Like humans, dogs are also prone to different type of allergies. The affected dog may scratch and lick constantly, and chew certain parts of the body. Other symptoms include loss of hair along with dandruff, inflammation of paws, red itchy ears, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, nasal discharge, runny eyes, and vomiting and/or diarrhea. Some of the affected dogs may snore, due to inflammation of the throat. When it comes to canines, flea allergy, atopy (inhalant allergy), contact allergy, and food allergy, are very common. Medicines used for treatment may vary with the type of allergy. It is always better to administer allergy medicines, as per the instructions of the vet.
Allergies in Dogs
While food allergy can be caused by a newly introduced food, it is also possible that the animal develops allergy to a regular food item, all of a sudden. Contact allergy can be caused by various elements, like foods, shampoos, household cleaning products, and sprays; and is characterized by skin rash, along with itching and dandruff. Atopy or inhalant allergy causes itching, rubbing of the face, skin lesions, etc. In some cases, sneezing and wheezing may also develop. This type of allergy is caused by inhalation of airborne allergens, like dust mite, pollen, mold, and mildew. While flea bites can cause irritation and itching in almost all dogs, those with allergies, develop severe symptoms. Some dogs may have multiple allergies. The course of treatment varies with the type of allergy and its severity. The best allergy medicines for dogs include antihistamines, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, decongestants, hypoallergenic shampoos, and allergy shots.
In short, there are various types of medicines that are administered as per the type of allergy and its severity. Right diagnosis is very important. So it is always better to take your dog to the vet and follow his instructions, rather than sticking to over-the-counter medication. However, in some emergency cases, you may use over-the-counter allergy medicines for dogs. Medication for dog allergies include oral antihistamines, bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and topical nasal steroids. Antibiotics may be administered to combat bacterial infection of the skin lesions. If you want a long-term effect, then immunotherapy may be tried.
Antihistamines are commonly used for treating allergies in dogs. These drugs block the effect of histamines produced in the body of the animal, thereby providing relief from allergic reactions. As compared to humans and cats, these drugs are less effective in dogs. However, the right antihistamine in correct dosage may work for these animals. There are various types of antihistamines, but, the response of the dog to the medicine may vary from one drug to another. So, you must find out an effective antihistamine for your pet dog. It has to be noted that some of the antihistamines may cause side effects, like sedation, constipation and dry mouth. Over-the-counter antihistamines include claritin, benadryl, zyrtec, and astelin (nasal spray).
Corticosteroids are prescribed in case of severe allergic reactions. These drugs are found to be effective in providing relief to dogs from allergic symptoms, like severe itching and inflammation. However, these medicines may cause short-term or long-term side effects. According to health experts, if the condition is diagnosed correctly and the right corticosteroids are used in a proper way, then, these drugs can be considered safe. Usually, corticosteroids are used as a last resort, for treating allergies in dogs. These drugs are administered orally, as injections, or as nasal sprays. Some of the prescription steroids for dogs include flonase or nasonex sprays. Betamethasone, dexamethasone, flumethasone, methylprednisolone, and triamcinolone are some of the commonly used corticosteroid injections for dogs.
In case of food allergies, medicines may offer short-term results only. As the dog consumes the offending food item, allergic reactions will reappear. So, such offending food items have to be identified and avoided, so as to prevent dog food allergies. Allergies caused by inhalation of air-borne particles are often controlled with injections that may help the affected dog to develop resistance to the allergens. Flea control products are recommended for dogs with flea allergies. Fatty acid supplements are also effective for relief from itching and dryness of the skin. However, allergy medication meant for humans should not be given to dogs. In short, contact your vet, before administering any allergy medicine to your dog. Otherwise, take the dog to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.