If you've got an uncomfortable, itchy dog and allergies are to blame, then you're bound to be looking for ways to help him feel better. You'll find them here!
Whether it's a rash, recurring ear infections, hot-spots, hair loss or incessant scratching and licking... there's a treatment or product that can help relieve your dog's allergy symptoms.
But it's important to remember that treating the symptoms of an allergy is only part of the equation..... in order to 'cure' them you also need to find out what is causing the problem in the first place!
Reducing exposure to the allergy 'trigger' (or eliminating it completely if possible) is obviously the best way to get rid of annoying and uncomfortable symptoms.
But you need to know what you're looking for... or at least the general direction you need to be looking in!
Different types of allergies can produce slightly different symptoms, so to get a better idea of what might be triggering his problems check out my Dog Allergy Symptoms page.
Treatment options are pretty varied, and can include dietary changes, parasite control, herbal or natural products, and/or vet-prescribed medications/treaments. Let's take a closer look....
Many dogs are allergic to the saliva of fleas, and just one bite can set up an intense cycle of itching, scratching... more itching.... more scratching. You get the picture!
Before using a topical flea and tick product, you should give your pet a bath with a gentle, soothing shampoo that will help to remove the flea saliva from your his skin and fur.
Don't use a flea-shampoo for this as it might cause more irritation and could interact with the preventative treatment you're about to apply.
The next step in treating dog flea allergies it to make sure you get rid of any fleas on your puppy or dog, and prevent any more from 'hitching a ride'.
I don't advise using over-the-counter flea and tick medications as generally they're not very effective and can have unwanted side effects (occasionally these can even be dangerous to your pet).The best, safest, and most effective products to use are those that you can get from your vet's office and include K9 Advantix II , Advantage Multi , Frontline Plus and Comfortis
These will kill fleas and ticks (some also target other canine parasites) quickly, and prevent re-infestation. They need to be applied monthly.
If your dog has sore, irritated 'hot spots' or areas of red, irritated skin, then your dog allergy treatment regime should include a Hydrocortisone With Aloe Vera Spray or ItchStick Medicated Skin Relief
Our Olde English Bulldog sometimes gets really nasty 'hot spots' that flare up overnight (due to seasonal allergies, not fleas, but a hot spot is a hot spot regardless of the trigger!). The best remedy we've found is a spray called 'Gentasoothe' which is prescribed by our veterinarian.
It literally reduces the inflammation overnight and stops the itching and oozing. If your puppy or dog is really troubled by hot spots and red, swollen or irritated skin due to allergies, I'd recommend asking your vet about prescribing a spray which contains Gentamicin Sulfate.
If dogs skin has areas that are very red, swollen, hot, painful or scabby, it could have become infected and you'll need to have your vet take a look.
Regardless of the allergy trigger, if the reaction is severe sometimes treatment needs to include medications such as cortisone shots or oral allergy medications, and your vet can get this set up for you.
Dog food allergies are most often triggered by a source of protein in the ingredients.
Meats such as beef or pork are likely candidates, but grains such as wheat or corn or other ingredients including eggs, dairy, yeast and more can also be the culprits.
The best way of treating dog allergies of this sort is to follow an 'elimination diet'. In short this means getting your pup onto a diet that contains none of the ingredients in his current food, and there are a range of hypoallergenic dog foods and those formulated with more unusual ingredients to choose from.
Some of the best foods for dogs with allergies include premium formulas which have healthy, natural ingredients. If you want to try one that has out-of-the-ordinary ingredients (recommended for elimination diets) then Wellness Simple Venison Dry Dog Food 10.5 lbs is a good choice.
Grain freed dog foods are also worth trying as some dogs do better on these.
You will need to keep your puppy or dog on this new diet for at least 8 - 12 weeks before you will be able to tell whether or not it's helping. It can take that long for the inflammation caused by the reaction to the previous ingredient/s to totally subside.
And, it's important to remember that your dog could be reacting to an ingredient in something other than his food... dog treats, table scraps, edible chews and toys, vitamins or other supplements could be the problem, so change or eliminate these during the elimination diet period.
Another dog allergy treatment option for dog food allergies is to add a dietary supplements such as Ark Naturals Royal Coat which contain essential fatty acids or products such as Nettle-Eyebright for Dog Allergies which strengthens your pet's immune system.
Although dogs can suffer from an allergic reaction to something that they are breathing in (such as dust, pollen, dander etc.), their symptoms are usually quite different to ours. We might sneeze and cough, and have itchy watery eyes.
Dogs are more likely to develop severe and generalized (ie all over) itching, and bite, scratch and lick at themselves incessantly.
It can be difficult to protect your dog from inhalant allergies, but try to follow the advice given to people such as trying to stay indoors as much as possible during allergy season, especially on windy days.
Also, keep your home as dust-free as possible and use a high powered vacuum with a HEPA filter and put HEPA filters in your heat/AC system too.
There are several dog allergy treatment options for these type of allergies and one of the simplest ones is to bathe your pup regularly with a gentle shampoo such as TrueBlue Pure and Sure Puppy Shampoo to remove dust, pollen and other allergens from his coat.
Dietary supplements which contain essential fatty acids, such as Ark Naturals Royal Coat can help reduce itching by improving the condition of his skin/coat.
There are a couple of other treatment options available to your vet too. Anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids can dramatically improve the severity of your pets symptoms and in severe cases it's possible that your vet may advise giving your dog allergy shots (this type of treatment is called hyposensitization).
An antihistamine that's been especially formulated for your dog can be very effective and may also be worth a try. This generic Benadryl for dogs is an over-the-counter product that treats the symptoms of all sorts of allergies.
In some ways, treating an allergic reaction to something topical is easier than coping with other types of canine allergies.
That's because if it's topical then the allergen is actually coming into contact with your puppy/dog's body so once you've figured out what it is, you can remove it from his environment. At least theoretically!
If it's a collar, new coat, bowl, carpet shampoo, topical parasite medication, or yard chemical he's reacting to then you can eliminate the trigger pretty easily.
But if it's grass, carpet fiber or something like that then it's more of a problem and you're going to need to be more creative in reducing his contact with the source of his itchiness.
Dog allergy symptoms won't just disappear immediately you remove his collar (or whatever) though, it will take time. While his little body is ridding itself of the histamine reaction, you can use many of the products mentioned in the above paragraphs to reduce his discomfort.
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