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Symptoms and Treatment of Dog Allergies

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Article by Dr. Ben Clemmett

Photography by Kelsey Shaikh

As temperatures begin to warm, seasonal allergies flare up in people and their pets. There are many types of allergens that commonly affect dogs, including many different trees, grasses, pollens, environmental molds, microscopic dust mites, and insects – including the infamous flea – to name a few. Some pets are allergic to allergens that are present year round.

Watch For These Signs

Signs of environmental allergies mimic that of many other skin conditions and can include scratching, redness, darkening skin, itching, chewing, rubbing and rolling around. If not addressed in a timely manner, many pets will scratch themselves raw and can get secondary bacterial or fungal infections – which only makes them itchier and often causes the cost of treatment to increase.

Home Treatment

Try giving your dog Benadryl at 1mg per pound of body weight every 8-12hrs. (Example: a 50-pound dog would get two 25mg Benadryl tablets). If using liquid or children’s Benadryl, be sure to check that it does NOT contain xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener and is toxic to pets. Benadryl can help with minor issues and can take the edge off, but usually doesn’t fix major issues.

When to Call the Vet

Fortunately, we have moved beyond steroids, and there are great, safe medications that can help, like Apoquel and Cytopoint. There are also prescription diets that can help pets with skin issues. If Benadryl isn’t working well enough, please schedule an appointment sooner rather than later. Most owners describe the level of itching before and after Cytopoint as a night and day difference. One of my own dogs, Scout, has allergy issues and she is managed very well with a Cytopoint injection every 2-3 months.

It’s a great time of year to get out and about with your dog, enjoying the sunshine and the company of other pet parents. Do not hesitate to call/text us at (615) 970-7307 or book an appointment online if seasonal allergies or any other pet health problem is getting in the way of your pet living their happiest, healthiest life.