Are You Allergic To Your Pet
Are You Allergic to Your Pet? Breathe EasyYou Can Still Keep Your Animal Companion!
Although many people have discovered the beneficial effects of caring for a furry friend, the fact remains that roughly 15 to 20% of the population is allergic to animals. The result? Countless pet parents in unhappy, unhealthy situationsand their beloved pets are the cause! Allergen is the medical term for the actual substance that causes an allergic reaction. Touching or inhaling allergens leads to reactions in allergic individuals. Symptoms can include red, itchy, watery eyes and nose; sneezing; coughing; scratchy or sore throat; itchy skin, and most serious of all, difficulty breathing.
The most common pet allergens are proteins found in their dander , saliva, urine and sebaceous cells. Any animal can trigger an allergic response, but cats are the most common culprits. People can also become allergic to exotic pets such as ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, rabbits and rodents. There is no species or breed to which humans cannot develop allergies. Fur length and type will not affect or prevent allergies. Certain pets can be less irritating than others to those who suffer from allergies, but that is strictly on an individual basis and cannot be predicted.
Improving the Immediate Environment
;Taking Care of Yourself
How Can You Tell If A Dog Has Allergies
Allergies are basically symptoms manifested as a result of a dog’s immune system working hard to get rid of outside substances.
These substances – allergens – can be anything , and they can be found in a lot of places and things, such as food, in our homes, and in the environment.
They can cause allergic reactions after being ingested, inhaled or absorbed.
Usually, canine allergies are manifested in three ways.
Symptoms Of Allergies In Dogs
The symptoms of allergies in dogs may vary depending on the cause. A dog that goes into anaphylactic shock, for instance, will have a drop in blood pressure followed by shock, which is very different from a skin condition.
In general, however, the following symptoms could be a sign of an allergic reaction.
- Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
- Red, inflamed skin
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Treatment For Dog Allergies
The best way to treat a dog allergy is to avoid the irritant that causes the allergy in the first place. For example, if your dog suffers from a food allergy, make sure to always read the nutrition label and the manufacturers label before purchasing.;
To avoid skin allergies from fleas, you can:
- Limit the amount of time your dog spends outdoors
- Limit your dogs contact with wild or stray animals
- Check for fleas regularly
- Brush and bathe your dog regularly
And, as we mentioned before, if your dog suffers from a severe allergic reaction, the best course of action is to take them to the vet.;
Dog Food Allergies Causes And Cures
Dog food is one culprit behind allergic reactions in dogs that owners often overlook because it’s easy to attribute the itching or licky to an environmental factor that causes skin allergies. In fact, about a quarter to a third of dogs with a food allergy also has an environmental allergy, which has similar and at times indistinguishable symptoms. Just like us, canines can suffer from either or dog food allergies and dog food intolerances. Food allergies in dogs can be very serious and cause not only digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea, but also skin issues, and even behavioral problems.;
We talked to Dr. Justin Shmalberg, a DVM and one of Nom Nom‘s own veterinary nutritionists, to create this comprehensive guide that covers the following:
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How To Treat Animal Or Pet Allergies
If you are allergic to a particular type of animal, the best treatment is to limit exposure to them. However, if your pet is considered a member of your family, this may not be a viable option.
Other measures may help reduce symptoms without removing the pet from your home. These include:
â Â; Bathing pets regularly
â Â; Using air filters in bedrooms and living areas
â Â; Keeping pets out of bedrooms
â Â; Regularly dust and vacuum
â Â; Change air filters frequently
Several types of over-the-counter medications can help you feel better around your pets. These include:
â Â; Antihistamines, which can prevent or reduce the sneezing and itching you may experience from your allergies
â Â; Oral or nasal decongestants, which help relieve sinus pressure or stuffiness
â Â; Intranasal corticosteroids, which are some of the most effective allergy treatments and can help reduce nasal congestion and runny nose
Pet Dander Allergy Symptoms
While pet allergy symptoms can vary from person to person, the most common pet dander allergy symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion
- Watery, red, itchy eyes
- Itchy nose, throat, and/or roof of the mouth
Individuals with both asthma and a pet dander allergy may also experience trouble breathing, pain or tightness in the chest, and wheezing.;
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Is There An Allergy Test For Dogs
Allergy testing in dogs is done for seasonal/environmental allergies only. Studies have shown that blood testing and skin testing for food allergies are not accurate in dogs.
Prior to performing allergy testing, your veterinarian should rule out other causes for your dogs allergy symptoms.; Allergy testing should not be used to confirm that your pet has seasonal/environmental allergies, but to determine the specific things to which your dog is allergic.;
Studies have shown that hair and/or saliva testing for seasonal/environmental allergies or food allergies in dogs is not accurate.
Seasonal/environmental allergy testing can be performed in dogs by either skin testing or blood testing. Skin testing is the most accurate type of allergy test, and its generally performed by board-certified veterinary dermatologists.
