Dog Skin Allergies

Dog skin allergies are common in dogs. At first, a skin allergy, called atopy, is usually mistaken as a flea infestation. Itching from fleas and itching from an allergy can certainly look the same. It is only when you look closer that you realize there are no fleas. As with humans, irritated skin is a symptom of an allergy. However, there are many other allergy symptoms, especially with food allergies. In this article we discuss only dog skin allergies. Sometimes a canine skin allergy will be caused by an airborne allergen. A common airborne allergen is the most notorious dust mite!

Our houses are filled with dust mites. They are very small creatures that live in our carpets, beds and other soft furnishings. These small creatures feed on human skin flakes that constantly fall from human bodies. These creatures then litter our environment with hard to see fecal pellets. It is these minute fecal pellets that contain the troublesome allergens that affect dogs. Have you sometimes wondered why you sneeze inside your house? More than likely you are responding to dust mite pellets. Dogs respond to the same allergens with itchy skin. In many dogs this is a minor irritant. However, sometimes it can become a major problem. Of course there are many other causes for a dog having itchy skin. Other environmental allergens can exist concurrently or separately from allergies to airborne particles. Veterinarians can conduct sensitivity testing to identify a troublesome allergen.

For treatment, dogs are sometimes given oral medications, although traditionally side effects have always been a problem, so whatever is given must be administered very carefully. Infected skin may need antibiotics. Cortisone tablets may also be recommended. In some cases, an antihistamine will be recommended if your dog has developed asthma, or to support other medication. Each case is different. Sometimes a veterinarian will recommend a hyposensitizing vaccine series, or "allergy shots" that are formulated to your pet's specific needs. Very small doses are started and are gradually increased so the dog's body will slowly get used to these allergens. The dog will need to get a daily shot, administered by the dog's owner, family member, or the dog might have to be transported to the vet, daily. Needless to say, this can be expensive. Also, only about 60% of dogs will eventually show permanent positive results.

In almost all cases, a medicated dog shampoo can be used to stop discomfort and stop the spread of any skin infection that might have taken hold. Infected skin may need washed with medicated dog shampoo as often as twice a week until conditions improve. When washing your dog make sure to use cool water (not hot, not warm and not ice cold) when you bathe your dog.

While a canine food allergy can be cured by identifying a specific food allergen and then eliminating it from the dog's diet, skin allergies from airborne allergens are more a matter of controlling the symptoms than actually curing the allergy. In dealing with Dog skin allergies from airborne allergens patience is required as you should expect set-backs along the way. However, with some trial-and-error with different treatment methods, eventually your dog should respond favorably to a treatment and become a comfortable and contented pooch.