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How can I tell if my dog has allergies?

Asked in Allergies, Dog Health, Dog Nutrition, Gut Health,

Detecting allergies in dogs can be challenging, as the symptoms can vary widely. Here are common signs that your dog may have allergies:

Skin Issues

  • Itching and Scratching: Persistent scratching, biting, or licking, especially in specific areas, may indicate skin allergies. Paw licking is especially common.
  • Redness and Inflammation: Allergic reactions can cause red, inflamed skin, often leading to hot spots or sores.

Ear Problems

  • Ear Infections: Frequent ear infections, head shaking, or ear scratching can be signs of allergies.

Digestive Issues

  • Vomiting and Diarrhoea: Food allergies or sensitivities may manifest as gastrointestinal problems. Many dogs develop anal gland impactions and infections and may be seen to scoot their bottom along the ground.

Respiratory Symptoms

  • Sneezing and Coughing: Environmental allergies, such as pollen or dust, may cause respiratory symptoms.
  • Watery Eyes: Allergies can lead to increased tear production and discharge.

Changes in Behaviour

  • Lethargy: Allergies can lead to poor nutrient absorption, leading to reduced energy levels.
  • Changes in Appetite: Allergies may affect a dog's appetite.

If you observe any of these signs, it's important to consult with a veterinarian. Managing allergies may involve dietary changes, antihistamines, steroids (or other anti itch medicine like Oclacitinib), allergy shots (immunotherapy), or other medications, depending on the underlying cause.  As secondary skin infections are common, dogs may also require antibiotics and medicated washes at times.

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