Mild sedation is required. The fur is clipped in a small area, and a series of very small amounts of allergens are injected into your dogs skin. The degree of the allergic reaction to each allergen determines whether your dog is allergic to it. The cost of these tests can range from $300 to $700.
What Is An Allergic Reaction
You see that your dogs eyes are bloodshot, perhaps hes scratching profusely, or he may even be experiencing respiratory problems these are all signs frequently associated with canine allergies. But you may be wondering: what is causing your dogs allergies?
As mentioned above, dogs may show signs of an allergic reaction very similar to the ones humans experience when your dogs immune system begins to react adversely to particular substances , an allergy attack may be the result, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. And even though these common substances may be harmless to a dog who is allergy-free, they could be dangerous for pups who suffer from chronic allergies.
In the case of an extreme reaction, your dog has most likely been exposed to the offending allergen via inhalation, ingestion, or direct contact with the skin. As your dogs body tried to rid itself of the offending toxins, an array of dog allergy symptoms may appear relating to his digestive, skin, and respiratory systems.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of dog allergies to be aware of:
- Itchy, irritated-looking skin
- Excessive scratching or biting of the skin
- Itchy, runny or watery/bloodshot eyes
- Itchy back or base of the tail
- Itchy or inflamed ears/ear infections
- Constant licking of the skin
- Coughing, wheezing, or signs of asthma
- Scabs, crusting and/or lesions on the skin
- Secondary bacterial/yeast infections of the skin
- Vomiting or signs of nausea
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Things In Your House That Could Be Triggering Your Pets Allergies
Reviewed for accuracy on June 6, 2019, by Dr. Katie Grzyb, DVM
Did you know that your pet could be allergic to everything from their own beds to your other pets? Unfortunately, figuring out what could be causing allergies in your dog or cat can be a lengthy processand a particularly hard one when dealing with household allergens.
Dog Food Allergy Test And Other Diagnosis Methods
So, how can you tell if your dog is allergic to food? First, it’s helpful to know how you might distinguish a food allergy from an environmental one. “Environmental or flea allergies are far more common,” explains Shmalberg. If you suspect either of those, consult your vet, who can help identify and treat fleas, or do a combination of blood tests and/or intradermal allergy testing to assess environmental allergies.
But if your dog has the following signs, talk to your vet about setting up a dog food allergy test or elimination diet.
Telltale Signs Your Dog May Have a Food Allergy :
- If the symptoms occur at a very young agetypically, puppies younger than age 1 don’t experience environmental allergies
- If the symptoms aren’t tied to a seasonal change or don’t change in different parts of the country
- If the reaction doesn’t respond to steroids
- If your dog has both skin and gastrointestinal symptoms
Dog Food Elimination Diet
It’s also important you refrain from feeding treats, table scraps, snacks, and flavored medications and supplements of any kind that don’t match the specific ingredient combo you’re using for the trial. After eight weeks, to truly prove the food allergy, you must then feed the original foodthe suspected allergic protein or proteinsagain. If there’s a reaction or breakout at that point, that’s a pretty good indication of an allergy.
Other Types of Dog Food Allergy Testing
Aside from elimination diets, there are a couple of other test options worth a look.
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What Causes A Pet Allergy
The job of the immune system is to find foreign substances, such as viruses and bacteria, and get rid of them. Normally, this response protects us from dangerous diseases. People with pet allergies have over-sensitive immune systems. They can react to harmless proteins in the pet’s urine, saliva or dander . The symptoms that result are an allergic reaction. The substances that cause allergic reactions are allergens.
Pet allergens can collect on furniture and other surfaces. The allergens will not lose their strength for a long time. Sometimes the allergens may remain at high levels for several months and cling to walls, furniture, clothing and other surfaces.
Pet hair is not an allergen. It can collect dander, urine and saliva. It also can carry other allergens like dust and pollen.
Cat and dog allergens are everywhere. Pet allergens are even in homes and other places that have never housed pets. This is because people can carry pet allergens on their clothing. Also, allergens can get into the air when an animal is petted or groomed. Pet allergens can also be stirred into the air where the allergens have settled. This can happen during dusting, vacuuming or other household activities. Once airborne, the particles can stay suspended in the air for long periods.
Flea Allergies In Dogs
Flea Allergy Dermatitis skin irritation and infections that occur secondary to this allergy is the most common skin problem in dogs.;
Technically, your dog isnt allergic to fleastheyre allergic to flea saliva. This is different from normal itchiness in response to a bug bite. Instead, dogs with flea allergies will compulsively lick and scratch after as little as 1-2 bites, often chewing their skin raw and causing an infection.
Diagnosing a flea saliva allergy can be tricky because you might not see the flea. For example, if your pup is out for a walk and a single flea jumps on and bites them but then falls off when your dog scratches, that one bite can cause a raging skin reaction that lasts up to a week!
