Skin allergies are not uncommon in pets and the same pollens and house dust that cause allergic reactions in people can have the same effect on dogs. Allergic dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin and can be brought on by many things, but the end results are generally the same; an uncomfortable dog who can't stop licking and scratching. In extreme cases there may even be hair loss.
What can you do?
Your vet may try to help manage your dog's allergy by numerous methods including injections, oral medications, nutritional management, topical shampoos, dips, ointments and environmental treatments.
At home, you can provide plenty of clean water (your vet may even recommend distilled water). If your vet has performed a biopsy or prescribed a medicine, be certain to closely follow instructions for care and activity restrictions. Use environmental sprays and foggers only as directed and watch your dog closely for signs that the condition is recurring.
Do not hesitate to call the clinic if questions or problems arise.
Food for thought
Nutrition can help dogs with food allergies and dietary fatty acid therapy has been used in dogs with allergic skin disease or dogs with pruritis or dermatitis.
There are a few different foods available depending on how bad the allergy is. Discover more about the benefits of Hills™ Science Plan™ Sensitive Skin pet food for your dog or consult your veterinarian about the effectiveness of Prescription Diet™ therapeutic pet foods.
If your dog is allowed outdoors, complete elimination of fleas is almost impossible. A more realistic goal is flea control, especially in warmer parts of the country. This requires controlling the life cycle of the flea with one of the highly effective topical or oral products available today. Your vet will recommend which is most appropriate for your dog and household.
Environmental treatment is also important in flea control. Frequent vacuuming removes flea eggs in rugs and carpeting (promptly dispose of the vacuum bag). Laundering your dog's bedding is also advised. Sprays may also be recommended by your veterinarian. Preventative measures taken before you see fleas can save you and your dog a lot of discomfort.
Ticks spread diseases such as Lyme Disease and people and pets can contract these diseases, so ticks are a serious concern. If dogs live in or visit countryside areas they should be checked for ticks.
As far as possible keep your dog from roaming through tall grasses and woods. If you have been out walking in those areas have a look for small lumps on the skin (similar to a wart).
Prompt removal can prevent the spread of tick-borne illness. Take your dog along to the vet who will be able to remove it with the correct equipment as you don't want to break it and leave some of the tick behind.
The first step, if your pet is being sick or has diarrhoea, is to stop feeding and to give only small sips of water little and often.. If your pet continues to vomit, seek veterinary advice. Self-limiting diarrhoea should normally settle in 2-3 days.
If you're not planning to breed from your dog then it's best to have her spayed. If, however, you make the big decision to allow her to have puppies you're in for quite an adventure - here are a few signs that indicate pregnancy in dogs.
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