If your fur baby is experiencing itchy skin, biting/chewing/licking paws, hair loss, chronic ear problems, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, wheezing, and sneezing . . . then you're probably dealing with allergies.
Pet allergies can't be solved with just one office visit to your vet. It's typically a long and frustrating and expensive road. But If you have information ahead of time it will help you mentally prepare for your new lifestyle changes, save you money and most importantly help your beloved pet feel better.
Pets can have food, environmental, seasonal allergies or all of the above. Often environmental and food allergy symptoms overlap so it will take some investigating.
Let's start with food allergies.
The most common allergens are actually not grains but proteins! Hopefully you know and have done the research on a healthy diet for your pet already.
Food allergies can develop immediately or after eating that particular food for some time. Beef and chicken are the most common proteins used in pet food and the top allergen causing foods. Once we find a food our pets like we typically don't change it, and often and because we don't rotate protein sources our pets can develop allergies to these tried-and-true foods. Wheat, egg, soy, lamb and dairy are at the top of the list as well. *Dairy can be tricky because the pet can either be allergic by showing skin issues or have a dairy intolerance which shows up as gastrological symptoms.
So touching on the top food culprits, what will happen next? You will have to do an Elimination Diet. This will consist of either eliminating each food one by one, or reintroducing a hypoallergenic diet for two to three months and then reintroducing food categories one by one. This lifestyle change isn't always easy but it's better than seeing your fur baby suffer. Set up a plan with your vet.
What if it's an environmental or seasonal allergy? The way to decipher this is usually done with an intradermal skin test. The common treatments given for these types of allergies are antihistamines, steroids, antibiotics, flea control, and environmental control (such as avoid areas such as grass or whatever surface that irritates your pooch, or do thorough wipe downs after they have been exposed to these areas.)
Be mindful that over bathing your dog can compromise the skin's health and strip the natural moisture barrier. Most quick “wipe down” products are harmful for the skin and not safe to lick. We suggest Pet Potion- all natural spray bath as your quick, safe, and itch soothing solution. If you are going to take time to pay attention to what you are putting IN your pet's body don't forget to pay attention to what you're putting ON them.