No matter how much joy your canine companion brings to your life, it seems that they also give us reason to always worry about something!

Whether it’s food allergies, dust mite, grass or pollens, there seem to be a myriad of reasons our pups might have an allergy flare up. And the hardest part quite frankly, can be figuring out exactly what it is that is making your dog itch, scab, sneeze, poop profusely or even vomit.

What are the symptoms?

Common dog allergies are a recurring, often seasonal frustration for dog owners and their dogs. The allergies are typically difficult to control, chronic in nature and cannot be cured. The discomfort the symptoms can cause for dogs leaves owners feeling helpless, especially during times when their pet suffers from a severe outbreak.

Dog allergy symptoms may include ~

  • itchy, red, moist or scabby skin
  • runny eyes
  • sore red ears
  • impacted anal glands (usually noticeable with scooting)
  • infections
  • sneezing
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea

Even though dog allergies remain with the animal for its whole life, the symptoms can be managed to alleviate any tenderness, soreness and irritation.

What is my dog allergic to?

There are some great inexpensive ways to narrow down your allergen enemies – you can try elimination diets, coat and bedding washes and even dog couture clothing to see if you can remove the upsetting culprits, however none will be as accurate as blood diagnostics.

At Direct Vet Services, we are able to identify the cause of many pet allergies by testing for immunoglobulin levels that your pets immune system produces when exposed to allergens. These tests can be costly, but they are not invasive or uncomfortable for your dog, and they won’t cause any unwanted reactions like topical skin testing can. Test results will comprehensively tell you what your pet is and isn’t allergic or sensitive too, which can work out to be cheaper and safer in the long run than trying new diets or medicated shampoos.

What now?

While cortisone is the ‘go to’ drug used on dogs to treat allergies, at Direct Vet Services we believe it’s in the animal’s best interests to exhaust all natural and alternative therapies first. Rather than prescribing Cortisone immediately without looking into alternative treatments, it is important to consider the long-term adverse effects of the medication on a dog’s body. Cortisone only conceals the symptoms briefly by quelling the dog’s immune system, and can lead to kidney failure, liver disease and weight gain. New medications are entering the market every year, like Apoquel which selectively blocks the production of histamine, resulting in less itch, trauma and discomfort for your sensitive dog. Alternately, Cytopoint injections, which also use monoclonal antibodies directed against histamine, can last up to a month in most cases and does not have any known side-effects, therefore is considered incredibly safe.

How can you help?

At home, there are some simple steps you can take to help alleviate sensitive symptoms ~

Wash your dog weekly to remove allergens from the surface of the skin using a medicated shampoo such as Mediderm
Apply moisturising lotion to the dog’s skin after a bath, to help create a barrier between the dog and the allergens, and to reduce moisture loss
Wash bedding regularly, to remove allergens like dust mites and pollens.
Add Omega 3, 6 and 9, and skin health amino acids to the dog’s diet. Fish oil capsules can also be given (one capsule per 5kgs).
Apply Dermega Essential 6 directly on to the dog’s skin
Administer probiotics to help maintain healthy gut flora, which help to produce healthy vitamins in your dog’s systems.
Consider a body suit and/or shoes if your dog suffers from contact allergies to reduce possible exposure.
Use human antihistamines during outbreaks (be sure to check with your vet as to which are safe to use on your pet, and discuss suitable dosage).

If your dog sometimes suffers with red, itchy eyes or ears, sore feet or ‘bum-scooty’ bottom, book an appointment at Direct Vet Services to discuss how we can pinpoint the cause of your pooch’s problems, and work together to manage those pesky allergy symptoms without first turning to serious medications.