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Minimizing The Allergens In Your Home
In addition to removing products that might be causing pet allergies, the best advice is to clean thoroughly, wash bedding often and clean with all-natural materials, says Dr. Richter.;Also, a HEPA filter can help pull dust and pollen out of the air, says Dr. Richter.
Vacuuming frequently using a high-suction vacuum and disinfecting surfaces regularly are also musts if you share your home with an allergic pet, says Dr. Rossman.
Changing furnace filters monthly, avoiding wool blankets in the home and adding plug-in air purifiers in every room can also be very effective, says Dr. Rossman.
Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about your pets allergies and what might be causing them. Your veterinarian can provide more in-depth guidance and can recommend treatment and management options.
Can Dogs And Cats Be Hypoallergenic
All warm-blooded animals produce the proteins that can cause allergic reactions in people with sensitive immune systems. Some cat and dog breeds, such as poodles and sphynx cats, are often recommended for people with allergies. However, finding a hypoallergenic pet can be more complicated than picking one of these breeds. For example, though certain dogs are considered hypoallergenic, they may in fact still cause allergy symptoms because of the proteins found in their skin , saliva and urine. In fact, a study by Nicholas et al. recommended that clinicians should advise patients that they cannot rely on breeds deemed to be hypoallergenic to in fact disperse less allergen in their environment.
Cats tend to cause more allergic reactions than dogs because they groom themselves more often, but both species have the potential to release allergens into the air that you breathe, no matter which breed you choose. Therefore, there is not really a cat or dog that is truly hypoallergenic, though some breeds may cause fewer problems for allergy sufferers because of their grooming habits or shedding patterns.
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Food Allergies In Dogs
Food allergies are not nearly as common in dogs as most pet parents think they are in fact, food allergies only account for 10% of allergy-afflicted pets.
However, its still important to consider food allergies when figuring out whats causing your dogs symptoms. Your pup may be have an allergic reaction to just one ingredient, or several and new food allergies can develop over time. This is similar to humans who are allergic to peanuts or shellfish theres nothing inherently wrong with the foods, its just that some individuals develop an allergy.;
Common food allergens include proteins found in beef, lamb, chicken, soy, or wheat.;
Dog food allergy symptoms often show up as digestive problems, but they also commonly cause skin issues that mimic environmental allergens.
Its also important to note your pet may have symptoms due to a food intolerance. This is different from a true allergy because the immune system is not involved, so some allergy treatments wont work for food intolerance. Instead, difficulty digesting or processing a certain ingredient may be to blame.
Could Your Child Have One Of These Top 10 Allergies
Allergies happen when your child’s immune system mistakenly decides that a harmless substance is a danger to their health. Once your child is exposed to one of these substances, called an allergen, they may develop one or more of these symptoms, depending on the allergen:
- Dark circles under the eyes
The top 10 allergens include:
- Pollen from trees, grass, and weeds
- Animal dander
- Peanuts, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, and other tree nuts
- Other foods
- Stings from bees, wasps, or bites from ants
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What Causes Food Allergies In Dogs
Food allergies in dogs are caused by a variety of factors. Though the leading cause of food allergies in dogs is a genetic predisposition, the environment can also be a factor.
Approximately 70 percent of the bodys entire immune system is centered in the gastrointestinal tract.
Your dogs gastrointestinal system, which includes the mouth, stomach, and intestines, protects your dog from potential allergens every day. When your dog eats, the food is first digested in the stomach. Large pieces of food are broken down by stomach acid, which works with enzymes to break down complex protein structures into smaller ones.
The food, partially digested, passes into the small intestine. This food is further digested until the proteins are broken down into amino acids, which are absorbed into the body through enterocytes. Enterocytes are special cells which usher in amino acids they deem worthy and expel the amino acids they dont.
When a whole protein is absorbed instead of being broken down first, the immune system reacts in what is known as a food allergy.
How To Feed A Dog With Food Allergies
Once youve determined the offending items in your dogs diet, the next step is avoiding them as much as possible. You can use prescription food from your veterinarian, make your own food from scratch, or you can try a limited;ingredient diet. A roundup of quality;limited-ingredient foods for dogs;with allergies can be;found here.
You can also keep a look out for dog food using hydrolyzed proteins, which is a fancy way of saying that the protein is broken down molecularly so theres nothing left of the potential allergen.
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Best: Portuguese Water Dogs Live Well Outside
If your allergies are so severe that you cant bear to stay in the same room with even the easiest-to-tolerate pups, consider the breeds of dogs that can live outside. With a waterproof coat and webbed feet, the Portuguese water dog is well-suited for outdoor living. As long as it has some kind of shelter, fresh water to drink, and room to play, the Portuguese is just as happy outside as indoors.