Like humans dogs can develop allergies and just like humans they need maintaining in order to make the dog as comfortable as possible. Skin allergies are quite common amongst dogs and they can develop at any stage during their lives and for any reason. When your dog has a reaction to something the skin will often flare up and it may become red and a rash may appear beneath the fur. When the dog is not having a reaction the fur and skin will appear like any other dog. Most dogs will have some sort of skin reaction to something within their lives however this will often clear up and never return. However it is quite common for dogs to develop reactions that re occur and this is then considered a skin allergy. Speaking with your vet will help diagnose whether your pet has a skin allergy. Once it is established your dog has a skin allergy it doesn’t have to be stressful, following these tips can make life more comfortable for you and your Dog.
Dogs develop skin allergies for any number of reasons but certain factors can make things worse. For example fabric sprays, shampoos, washing powders and other cleaning products can be quite irritating to dogs with sensitive skin. Even if the products you use are ‘pet safe’ sadly this doesn’t rule them out as an irritant to your dog. If your dog has a skin allergy the most important thing is to prevent ‘flare ups’ which are often caused by using different products on your dog or around the environment in which they live. If your dog walks on carpeted areas or is allowed on furniture then products you use on these areas can also have an impact on your dog. It may be an idea to allow the dog an area in the house where their bed is kept which is free from the use of highly concentrated cleaning products or fabric fresheners.
When your pet has a flare up make note of anything which has changed for example if you have used a new cleaning product this may have been what has caused the outbreak and therefore you can avoid use in the future. Be wary that even products you have used for years without hindrance can suddenly irritate your dog. Speak with your vet who can prescribe specific shampoos for skin allergies. These can be used during flare ups to reduce irritation and clear up any rash which if left can become worse. There are also drops for ears which can help any irritation within the soft sensitive parts of the ears. If the flare up is progressing and not calming down then a trip to the vet is imminent. A vet can prescribe medication which can ease the symptoms and fight the outbreak. Depending on the symptoms your dog is showing will depend on what your vet prescribes. Your dog’s instant reaction to irritation will be to scratch, rub or lick the area. Excessive rubbing and scratching can cause trauma to the skin and make the area very sore. Any area where a flare up is occurring needs to stay dry so your dog should avoid licking. Using the shampoo may calm the itching sensation down but you could try distracting your pet with a walk, toy or a bone.
Keep an eye on your dogs skin is important as small signs of a flare up can occur and if spotted soon enough you can prevent this from escalating too much. If the outbreak isn’t treated it can result in extreme discomfort for your dog and also additional vet fees. If your dog begins shaking their head or scratching excessively this could be a sign of irritation. Check your dog’s skin beneath the fur and look for signs of irritants. If possible bathe your dog in a shampoo recommended or prescribed by your vet. Sometimes this is enough to relieve the dog and prevent an outbreak. If the symptoms persist speak to your vet.
For some dogs a flare up can be caused by nothing other than stressful situations. In certain humans that suffer from allergies of all different kinds this is the same. Avoiding stressful situations isn’t always possible but where you can try to keep your dog in a routine and reassure to ease any stress. If your dog is going to be faced with a stressful situation such as moving house then make sure you monitor how your dog’s skin is reacting. If your dog shows signs of irritation follow the routine you usually would in treating it and try to keep the dog as calm as you can. If you know in advance about a stressful situation this can help you prepare and take appropriate measures necessary to keep your dog happy and avoid skin flare ups.
Since a skin allergy can flare up at anytime for any reason it makes it more difficult to prevent. Keeping your dog clean, avoiding stressful situations, ceasing use of strong cleaners or cleaners that are known to irritate your dog and regular checking of the skin and visiting the vet are the main preventative measures your can take. When a dog gets diagnosed with a skin allergy it can be quite daunting but it really doesn’t have to be that difficult to maintain. The most important thing is to ensure your pet is happy and healthy. Once you are aware of the products or situations that can cause a flare up of your dog’s allergy you can begin to eliminate or reduce these from your pet’s life which will help. Remember if in doubt or the skin allergy is becoming worse, speak to your vet putting this off could mean your dog suffers more in the long run.