Fighting Allergies in Your Agility Dog
If your neck of the woods is still under a snow cap then you will still have time to prepare for the most irritating time of the year. Well, at least for those with airborne allergies. For many others the ragweed is blooming and the wind is blowing bringing all that pollen to our attention. And while you may only think of yourself when the nose starts itching, there are plenty of dogs out there that suffer from all kinds of allergies as well.
If you notice symptoms similar to your such as itchy, runny eyes; itchy ears, sneezing and snoring your dog just might have environmental allergies. They can also exhibit itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin; itchy back or base of tail, vomiting, diarrhea, constant licking and paw chewing. And with all that itching and chewing they are prone to secondary bacterial or yeast infections of the skin.
You can only imagine how much fun it would be to run an agility course with several of those issues going on! But what can be the trigger to those reactions? Here is a list and remember each year could be a different trigger depending on the pollen counts. Pollens from grass, weeds and trees; dust, dander and feathers; fleas of course; perfumes on you or in cleaning products; even some rubber and plastic materials. We had a dog that would rest his chin on the food bowl. He started losing the hair on his chin. He was allergic to the plastic bowl.
So what do you do if your dog has environmental allergies? You can get tests done to find the cause and then remove it if possible, but lets face it sometimes that isn’t an option unless your neighbor wants to cut down their beautiful Pepper Trees. Yeah, like that is going to happen. If that is the case your vet may recommend medications to control the allergic reaction.
For airborne allergens your dog may respond beautifully to allergy injections that help your pet develop resistance to the offending agent, instead of just masking the itch. Sometimes you can use antihistamines like Benadryl but the results are pretty sketchy with dogs. Some have found that adding fatty acids help relieve itchy skin. Or you can try shampoos that help prevent skin infection or sprays containing oatmeal, aloe and other natural products. An immune modulating drug may also be helpful. But if the situation is severe you may have to resort to cortisone shots to control the allergy. This is a last resort as they are strong drugs and need to be administered under veterinarian care.
If you have a dog with allergies and have found something that works for them, we would love to hear it. Just scroll down to the comments area and leave a reply.