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A small but significant number of dogs in the UK suffer from allergies of one sort or another, which can be quite debilitating for some but barely even a problem for others. The symptoms that any dog presents with as a result of allergies can be highly variable too, depending on the allergy that they are suffering from and how badly it affects them-digestive problems, issues with the skin and coat, or hayfever-like symptoms that affect the eyes, nose and respiratory tract are all common.
However, not all allergy symptoms in dogs will be self-evident, physical or clearly relating to the allergy in question in the same way that hayfever-like symptoms accompany pollen allergies-often, allergy symptoms will be much more generalised and can include behavioural and temperament changes as well as physical manifestations of the problem.
The first step in successfully treating or managing an allergy in your dog is of course diagnosing the allergy itself and what is triggering it-and this is not always simple. However, before you can even get that far, you have to know that something is amiss in the first place-and if your dog is not displaying obvious physical symptoms, this can be a challenge.
This is why it is useful for dog owners to get to know some of the less obvious symptoms that allergies in dogs can produce, in order to develop a complete picture of what is going on and so, begin to tackle it.
In this article we will look at some of the less obvious symptoms of allergies that dogs may display, and how to interpret them. Read on to learn more.
If your dog develops or displays any type of behavioural change, particularly a negative one like snapping or aggression, the first thing to consider is whether or not they may be an underlying medical cause for the problem.
A dog is highly likely to become short tempered and generally grumpy if they are in continual discomfort and suffering from an allergy that is causing them to feel less than well, as you might expect-so never ignore such symptoms, nor assume that they are simply due to a behavioural issue.
Whether your dog’s allergy is related to food or not, feeling generally unwell or uncomfortable can soon put your dog off their food, and this is even more likely to be the case if your dog knows that they are likely to feel unwell shortly after eating.
If your dog has lost their enthusiasm about food, refuses to eat or will not eat enough food to sustain them, an allergy may be the root of the problem.
Allergies of all types can potentially lead to skin irritation, in the form of itchiness, hot spots, sores or general discomfort that may be either localised or affect the whole body. This is likely to lead to your dog going to great lengths to ease the irritation, which may mean that they are continually rubbing against your furniture, the walls or anything else that helps to scratch the itch, and may include rolling around on the floor more often than is normal too.
If your dog’s skin and coat are dirty and they are simply overdue for a bath, the same type of symptoms may be present-bathing your dog in the first instance is a good idea to see if this improves things, and to allow you to get a closer look at your dog’s skin and potentially, spot a problem in the making.
Another manifestation of sore or itchy skin is excessive scratching or chewing at the skin, which will exacerbate the problem and may lead to sores and patches of shed hair. If your dog seems to be forever bothering their skin and coat or chewing at their feet, they may be suffering from an allergy, or another issue such as a fungal infection that will require treatment to resolve the issue.
When you’re not feeling 100%, the last thing you will want to do is get involved in something energetic, and a dog that is suffering from an allergy that is making them feel a bit off colour will tend to have lower energy levels than normal.
If your dog is generally lethargic, reluctant to go out walking or otherwise doesn’t seem keen on doing much, consider the possibility of an allergy when you talk to your vet.
On the other side of the coin, allergies can cause your dog a lot of discomfort, which can make it hard for them to settle down and relax due to the irritation. This can lead to restlessness in your dog as they try to get comfortable and settle down, which can in turn lead to other problems such as general grumpiness or a short temper too.
All dogs will seek out cool surfaces such as a shaded tiled floor when the weather is hot, but a dog that is prone to allergies is more likely than most to try to seek out the coolest spots they can find, regardless of the weather outside. Skin irritations and inflammation feel better when cool, so if your dog is determined to lie down on cool floors or other areas even when the weather is not hot, they might be suffering from an allergy.
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