Can dogs have allergies?

Can dogs have allergies?

Dogs can have allergies just like people. Allergies are caused when the immune system reacts to a usually harmless substance. Dogs can be allergic to foods, environmental allergens, or even medications. 

Because it’s getting into the warmer months, dog allergies can be significantly heightened at the moment, just the same way a lot of people struggle with hay fever during this time. We’ve outlined all the information you’ll need to learn about what allergies in dogs look like, and how you can help your furry friend get back to their usual happy and healthy ways.


What are the most common allergens for dogs?

There are a number of common allergens that can affect dogs. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Flea saliva: Many dogs are allergic to flea saliva, which can cause intense itching and scratching. If your dog is constantly scratching or licking himself, it could be an indication that he's allergic to fleas.

Food: Dogs can be allergic to certain ingredients in their food, just like people. If your dog is constantly itching or his coat looks dull and dry, it could be a sign of a food allergy.

Dust mites: These tiny creatures are found in all kinds of places - including homes! Dust mites can trigger allergies in some dogs. If your dog is sneezing or has watery eyes, it could be a sign that he's allergic to dust mites.

Pollen: Just like people, dogs can be allergic to pollen from trees, flowers, and grasses. If your dog is sneezing or has runny eyes, it's possible they’re allergic to pollen.

Mould: Mould spores are found in the air and can cause allergies in some dogs. If your dog is coughing or has trouble breathing, it could be a sign of a mould allergy.


Does my dog have allergies?

Unfortunately, allergies are quite common in dogs of every breed and background. Most of your dog's allergies will appear after their puppy stage, with most being affected after they turn one or two. But by keeping your eyes out for certain symptoms, you can work out if your dog has any allergies. 


Dog allergy symptoms

Dog allergy symptoms are usually quite similar to the symptoms humans have when they experience hay fever. So how do you know if your dog has allergies? Well, their symptoms can include:

  • Itchiness
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy ears


Why is my dog itchy?

Skin allergies are the most common kind of allergic reaction that your dog could experience. The three main causes of skin allergies in dogs are flea allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergies. 

Flea allergies in dogs is an allergic reaction to flea bites. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva, which makes them extremely itchy. Often occurring at the base of their tail, it makes their skin red, inflamed, and scabbed.

Food allergies and sensitivities can cause itchy skin on your pet too. Common itchy or sore spots for dogs with food allergies are their paws and their ears. It’s possible for these symptoms to be accompanied by gastrointestinal ones too, including vomiting and diarrhoea.

Environmental allergens like pollen, dust, and mould can all cause your dog to have sore, red, and itchy skin. In most cases, these kinds of allergies are seasonal, so it will likely be that you only notice your pet itching at certain times of the year. 


Can dogs take human antihistamines?

So, can you give dogs antihistamines? Yes, you can! But you can't be giving them human antihistamines. There are specific antihistamines for dogs. These will give them the best results, without causing them the nasty side effects they could experience if they took the human versions. 


Why do allergies get worse in spring and summer?

First, during these seasons there are more pollen-producing plants in bloom. Trees, grasses, and weeds all release pollen into the air to fertilise other plants of their species. Unfortunately for those with seasonal allergies, this process can also cause a lot of misery. 

Second, warm weather creates what's called the "pollen explosion". As the temperature rises, so does the amount of pollen in the air. This is because warmer air can hold more moisture, which causes plants to produce more pollen. 

Finally, windy days make matters worse by helping pollen travel great distances. All it takes is for a gust of wind to pick up pollen grains and carry them miles away from their source. This is why people with allergies can often feel better by staying indoors on a windy day. 

These allergens have very similar effects on both humans and dogs. So that means you and your pooch might be sneezing all summer thanks to the boost of pollen in the air!


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