Humans develop sneeze attacks with allergies, but dogs suffer from itchy skin. When the pollen count goes up, our pets suffer from dog allergies along with us. In fact, pet insurance claims indicate that ear infections, skin allergies, and hot spots rank in the top complaints about our dogs.
Dog Allergies & Their Respective Home Remedies
Warm days mean dogs spend more time outside, leading to increased exposure to allergens such as pollen and flea bites. The single bite of a flea can turn an allergic pet into a scratching fiend. And any skin irritant may lead to hot spots.
Hot spots, more technically described as moist pyotraumatic dermatitis, happen when your dog develops an irritation in the skin surface. Scratching won’t satisfy the itch, and the dog’s chewing and scratching turns the skin raw. Hot spot sores are painful, and spread rapidly from the initial small hairless area, growing up to 20 times larger in a single day.
They look raw, red and weepy but usually only affect the skin surface and heal quickly once treated with first aid. Veterinary attention and antibiotics may be needed for large hot spots that don’t heal, or those so painful the dog won’t allow owners to touch them. For some reason, Golden Retrievers are more prone to problem hot spots. Here’s how to deal with hot spots at home.
- Fur often mats over and around oozy hot spots, and can hide sores until they’re very large. Trim the fur away with electric clippers or a mustache trimmer, as close to the skin as possible.
- Clean the sore with a betadine-based product.
- A traditional remedy called Burow’s solution dries the hot spot and helps speed healing. You can find Burow’s at some pharmacies or grocery stores.
- Another home treatment that can help is applying a teabag to the sore. First, steep the bag in hot water, and allow it to cool before gently pressing against the sore. The tannins in the tea help dry the sore. After the first couple of days, the sore should become less tender.
The reaction to inhaled pollens, termed atopy, is an inherited tendency, and certain dog breeds like small terriers, Golden Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Dalmatians, Setters, and Pugs may be more susceptible. One survey from a pet pharmaceutical company suggested that more than seven million U.S. dogs suffer from atopy.
Atopic dogs suffer from front-half itching. They chew, bite, lick and rub their face, chest, “armpit” area, and feet. The webbing between the dog’s toes can absorb allergens and make the whole body itch. Atopic dogs also commonly suffer from chronic ear infections. The condition tends to appear between six months and three years of age. Atopic dermatitis cannot be cured and becomes a lifelong condition that must be managed.
Atopy can be difficult to accurately diagnose and requires a veterinary exam to rule out other problems as well as treat secondary skin infections or conditions. Veterinarians may use skin testing to identify which allergens cause your pet’s symptoms. Once allergens are identified, a series of allergy shots (immunotherapy) for up to a year or more help the pet’s body build immunity. Skin tests and allergy shots are relatively expensive, but help about 75 percent of pets.
Relieving Itchies At Home
The most common veterinary treatment involves steroid-type medications to calm the itch, although long-term use may cause side effects. More natural options can also help. Here are some ways to give your itchy dog some relief.
Omega 3 fatty acids are very important to skin health and also have anti-itching properties. Because they’re derived from fish oil, pets often relish them like a treat. You can buy these supplements from health food stores, pet supply stores, or your veterinarian’s office.
Dogs are like dust mops that capture and hold allergens in their fur. Regular rinsing reduces your pet’s exposure to his own fur, and can relieve the scratching.
Just rinsing your dog’s paws when he comes inside also helps. The webbing between his toes absorbs and reacts to grassy allergens, so a foot bath offers quick, effective relief.
Oatmeal shampoos or rinses like Aveeno will naturally soothe itchy skin.
Here’s a video by Veterinary Secrets on Dog allergies: 7 ways to stop the itching fast:
If you know your dog suffers from allergies, take steps now to keep him comfy. That way, you both can enjoy the glorious warm days outside.?
Does your pet suffer from dog allergies as well? Let us know in the comments section below what you did to treat it at home.