physical irritation of the sensory nerve endings.

Many items can trigger skin allergies in dogs: food, fibers (synthetic or natural), medications, lotions, shampoos, plants, mold spores, pollen, plastic food dishes and even dust. Dogs could even be allergic to the bacteria on their bodies that occur naturally.

Diagnosing Dog Allergies

To diagnose what a dog is allergic to, a blood and/or skin test will need to be performed at a veterinarian's office.

Treating Canine Skin Allergies with Baths

Hypoallergenic dog shampoos are on the market for dogs with skin allergies. Use this shampoo to remove chemicals or the residue from plants off the canine's skin and fur. Removing the exposure of irritants can help a dog feel more comfortable.

Treating Canine Skin Allergies with Antihistamines and/or Hydrocortisone

Antihistamines and hydrocortisone products can help a canine's body stop the reaction to the element that is affecting their skin. Many topical items, like sprays, are available at pet stores and many supermarkets.

Oral antihistamines, even ones found at the drug store, have been found to be beneficial to dogs that suffer from skin allergies. Always check with a veterinarian before administering over-the-counter medications to pets.

Treating Canine Skin Allergies with Cortisone

Cortisone has been found to be one of the most effective treatments for dog allergies. Cortisone can be injected, taken orally in the form of pills, and sprayed on to the affected area.

A proper diagnosis should be made before a dog is treated with cortisone for skin allergies.

Treating Canine Skin Allergies by Staying Away From the Irritant

Limiting exposure to suspected or known irritants will help a dog with skin allergies fell more comfortable.

Treating Canine Skin Allergies by Supplementing the Diet

Omega-3 fatty acids, often found in fish oil tablets, can be given to dogs to supplement their diet. This supplement has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce allergy symptoms.

Olive oil, ingested, has also been found to be beneficial. A dog can eat a piece of bread that has olive oil soaked into it. A few tablespoons of olive oil can also be mixed in to dog food.

There is no cure for canine skin allergies. However, allergies can be treated with a vet's guidance while avoiding triggers that irritate the dog's skin.