You heard pet allergies and immediately thought of your old Aunt June whose eyes water whenever she encounters next door’s cat, didn’t you? Go on, it’s OK to admit it. So many of us tend to forget that our pets, pooches included, can suffer from allergies too.
While we usually understand our own allergies and can express our discomfort, cross-species communication can be a little trickier. Us owners need to be savvy, know the symptoms, so when our four-legged friends are suffering, we can ease the irritation.
But, first things first, we need to know how to some of the common pet allergies and how to recognise them.
Now, we don't mean to alarm you, but to be in the know, you've got to, well... know. Dogs can be allergic to a whole host of things, just like their owners.
Food is an almighty biggie. Contrary to popular belief, grain isn’t the main culprit here, but – perhaps surprisingly – beef, dairy and wheat. Despite how they love the stench of seafood, fish can often upset a canine's stomach, too.
Don't hold your breath, we might be here a while as we look at other everyday allergens. The list is infinite, but you should definitely watch out for: pollens, mould, dust, household medicines, perfumes, cleaning products, fabrics, and certainly cigarette smoke.
Reactions to these allergens occur, quite simply, when your buddy's body doesn't like them.
When they're inhaled or digested, or when your furry friend comes into contact with the substance, the body kicks up a stink. The stink bit, sometimes literally… and don't we know it.
The body attempts to remove all traces of the allergen, and this can manifest in any number of ways. We're talking skin conditions, respiratory distress, digestive trouble, ie. that bad smell we spoke about, remember?
So, how exactly might a reaction rear its head? Let’s throw some signs and symptoms about.
- Potent wind. Loose bowels. Full-blown diarrhoea. All three can definitely be a sign that something dodgy is going on.
- Vomiting, too. Don’t forget the vomiting.
- Skin that’s looking funky or furious. Scabby skin, for starters. Red irritated skin. Overly moist skin.
- Itching and scratching for long periods. Often induced by the above. Scratching at the ears can also be the sign of local irritation or infection.
- Sad, sore eyes. They may look red and runny, and your pet is likely to paw at them more often. Poor thing.
- A-a-a-tishoo. Just like humans, sniffles and sneezes are a symptom of allergic reactions.
- And finally, irregular panting or snoring. Keep an eye out for respiratory issues, often a symptom of sinus problems or an inflamed throat.
If you’re looking to minimise the risk of pet allergies, try cutting out some stuff that’s been proven to be a problem for pooches. Ditch perfumed shampoo, keep walks to paved areas if grass pollen is a problem, go for a grain-free diet or even a raw fed diet and opt for a dog bed tailored to your dog's allergy needs.
Always remember, this advice isn’t wholly inclusive.
If you think your pet is suffering, or you’re worried in any way, give the vet a visit. The Internet sometimes doesn’t cut it.