Does Your Dog Need Relief From An Itching Rash?
Food allergy is one of the most common forms of dog allergies. Little research has been done on the exact nature of the allergies, but it is thought that proteins are the leading cause of dog allergies.
In most cases the allergy is exhibited as a rash and/or scratching by the dog. Only in rare cases does a food allergy in a dog cause gastric problems in any noticeable way. Most dogs with food allergy have normal stools and appetites.
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Most cases of food allergy are first noticed in younger dogs. In fact, more than a third of all cases are of dogs less than one year old. There is no difference in the susceptibility of dog allergies in male or female dogs. Both sexes are just as prone to them.
There are a few breeds which do seem to be more likely to have a dog allergies. They are, but not limited to: Terriers, Dalmatians, Collies, Labradors, Dachshunds and Boxers.
Most of the time the rash associated with food allergies is localized in the feet or ear areas, but it can occur in other places on the dog. Another interesting fact about food allergy is that it can cause the dog to be more sensitive to other types of allergies such as flea and parasitic allergy.
What can be done about food allergies? Elimination of the cause needs to be determined of course. The method most used to determine the offending protein is called the “Elimination Diet”. During this diet only one type of protein and one starch is given at a time. The cause of dog allergies can be determined in this way. Some of the commercial dog food companies make special food just for these diets.
You will need to talk to your vet for help in doing the Elimination Diet. Basically, the different proteins and starches are switched every few weeks in order to determine the exact starch or protein which the dog is allergic to.
The most common things dogs are allergic to are beef, chicken, milk, eggs, corn, wheat, and soy. Usually it is only one thing a dog is allergic to. Once the source of the dog allergies is found, food can be purchased which does not contain that item. Be aware that during the elimination diet the dog is not receiving all of its nutrients and its coat may become coarse and dry feeling.
Other Dog Allergies...Flea Allergy
Flea allergy is another common type of dog allergies. The allergy is caused by flea saliva, and total elimination of fleas must occur to stop the itching. It only takes one bite by a flea to cause the allergic reaction. Oftentimes you will not see any fleas on your dog even though they are scratching because of their dog allergies.
This can be because the few fleas which were on the dog had already been scratched off. And fleas can survive in small numbers year-round in warmer climates or indoors. Once again, the only way to eliminate flea allergy in dogs is to TOTALLY eliminate the fleas.
In fact, since flea allergy is so common in dogs, fleas should be eliminated completely before it can be determined if the dog allergies are caused by food, chemical, or other environmental allergens.
Atopic Dermatitis Dog Allergies
Atopic Dermatitis is a simple form of dog allergies caused by such things as pollen, smoke, grasses, mold, and dust mites. Yes, dogs and people share allergic reactions to many of the same things. There dog allergies are caused by things that casue human allergies.
And just like specific allergens in people can be determined by testing the skin with potential allergens, dog allergies to these things are determined the same way. A dog’s skin is scratched with the various potential causes and then watched for reactions.
When the offending substance is determined, allergy shots can be given to desensitize the dog to the substance and elimintate the dog allergies.
Curing Dog Allergies
In the case of Atopic Dermatitis, the dog can actually be cured of the allergy. Most other allergies are not curable. In the cases of food and flea allergy, the dog must simply be kept out of contact with the allergen.