9 Signs That Your Dog Has Allergies in Columbus, OH
Some common complaints veterinarians get from dog owners in Columbus are things like chronic paw chewing, ear shaking and scratching, and raw, red skin. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from allergies, and allergies in dogs can be placed into one or into a combination of three categories: Food, skin and the environment.
What is an Allergy in Dogs?
An allergy is a condition of hypersensitivity of the immune system to an allergen, a type of antigen. Allergens are actually proteins produced by plants, grass, insects, chemicals, foods, or other animals. These allergens can cause the immune system to go hay-wire, especially with repeated exposure.
Allergens tend to produce a vigorous immune response, releasing histamines which in turn cause inflammation, itching and red skin. It’s the inflammation that causes the many signs and symptoms of allergies.
Signs and Symptoms of Dog Allergies in Columbus
Do you suspect that your dog has allergies? Below are listed ten common signs and symptoms of dog allergies, but it is always recommended that you consult your veterinarian first.
1. Itchy skin
One of the most common complaints dog owners in Columbus have when it comes to allergies is itching. If your dog is constantly scratching, biting, or chewing at herself, she is most likely trying to relieve the itchiness and inflammation. Constant scratching can cause redness of the skin, hair loss, bleeding and the possibility of a secondary skin infection such as “hot spots.”
Although most dogs with itchy skin suffer from food allergies, the best solution is to make an appointment with your veterinarian and have your pet examined.
2. Constant licking and facial rubbing
Another sign that your dog may have allergies is excessive licking, especially in areas of the paws, legs and rectum. Most often, dogs will lick their paws and pads in an effort to relieve itching and inflammation.
Facial rubbing and scratching can also be signs of dog allergies and skin irritation as well. Of course it’s always recommended to have your veterinarian in Columbus examine your pet to rule out the possibility of a foreign body or something embedded in the skin.
Hives are noticeable raised bumps on the skin. Although hives are usually rare in dogs, they can be caused by an acute allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting, certain medications, shampoos, chemicals or plants.
Rashes in dogs can also be exacerbated by exposure to exercise, stress, sunlight or heat.
4. Swelling of the ears, eyelids or face
If your dog has a sudden swelling around the face, lips, ears or eyelids, it might be an allergic reaction to an insect bite, sting, certain foods, medications, plants, or other environmental allergens.
It’s always recommended that you consult with your veterinarian in Columbus right away, especially if there is swelling around the face and neck. Swelling in these areas may restrict the airway and cause difficulty breathing.
5. Scratching at ears, shaking ears and ear infections
Scratching at the ears and ear infections can be a common issue in dogs, especially in floppy ear breeds such as Cocker Spaniels and hound dogs. Oftentimes, ear infections are signs of dog allergies, especially with dogs that have recurring ear infections.
Constant head shaking and red, inflamed ears are the main symptoms of dog allergies. Chronic shaking can cause something called an aural hematoma, which occurs when the blood vessels in the floppy part of the ear burst and bleed into the space between the skin and the cartilage of the ear, causing the ear to look “puffy.”
Ear infections can be very uncomfortable and even painful for many dogs, so it is important to schedule an examination with your veterinarian in Columbus in these cases.
6. Red skin
Red skin and skin infections are common side effects of allergies in dogs, and are usually related to chronic scratching. Your dog can develop a secondary skin infection, or a staph infection known as “hot spots” due to repeated scratching.
Again, a trip to your local veterinarian in Columbus is recommended if the scratching persists.
Sometimes allergies can cause sneezing in dogs and other respiratory issues, although it’s more common in cats than in dogs.
If your dog has been sneezing chronically, or exhibits nasal discharge that is either green or yellow in color, it is recommended to make an appointment with your veterinarian in order to rule out serious respiratory issues.
8. Ocular discharge
If your pet has yellow or green discharge from one or both eyes, it can be a sign of conjunctivitis, which can be caused by allergies. However, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in order to rule out other causes such as eye injury, a foreign body or tear duct problems.
9. Hair loss
Another sign of allergies in dogs can be hair loss, or alopecia. It is normal for dogs to shed some fur, especially at certain times of the year, but it’s not normal for your pet to lose large amounts of hair to the point where your dog has bald, patchy spots.
Hair loss due to dog allergies may be caused by constant licking and scratching, and you may notice brown saliva stains from constant licking of the feet. Sometimes hair loss can be triggered by certain foods or environmental allergens such as pollen or mold, as well as other factors such as parasites, fleas or dust mites.
It’s always best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in Columbus so they can determine the best way to help treat your dog’s allergies.
Get Help if Your Pet Shows Signs of Dog Allergies in Columbus, OH
Allergies in dogs can be treated topically with creams or shampoos, and others can be treated with medications and/or immunotherapy. If you suspect that your dog has allergies, definitely consult your veterinarian, especially since symptoms of dog allergies can also occur with other health disorders.
At North Kenny Veterinary Hospital, we understand how uncomfortable allergies can make your pet, which is why we work on getting to the root of your dog’s allergies. Our expert veterinary team in Columbus develops a plan tailored to your pet to help relieve their allergy symptoms.
About North Kenny Veterinary Hospital
North Kenny Veterinary Hospital has been serving Columbus, OH pet families with exceptional veterinary medicine since the 1950s. We put a strong emphasis on preventive medicine as well as low-stress handling to help pets have a more pleasant veterinary experience. We use Fear Free techniques for every cat and dog to help reduce their anxiety and calm their nerves.