Allergy is a reaction of the immune system to a foreign element for the body. Like people, dogs, and other pets can also suffer from allergies, but what are the most common allergens in dogs? To answer this question, we must first know what we face:
Allergies in dogs and their symptoms
There are different types of allergies in dogs. Skin allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergens have various symptoms. The symptoms of one or another condition may overlap.
Some allergic reactions to the most common allergens in dogs are so mild that you can barely notice them — for example, the redness or itching located after a bee sting or an insect sting.
If your dog shows signs of a more advanced reaction, such as facial swelling, itching, vomiting, hives, body bumps, or skin rashes, consult your veterinarian immediately.
In rare cases, dogs may experience a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Additional signs of anaphylaxis may include shortness of breath, weakness, and collapse. This can be a life-threatening emergency.
In some dogs, anaphylactic shock can result from bee stings and reactions to vaccines. For this reason, it is always a good idea to closely monitor your dog after the administration of any new vaccine, medication, or food.
The usual treatment for symptoms of anaphylactic shock is usually the administration of epinephrine. In the early stages of shock, epinephrine may be useful, although a study published in 2002 seems to suggest that its effectiveness in more advanced cases may be limited.
Fortunately, anaphylactic reactions are rare in dogs, and timely consultation with the veterinarian should solve the problem.
Allergic skin reactions
They present with redness, itching, rashes, and inflammations, and are called allergic dermatitis. Together, they are the most common symptom of allergic reactions in dogs. There are three leading causes of skin allergies in dogs:
- Allergic Insect Dermatitis
- Food Allergies
- Environmental allergens
All skin allergies present the risk of secondary infection by fungi and bacteria. If these conditions are not met on time, the picture may be complicated.
Foods as the most common allergens in dogs
Food allergies in dogs can vary in symptoms of skin conditions (hives, facial swelling, itching, loss of fur), gastrointestinal signs (vomiting or diarrhea), or a combination. Chronic infections in the ears or legs may also appear. In some cases, a severe reaction that results in anaphylaxis may occur.
Symptoms and treatment will vary according to your dog, his medical history, and the causes of allergies. According to experts from the American Veterinary Dermatology College, between 10% and 20% of cases of allergy in dogs are due to food allergies.
The components of the canine diet are the most common allergens in dogs. Medical consultation is necessary to differentiate between cases of allergy or food intolerances.
Foods that can trigger allergies
In general, dogs can be allergic to any meal. The most common sources of food allergies and intolerances are:
- Meat and poultry derivatives (eggs)
- Wheat and other cereals
The best way to diagnose and treat a food allergy is to work with your veterinarian. Between them, you can control your dog’s symptoms and discover the ingredient that causes the reaction.
Environmental allergens and contact allergies
Environmental allergens, such as dust, pollen, and mold, can cause atopic allergic reactions or atopic dermatitis. In most cases, these allergies are seasonal. This causes you to notice that your dog suffers itching only at certain times of the year.
As with food allergies, the most commonly affected areas are the legs and ears. The muzzle, armpits, groin, around the eyes, and between the fingers may also be affected.
Allergic dermatitis in dogs also seems to be correlated with the appearance of otitis externa and ear infections, although the exact mechanisms of action do not seem to have been studied yet.
A statistical study conducted by researchers at the University of California found that atopic dermatitis was caused mostly as a reaction to dust mites, which makes them one of the most common allergens in dogs.
Atopic dermatitis usually worsens according to the season, with a higher incidence in the fall . According to the same study, the second allergen is mold, with a higher prevalence of allergy in autumn and spring.
- It should be noted that there is a predisposition of individual races, such as the bull terrier, to suffer allergies to pollen.
Insect bites, one of the most common allergens in dogs
As for the bits, the most common allergen in dogs is flea bites. Many dogs are allergic to flea saliva and have allergic dermatitis when infested by this ectoparasite.
Affected dogs have itching, especially at the base of the tail, and their skin may become red, inflamed, and scab. In the case of bites from other insects, such as scorpions, wasps, or bees, anaphylactic shock may occur.
The symptoms of these bites are widespread redness and inflammation, usually concentrated in the taste itself. Also often appear ears, nose, and swollen legs.
If your dog has abnormal inflammation, you must take it immediately to the veterinarian. This will diagnose and give you the right treatment.