Identifying allergies in dogs successfully

Allergy in dogsAlmost every fifth dog in Germany suffers from an allergy. What you can do as an owner?

09.08.2021 – 6 min reading time

To the point

Dogs can be tested for allergies using two different procedures. With a so-called intradermal test. With a serological allergy test.

Not only pollen and dust mites, but also proteins contained in dog food can trigger allergies.

In the long term, allergies can be treated with "allergen-specific immunotherapy", also called "hyposensitization" or "desensitization". Strong allergy symptoms can also be alleviated with the help of homeopathic remedies.

Which symptoms indicate an allergy in a dog??

Whether it is incompatible proteins, pollen or mites: dogs – just like humans – can react allergically to certain external influences. An allergic reaction is often manifested by severe itching and scratching, nausea and diarrhea, as well as skin and ear infections. If your dog constantly rubs his nose with his paw or scratches his skin and paws, this may indicate an allergy. In addition, a persistent allergy can also affect the behavior of the dog in the long term: If the animal suffers from particularly severe symptoms, this is sometimes also reflected in increased aggression or noticeable exhaustion.

Identifying allergies in dogs and treating them successfully

Are there dog breeds that are particularly prone to allergies?

Basically, any dog can develop an allergy. However, some dog breeds are particularly susceptible according to studies, such as the French bulldog and the pug. These breeds have shortened airways due to their characteristic nose shape, which can aggravate allergy symptoms. In addition, there are also a number of dog breeds that react more frequently to allergens from the environment, such as pollen, grass and house dust. These breeds include Labrador Retrievers, Boxers and German Shepherds.

How does an allergy test work in a dog?

Dogs can be tested for allergies with different methods.

With the so-called serological allergy test the vet takes blood from the dog and has it analyzed in a special laboratory test. This can determine whether the blood contains antibodies against pollen, mites or other potentially allergenic substances.

The second method is the Intradermal test, also called intradermal test. As in humans, various substances are applied to the skin of the animal or injected under the skin. Subsequently, the responsible veterinarian can then observe exactly which potentially allergenic substances the skin reacts to. In order to perform this test, the dog must be partially shorn to expose enough skin. This test is usually performed only by specialists.

In the case of food allergies, an exclusion diet is usually recommended.

What does an allergy test in a dog cost??

How much an allergy test for your dog will cost you also depends on how many allergens are to be tested for and how extensive the examination is. As a rule, however, even a general test for mites and pollen can cost between 100 and 400 euros, depending on the veterinarian. If you prefer to test for a whole range of allergens, then it will be even more expensive in case of doubt.

Determine allergies in dogs successfully treat

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Food allergies in dogs

Not only external environmental influences, but also food can cause allergies in dogs. Specifically responsible for the allergic reaction here are proteins (such as those from beef or pork supplements, corn or milk) or carbohydrates (such as grains) contained in the food. Common symptoms of food allergy are itching, diarrhea, vomiting and flatulence. However, these reactions should not be taken as a clear indication of a food allergy, because: Firstly, similar symptoms can also be observed in other types of allergies – and secondly, food allergies are not as common as is often amed. If you still suspect that your dog is allergic to its food, you should always consult a veterinarian. The food allergist can use an exclusion diet or an allergy test to determine which substances are causing the allergic reaction or, if in doubt, conclude that there is no allergy at all. Often there is a less serious food intolerance or food hypersensitivity present.

Determining allergies in dogs successfully

Which meat for allergic dogs?

Which meat is best for your dog – or which food you should give to an allergic dog – cannot be answered in a general way. After all, each individual dog can develop very individual negative reactions to different foods in the course of his life. Even meat that is supposedly low in allergens contains proteins that can trigger allergies. Nevertheless, there are now a whole range of dog foods that have been specially developed for dogs affected by allergies and list exactly which ingredients are included. Again, if in doubt, consult your veterinarian for advice.

Determine allergies in dogs by exclusion diet

With a so-called exclusion diet you can find out which allergen in the food is causing your dog problems. However, the term "diet" in this case does not mean that you are helping your pet to lose weight, but rather that you are completely changing your dog's diet for a longer period of time in the interest of his health.

First of all, it is important that your dog is only fed a single type of meat – one that he has never eaten before. Exotic meat products, such as kangaroo or ostrich meat, or fresh meat products from horse, deer or rabbit are particularly suitable for this. In addition to this protein source, your dog will also be given a carbohydrate source. For example, quinoa or cooked vegetables such as parsnips or sweet potatoes.

If you have changed your pet's diet for several weeks, the allergic reactions that have occurred so far should subside after a while and finally disappear completely. It is important to know here that even small deviations from the diet plan can cause you real problems with the exclusion diet. If your dog eats something other than his prescribed diet, for example, during a walk or when visiting friends, the result will not be meaningful later on.

In the second step of the exclusion diet (after about 12 weeks), the conventional food sources are added back to the diet step by step. So you feed your dog now, for example, additionally with food that contains a beef content and observe closely whether the old symptoms appear again. This procedure is also called provocation. In this way, you can gradually find out which foods your dog is allergic to.

Determine allergies in dogs successfully treat

Allergy to mites in dogs

In addition to allergies to certain foods, mite allergies also occur in dogs time and again. A distinction is made here between allergies to dust mites and allergies to food mites. Both findings are usually accompanied by severe itching, reddening of the skin, coughing, rhinitis and diarrhea. An allergy can only be clearly diagnosed by a veterinarian. If the diagnosis is indeed a mite allergy, it is advisable to pay special attention to hygiene, i.e. to wash your dog frequently and to wipe its bedding wet to prevent contact with mites (or other mites). mite droppings) as best as possible. If the animal also suffers from a real mite infestation that aggravates the symptoms, this is usually treated with gels or sprays prescribed by the veterinarian.

Pollen allergy in dogs: Can dogs have hay fever??

Yes, not only humans, but also dogs can be allergic to pollen or grass and develop a kind of hay fever. The most common symptoms of a pollen allergy include itching, skin rash, watery eyes and breathing problems. In addition, affected animals often suffer from acute lack of appetite. Flabbiness – conjunctivitis also occurs more frequently as a result of a pollen allergy.

If you suspect that your dog suffers from a pollen allergy, then you should first keep doors and windows closed and thoroughly clean the pet's resting places. In addition, it is recommended to visit the veterinarian as soon as possible. This can determine with an allergy test, to which pollen or grasses your dog reacts negatively and initiate an appropriate treatment.

Checklist: Help your dog through pollen season with these 5 tips

Your dog already struggles with the symptoms of a strong allergy at the beginning of the pollen season? We have put together a number of tips to help you make your four-legged friend's life as comfortable as possible despite this:

Reach for the pollen calendar:
This will help you find out at which time of year your dog will be particularly affected by pollen and grasses, and you can prepare for this.

Go for a walk at the right time:
In the early morning hours and late in the evening, the pollen concentration in the air often decreases. You can take advantage of this fact.

Pay attention to hygiene and cleanliness at home:
If the dog bed is cleaned regularly and the apartment vacuumed, your dog will be exposed to smaller amounts of pollen.

Air at the right time:
A summer rain shower cleans the air of unpleasant pollen. When the rain subsides, this is the optimal time to ventilate your home.

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