“Oh, it’s just allergies” is a phrase people often use to write off symptoms such as coughing and sneezing. But the truth about allergies is that they can be extremely unpleasant. The same is true for allergies that your pet has.

The symptoms of allergies in dogs in Madison, WI vary widely based on the type of allergy, what is causing the reaction, and how severely your dog is allergic to it. Overall, the symptoms of allergies in dogs tend to be very treatable in most cases, and proper treatment can really improve your dog’s quality of life (and yours! No more listening to constant licking!).

Below, we’ll go over some of the different causes of allergies in dogs that Madison, WI pet owners should keep an eye out for.

Common Types of Dog Allergies in Madison, WI

There are three common types of allergies that dogs can experience. These are characterized by the way the allergen enters the body.

The three types are parasite allergies, inhalant (also known as environmental) allergies, and food allergies. Skin contact allergies are also possible but are very rare.

Parasite Allergies
Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) is the most common allergy for dogs in the United States, which is why protecting your dog with a flea and tick preventative is so important. FAD is an allergy that occurs when a dog who is allergic to flea saliva gets bitten by a flea. A severe response can occur from a single flea bite.

The resulting reaction causes the dog to become extremely itchy, and scratching can lead to the development of a bacterial infection along with the allergic reaction.

FAD can be avoided by staying up to date with flea and tick medications to avoid letting the fleas get in contact with your dog in the first place. If your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction, a vet can prescribe medications to help with the symptoms of the allergy, as well as antibiotics if a bacterial infection has developed.

Inhalant or Environmental Allergies
Inhalant or environmental allergies are the second most common type of allergy in dogs. With an inhalant allergy, allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust mites enter the dog’s body through the airways.

The symptoms of this type of allergy usually first appear when the dog is between one and three years of age, but it is possible for the onset to occur at a later age. Depending on how long the allergen is present in the environment, the symptoms can be seasonal or year-round.

Signs of inhalant allergies in a dog include irritated skin and itchiness, hives and/or rash, and hair loss, most commonly on the feet, belly, and face. Like FAD, itching can be so severe that it leads to a skin infection. Other signs of inhalant allergies can include puffy/red eyes and sneezing.

Treatment of inhalant allergies involves anti-itch medications, as well as antibiotics if an infection has developed.

Food Allergies for Dogs
Food allergies are less common than inhalant allergies., As can be imagined, they occur when the allergen is ingested by the dog in food or drink. These allergies can develop at any age.

The symptoms are identical to inhalant allergies, but can also include stomach upset such as vomiting or diarrhea. There is no seasonality to food allergies; they persist as long as the dog eats the offending food.

The component of food that is most commonly responsible for causing food allergies is protein, so treatment involves a hypoallergenic diet with a different type of protein or hydrolyzed protein. Grain allergies are possible but are exceedingly rare.

Skin Contact Allergies
Skin contact allergies are very rare in dogs. Dogs can develop skin contact allergies at any age and, unfortunately, to virtually anything. In order to have a skin contact allergy, the dog’s skin must come in contact with the allergen, whether it be pesticides, grass, or the materials in your carpet.

Early Treatment of Your Dog’s Allergies Early is Key in Madison, WI

Allergies in dogs come in many different forms and from many different sources in Madison, WI. It is also common for dogs to have a combination of multiple allergies, and the resulting symptoms can be very unpleasant for you and your dog. Treating the symptoms early is important to keep your dog comfortable and to prevent the development of infection.

If a new allergy seems to be present, a good first step is always to talk to your vet about it so that your dog can get the treatment needed to feel better.

At Petcare Animal Hospital, we are committed to helping pets fight their allergies so they can live long, happy and comfortable lives. If you have any questions about your dog’s health and possible allergies, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

About PetCare Animal Hospital

Since 1975, Petcare Animal Hospital has been serving the Madison, WI pet community with the highest standards of care. We truly believe that pets should be treated like family, so we give them the same care we would expect for our own pets.