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How to Treat Skin Allergies in Dogs

How to Treat Skin Allergies in Dogs

The main aim of the treatment for skin allergies in dogs is to provide complete relief to the pet from the irritating symptoms. This article provides more information on how to treat skin allergies in dogs.
DogAppy Staff
Dogs, irrespective of their breed, are prone to skin allergies. Its most common symptom is itchy skin. It can be identified by a continuous scratching or licking of the skin, a scaly skin rash, chewing or biting of the paws and tail, and rubbing the face. All these are efforts on the pet's part to get relief from the itching and burning sensation of the skin. Sometimes, it may even lead to an ear infection. When you as a pet owner see your dog go through this ordeal, you feel frustrated. In such a condition, the only way you can help your dog is by providing proper and appropriate treatment.

Causes

Dog allergies occur when certain allergens enter the dog's body and its immune system assumes these to be harmful. So, the immune system reacts adversely, releasing antibody substances, histamines, in order to eliminate the allergen from its body. As a result, the irritating allergy symptoms start showing up. The most common form of dog skin allergy is atopic dermatitis or atopy. It is triggered by allergens such as dirt, pollen, mold, dust mites, and so on. These kinds of allergic reactions are more common in dogs with weak immune systems. Presence of parasitic insects like dog fleas, leeches, or ticks in their fur can be responsible for a skin allergic reaction. It is the saliva of all these insects which, on coming into contact with the skin, causes irritation and discomfort. Sometimes, a skin allergy may result from skin contact with some irritants. It could be certain types of plants, grass, or some chemicals.

Treatment

When you take your pet to the vet, the causes of the skin allergy are ascertained first with the help of a blood test or skin test. Then there are several allergy medicines that are used for controlling the symptoms. Antihistamines are most popularly used for treating allergic symptoms in dogs as they have minimum side effects. They are available in two forms: sprays for topical administration and oral antihistamines. Those with diphenhydramine are considered to be the best antihistamines for dogs. However, some dogs do not respond well to these medicines.

Cortisone is available in the form of injections, sprays, and pills, and it is another effective medicine used for skin allergies when treating dogs. It has side effects and should be used with great care. Cyclosporine is one such medicine that works well in reducing the skin inflammation and also helps in controlling the overreaction of the immune system. If it is found that secondary skin infections have developed on the dog's skin due to excessive scratching, then antibiotics are given to treat bacterial infection and antifungal medicines are used for fungal infections. Along with these medicines, fatty acid supplements such as fish oil tablets are recommended as they improve the dog's overall health. They also possess inherent anti-inflammatory qualities that can reduce the skin allergies.

Natural Remedies

Along with the medicinal dog skin allergies treatment, you can give a soothing relief to the constant itching sensation with the help of a cool bath where Epsom salt or baking soda has been added to the cold water. Add some oatmeal to 2 quarts of water and boil it for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool down and then strain out the solid oatmeal. Use the liquid part as the last rinse after bathing your pet. Application of diluted apple cider vinegar on the infected skin can give them a lot of comfort. This should be applied using a soft towel or a cotton ball. When olive oil is added to dog food, it helps dogs deal with allergies better. Soak a bread in olive oil and offer it to the dog. Or you can simply add a few tablespoons of olive oil in its regular food.

The only way you can prevent the recurrence of canine skin allergies is avoiding the allergens that can trigger such reactions. Many cases of skin allergies in dogs have been successfully treated with hyposensitization or allergy shots. Here, the allergen that causes an allergy is given in small dosages through injections so that the dog's immune system gets desensitized. As it starts enduring the allergen, the doses are increased gradually.