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Skin Allergy in Dogs

Allergies are caused in a dog when its skin is not resistant to foreign substances like spores, mites, insects, worms, etc. It mainly happens if the dog's immune system is weak and cannot tolerate the attacks of fleas.
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A skin allergy can be caused in dogs due to substances like pollen, molds, dust mites, etc. It can also be caused due to consumption of poisonous and stale foods like chocolates, macadamia nuts, yeast dough, etc.
Some allergies are seasonal or due to inhalation of unwanted substances like spores or dust. At times, it can occur overnight without any evident reason. Bacterial and yeast infection can also be a cause.
The symptoms of skin allergy found in dogs include the following.
  • Hair loss
  • Body odor
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Welts and bumps on skin
  • Swelling of the whole body
  • Inflamed skin
  • Sores on the skin
  • Thickening of skin
  • Dry skin
  • Skin disorders like ringworm
  • Worms get attracted towards the wound formed due to allergy
  • Nasal or eye discharge
  • The dog rubbing its face on the ground
  • Development of cigar-shaped arachnids
  • Constant itching and licking of skin
Skin allergies found in dogs are broadly classified into five types. They are as follows.
Food Allergy
It is caused due to consumption of poisonous food like cookies, and also if the same food is given for months. Almost 10% of all allergies contribute to those from food. It is mainly found in dogs between 2-6 years of age. Food is the most important aspect for maintaining the well-being of a dog.
Atopy Allergy
It is mainly caused due to the absorption and inhalation of unwanted chemical substances present in the air. To avoid and prevent it, the dog's environment should be kept clean. This is the second most common allergy observed in dogs.
Flea Allergy
This is caused when a dog's blood is sucked by fleas. The saliva of fleas can also affect the dog's skin and cause an allergic reaction. A single bite is enough. Dogs within the age bracket of 3-5 years are mainly affected.
Contact Allergy
This allergy is caused when a dog comes in contact with a substance that is allergic or harmful, like spores or mites. The signs usually start showing 24-48 hours after contact. It is more developed in areas where the dog's hair is not dense.
Bacterial Allergy
It is caused due to the non-contagious bacteria Staphylococcus, which is also called staph. The basic symptom is itching. If neglected, itching persists and can also become severe.
Many bacteria live on the body of a dog and they are not harmful as long as the dog's body is resistant to them. They have an adverse effect only when the animal's immune system becomes weak. Blood tests should be conducted to determine the bacteria that has attacked the dog.
Different remedies are suggested according to the different allergies that the dog can contract. A few of them are as follows.
  • If a dog is suffering from a food allergy, it should be fed only once a day, which helps in the process of detoxification. Foods like cookies and corn should be strictly avoided. The dog should be given proper medication and pills for quick healing and should be provided proper hydration.
  • Dogs that contract allergies develop red blotches, bald spots, hot spots, etc. In order to soothe these spots, apply a mixture of melaleuca (tea tree) oil and water.
  • Natural menthol liniment is also a good remedy for spots.
  • Spots can also be cured by applying a mixture of aspirin tablets and a teaspoon of alcohol.
  • If the allergy still persists, a visit to the vet is a must.
Preventive Measures
Precaution is always better than cure. With a few precautions, a dog can always be healthy, and can be kept away from skin allergies. A few of them are listed here.
  • A cool bath for 10 minutes is one way to keep your dog clean.
  • Another way is keeping the dog away from insects and fleas.
  • Avoid contact with harmful substances and allergens.
  • Feeding an appropriate diet along with dietary supplements is a must.