How to care for a dog with skin allergies?
Skin allergies in dogs are an increasingly common problem that both animals and caregivers must cope with, who are responsible for treatment according to the veterinarian’s instructions. In many cases, treating skin allergies is a process that will last for the rest of the dog’s life. So how to properly care for a dog with skin allergies?
The skin is the dog’s largest organ and provides a barrier between the external environment and internal organs. Thanks to it, the dog can be protected against UV rays; feel pain, which allows you to escape when threatened. The skin is also part of the immune system, where the first changes caused by allergens are visible.
If your dog has rashes, severe itching, scratches or bites, it may be suffering from an allergy. From this article you will learn what the most common causes of skin allergies in dogs are, how to prevent allergy symptoms and the role of proper nutrition in this.
The most common causes and symptoms of allergies in dogs
Allergy is a type of hypersensitivity of the immune system that may be stimulated by contact, inhalant and/or food allergens. There are as many causes of allergies as there are potential allergens. There are certainly dozens of reasons that can cause an allergic reaction in a dog. This poses a real challenge for the veterinarian to make the correct diagnosis and implement appropriate treatment.
Causes of skin allergies in dogs
Food allergens are indicated among the main causes of skin allergies in the literature. The source of the problem are the proteins contained in the food, which were not digested and reached the small intestine, causing a complex sequence of changes in the MALT (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue) system, leading to allergies. The main nutrients that cause allergies include: beef, wheat, soy, cow’s milk, cereals, eggs, or nutritional additives such as monosodium glutamate, vegetable gums, azo dyes. In addition to stomach problems such as diarrhea, the dog may also show skin changes, usually hives and atopic dermatitis. Less commonly, the dog may have seborrhea.
Atopic dermatitis is a type of genetically determined itchy allergic skin disease associated with the production of IgE antibodies against food and environmental allergens.
Other causes of skin allergies include:
- Flea allergy dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
- Food intolerances
- Skin cancer
- Hormonal disorders
Allergy symptoms in dogs
Symptoms of skin allergies can be confusingly similar to those of other diseases, so if you notice any changes in your dog’s skin, always consult a veterinarian.
The first disturbing signals should be:
- Redness on the dog’s skin
- Itching in the ears of the limbs
- Peeling of the skin
- Dandruff in dogs
Allergens can also cause digestive symptoms such as chronic gastritis, acute hemorrhagic gastroenteritis or irritable bowel syndrome.
How to effectively care for a dog with skin allergies: tips and tricks
The primary task of a veterinarian is to conduct extended diagnostics. In a dog that has skin problems, apart from the history and clinical examination, the veterinarian will certainly order blood and feces tests to first conduct a differential diagnosis in order to exclude potential diseases that cause symptoms on the skin.
If atopic dermatitis is suspected, the doctor may use a test according to the Willemse criteria. In the case of contact allergies, these may be skin tests. In turn, if a food allergy is suspected, an elimination diet is almost always performed.
Elimination diet with a different source of protein than before
The main goal of an elimination diet is to detect the source of protein that causes the dog’s allergic reaction. To check this, first give your dog food with protein that the dog has not had contact with before. You can use, for example, JOSERA Lamm&Reis food.
It is important to change the food to a new one gradually – the whole process may take from 7 to 14 days, and each subsequent day you should give your dog a little more of the new food compared to the current one.
The optimal duration of an elimination diet is even 10-12 hours. weeks, but in most cases, if the allergenic ingredient has been eliminated, improvement will be visible after 5 weeks.
The next step is to conduct a provocation test, during which the dog should be given subsequent ingredients of the previous food until the one that causes an allergic reaction is detected.
Skin allergies in dogs – how to prevent them
If the doctor confirms that the cause of skin allergies are food allergens, the guardian’s task is to introduce allergen-free food into the dog’s diet. It may therefore turn out that the challenge diet will need to be carried out several times to obtain a broader list of possible foods to be given in the future.
When choosing a diet, it is worth taking into account mono-protein, hypoallergenic, hydrolyzed foods, as well as those with short ingredients.
Dry food with a short composition
Feed with a short composition allows you to eliminate potentially allergenic ingredients. Usually, this type of food contains one source of animal protein, which makes it easier to detect a possible allergen. A good example is JOSERA Lamm & Reis food – food with lamb, which is often chosen for dogs with allergy symptoms as a source of alternative protein to poultry. This food does not contain preservatives, artificial colors, wheat or soy, i.e. all the ingredients that are common causes of allergies in dogs. Additionally, this food contains omega-3 and -6 acids, which reduce skin inflammation. Vitamin E, biotin and methionine also support skin health.
KrakVet.pl Pet Store
A wide range of high-quality Josera dog food
Wet food with the same protein source
A long-term dog diet based on feeding one type of dry food may be unattractive to the dog. Therefore, even among dogs suffering from allergies, a combined model is often used, in which dry food is supplemented with wet food. The safest solution is to choose wet food with the same protein source and short composition. Therefore, the diet can be supplemented with Meat Lovers Pure food with lamb. It is a mono-protein, grain-free and gluten-free food that minimizes the risk of allergies thanks to one source of protein – lamb.
Treats for an allergic dog
There is no need to eliminate snacks in the diet of an allergy dog. Currently, as in the case of food, snacks can be hydrolyzed, mono-protein and with short ingredients.
When giving your dog snacks, follow one simple rule – their supply cannot exceed 10-15% of the dog’s daily calorie requirement. Additionally, your dog’s regular meals should be reduced by the number of calories in snacks. All this to prevent your dog from being overweight or obese.
Giving mono-protein snacks can also be used as a form of provocation test. Of course, you should not exaggerate with the number of snacks, but systematic feeding of one type of snack for a long time may provoke an allergic reaction in the dog’s body – if the dog is actually allergic to the source of protein from which the snacks are made.
Ways to alleviate the symptoms of skin allergies in dogs
Changing your diet is the first way to alleviate the symptoms of skin allergies. Additionally, after consulting a doctor, you can decide to administer therapeutic doses of omega-3 and -6 acids, as well as probiotics.
Proper care undoubtedly also plays an important role. Shampoo therapy with agents such as chlorhexidine is usually recommended for dogs with skin allergies.
As part of prevention, it is also recommended to systematically deworm the dog and use preparations against external parasites.