Wednesday 15 August 2007

Dog Allergies

Being man’s best friend, dogs share numerous experiences with him and that entails several of life’s ups and downs, including, you guessed it right – allergies. Dog allergies also exhibit almost the same symptoms as human allergies do. A vital fact to consider is that allergies is a hypersensitivity reaction of the dog’s bodily system against organisms or foreign substances. That substance that provokes the allergic reaction is called an allergen. Getting down to the business of resolving dog’s allergies is to pinpoint the cause and that leads us to the different types of allergies experienced by dogs. Generally, dog allergies are of five types – flea allergies, food allergies, contact allergies, bacteria allergies and atopy.

Flea allergies is the most common cause of dog’s year round itch. It is quite easy to recognize as it is manifested by uncontrollable scratching and biting at the legs, tail or the abdominal area. An interesting fact here is that the allergies is not caused by the flea bites per se, but by the fleas’ saliva. The real allergen in this situation is the saliva that irritates the dog’s skin. This can be solved by application of dog dermatological products and anti –flea measures.

Food allergies is quite rare, and will only be considered after ruling out the other types of allergies that usually share the same symptoms. This is usually caused by certain ingredients found in dog food. It is manifested also in the form of skin irritation and accordingly, gastrointestinal disturbance. Obviously this can be resolved, albeit not easily, through dietary restrictions and correction. This is the type of allergies that cannot be remedied thru medicinal intake.

Just like in humans, there are allergens that affect the skin upon contact, with the effect being on the negative side. Itching and irritation will occur at the points of contact. Most common substances that trigger contact allergies are nylon carpets, wool, insecticides, soaps, grass and even flea collars. This is the least common type of allergies and can easily be solved by removing the harmful contact.

Inhalant allergies, otherwise known as atopy is caused by inhalation of , molds or pollens acting as allergens floating in the air. This is the second most common type next to flea allergies. Occurrence of this allergies type can be seasonal as tree pollens for instance, scatter only during certain periods of time, either during spring or during fall. Symptoms include watery eyes, paw licking and skin itching. Female dogs are easier prey to this allergies than the males and certain breeds like the Boston Terriers, the Shnauzers, Boxers, and the Irish Setters are more disposed.

The Staphylococcus bacteria normally thrives in dogs’ skin. Most dogs do not show any adverse reaction to its presence, however, certain dog types do develop an allergies to it. Much of dog’s hair is lost and the dog’s skin is marked with a ringworm like formation where the infection develops. This is commonly treated with an antibiotic. And here is something that connects dogs closer to its human caretakers. Dogs manifest allergic reactions when they undergo emotional stress. And that is a direct link to the caretaker’s personal life, whether he or she is undergoing an emotional or stressful phase in life. Tales about dogs alleviating men’s burden by taking it upon their own bodies is not far from the truth.