When we think about allergy symptoms in either dogs or people, we tend to bring to mind a fairly generic cluster of stereotypical responses, such as sore, red and runny eyes, sneezing, and potentially, a rash or breakout of hives.
These are all indeed symptoms of allergies that can present in dogs, but they’re not the only ones – and dog allergy symptoms can be hugely variable in terms of both their presentation and severity, and they can change over time too.
There are a wide range of different types of allergens that can affect dogs as well, and not all of them are things like pollen or airborne particles like dust and mould – food, chemicals, and virtually anything you can think of could be an allergen for any given dog.
Finding out what is causing a dog’s allergy is not always simple, and in order to begin investigating, you do of course have to know that your dog is suffering from an allergy in the first place – and if your dog’s symptoms are not ones that you already associate with allergies, this is even harder to achieve.
With this in mind, this article will share five allergy symptoms that dogs can display that you might not realise indicate an allergy at all, to help to give you a head start. Read on to learn more.
Not all dogs are hugely tolerant of having their feet handled, and some are apt to make a huge fuss if you try to examine their paws or if they suspect that you’re going to try to trim their nails!
However, if your dog makes a huge fuss about you attempting to touch their feet, their paws might be hypersensitive as the result of allergies. Some allergies can make the pads of your dog’s paws feel itchy, sore, inflamed or highly sensitive, so don’t just assume that your dog is ticklish if they won’t let you handle their feet without a big struggle.
Allergies might also make your dog’s feet appear swollen, which will make them feel uncomfortable too – so ask your vet to examine your dog if they seem to overreact when you try to touch their paws.
Ear infections can be challenging to fully eradicate as many dog breeds have deep ear canals that are occluded by the flaps of the ears themselves. This means that some ear infections will linger for quite a while or appear to return in short order – but if your dog is particularly prone to ear infections, allergies might be the culprit.
Some dog breeds like the Basset hound are more prone to ear infections than others as a result of the conformation of their ears, but if you cannot assign the cause of your dog’s ear infections to their shape and build, allergies might result in a type of dermatitis in and around the ears that makes them more prone to developing infections too.
Diarrhoea and also vomiting are unpleasant issues that virtually all dogs suffer from occasionally, often as the result of having scavenged something nasty in the dog park or from the bins!
However, if your dog seems to vomit or get diarrhoea often and you’re not sure why, one of the causes that you should ask your vet to investigate is a food allergy.
Food allergies can cause a range of symptoms in your dog that are not all related to the digestive system, but vomiting and particularly, diarrhoea are common, so don’t just write them off without investigation.
Brachycephalic dogs tend to snore due to the abnormal conformation of their faces, but snoring can also be a symptom of allergies, particularly inhalant allergies caused by airborne particles of things like pollen.
Inhalant allergies will tent to irritate your dog’s respiratory system in general, and can cause inflammation of the throat and airways, which only needs to be quite mild to potentially occlude your dog’s breathing enough to result in snoring when they relax and go to sleep.
If your dog has recently begun to snore and you’re not sure why, ask your vet to investigate.
Finally, dogs can develop obsessive-type behaviours just as people can, and in dogs, this often manifests as things like licking one specific patch of skin continually until it is bald, sore and inflamed, or chewing between the toes as soon as they are left to chill out for a while.
However, whilst obsessive behaviours such as these can be caused by a behavioural issue, they might also come about as the result of the dog attempting to get relief from an annoying allergy, which is making their skin feel hot, sore, itchy, or otherwise uncomfortable.
Allergies are the first thing your vet will consider if your dog is obsessively grooming a certain area of the body to the point that they make it sore, or if your dog seems to be unconcerned about harming themselves with overgrooming.