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Allergies can be seasonal or occur all year round. Skin itching (atopy) can indicate contact allergies. Problems with ears, feet and anal glands can indicate food allergies. Recurring ear yeast problems typically are due to allergies, and if they still occur in the winter, tend to point towards indoor causes or food allergies or both. Testing to find out what your dog is allergic to is a great step. Our clinic staff can draw blood and send off to an allergy lab for allergy testing. Ask us about the details. When you know what causes the allergies, management seems to become easier. It is very common for dogs to be allergic to 7-8 things. It is common for dogs to be allergic to plants outside and mold spores and a couple of food ingredients.
What can you do personally to control your dog's discomfort?
Antihistamines work better as a preventative than an after the fact treatment
Fish oil helps to get the right kinds of fatty acids in the skin, especially if the skin is dry. Coconut oil also seems to help as well. 1 tbs/60lb. Don’t give if sensitive to fat.
Baths help pull pollen and mold spores out of the skin. Concerns are about drying, so an oatmeal based shampoo is thought to be gentler. Dogs can bathe 1-2 times a week. Bathing does seem to help reduce itching and redness.
Sometimes dogs pick up sarcoptic mange from stray coyotes, foxes, etc. We need to consider sarcoptic mange on a very itchy dog, especially when steroids do not help. The veterinarian may chose to treat for sarcoptic mites at your first allergy visit, or may decide to treat if first treatments do not work well. These mites can be very hard to find.
Food allergies can be present all year around, but make seasonal allergies worse. The most common ingredients include beef, wheat, and soybean meal. 1-5 out of 100 dogs may be allergic to corn. It is best to perform a food test or trial to know. Over the counter foods may not work to alleviate signs.
The veterinarian can prescribe or give steroids. These are best given at the particular time of the year when seasonal allergies are most problematic. There can be side effects, and for some dogs (diabetes, bladder stones) you want to not have your dog on steroids.
Spectracide granules work well to reduce fleas in the yard. Granules work better than sprays, get down to the dirt and last longer. After your pet has gone outside for the evening, broadcast the granules, wet the yard, and it will be safe in the morning.
APOQUEL is the newest treatment – it is an oral medication that works at the brain center that controls / stops itching. We haven’t had the ability to get it into the clinic just yet.