It is estimated that 1 in 10 dogs suffer from skin complaints. There are a number of reasons why this occurs. Some of them are minor and easily handled while others can be difficult.
The most common cause of allergies in dogs are due to parasites, allergies, and infections. This can cause your dog to scratch their skin in an attempt to ease symptoms. The urge to itch is known as pruritus and is defined as: an uncomfortable sensation that causes an urge scratch.
Signs of dog allergies
- Excessive itching;
- Excessive licking;
- Red, irritated, or flakey skin;
- Hair loss.
How are dog allergies diagnosed?
The first step in resolving this issue is to book your dog into a veterinarian clinic. Your vet will need to rule out non-allergic skin diseases. They may perform a scrap test to rule out fungal cultures, and perform other tests to rule out non allergic issues. If these come back negative they will diagnose your dog with allergic dermatitis. This will then begin a trial by elimination, and further testing to determine what your dog is allergic too.
Options for dogs with Skin dermatitis.
Dogs suffering from food allergies can be cured but dogs with allergies due to airborne substances will need to be controlled. Although impossible to completely eliminate exposure to allergies knowing the specific allergens will allow treatment by Hyposensitisation. This involves giving your dog a very small amount of exposure at intervals determined by your vet to build up an immune response.
Anti histamines will control 10-30% of allergies caused by airborne allergies. They have less side affects than steroid use. They do not help bacterial issues.
Dog clothing to help with skin issues. Having your dog wear a dog shirt can help to reduce skin allergies. The shirt will act as a barrier between the allergen and your dogs clothing. Dog shirts will also help prevent excessive chewing, licking, and scratching as their skin is less accessible while wearing their dog shirt.