#Allergies and #Allergy #Medications for #Dogs

Ditch the itch: Allergies and allergy medications for dogs

Allergies and allergy medication for dogs
Photo by Thomas Hawk

It’s time to ditch the itch! Allergy season is in full swing and many dogs are suffering. Pet’s allergy symptoms can present in many different ways. Most commonly dogs will become very itchy and scratch, chew and lick at different areas of their body- usually their paws- until they become red and raw. Allergies can also cause chronic ear and eye infections, rashes, hotspots and sometimes even vomiting and diarrhea. They can be hard to manage and treatment is the only way to provide your dog with some relief.

The first step to treating your pet’s allergies is to determine what’s causing them. Visit your veterinarian to discuss the best course of action. Your vet may recommend a diet change. The easiest and most cost effective place to start is to rule out a food allergy. Sometimes this can be easy; if your dog only reacts during the spring and summer months, then it is likely a seasonal or environmental allergy. But if your dog reacts all year around, then you may want to do a food trial. This can be done by changing to a new food that has a different meat protein than the previous food; an elimination diet. You need to eliminate all the proteins that were present in the previous food. Be careful in selecting a new food, as most foods will use several meat proteins. Keep your dog on only the new food- no human food and no treats- for a full 8 weeks and if the symptoms disappear then you are likely dealing with a food allergy. Veterinary specific hypoallergenic dog foods are a great option, and don’t forget to switch to the new food gradually by mixing it with the old food, to avoid upset stomach.

If a food trial does not eliminate the adverse reactions, then you should see your veterinarian for a follow up appointment, because you are probably dealing with a seasonal or environmental allergy, and medication is likely the best option. Your vet may prescribe a steroidal allergy medication. They are quite common and must be used under the strict direction of your vet. Many of these medications will be prescribed to start at a higher dose and slowly taper down until you find the lowest effective dose. Steroids must never be stopped abruptly. With a steroidal allergy medication, you will likely see some side effects. Most commonly pet owners notice increased drinking, urination and weight gain. These are things to watch for when using a steroidal allergy medication, but if it stops the itch many pet owners will agree that it’s worth it.
Photo by Jen Selba

Recently non-steroidal allergy medication has come on the market and many veterinarians and dog owners are seeing positive results. It is an option that has less side effects. In some cases, this medication is more expensive, but it is fairly new and may be worth a try. Before switching to a different allergy medication it is important that you book a consult with your vet. Not all dogs will be the right candidates to try a new medication, and severe allergy patients may need to stick with the steroid options.

Dogs who suffer from hotspots as a chronic symptom of their allergies may also benefit from topical or spray medication as an added bonus to their treatment plan. Sprays can help heal the effected area faster. If hotspots are left untreated they can become infected. Hypoallergenic soaps and shampoos may also be recommended to dogs who need to be groomed often, but suffer from allergies. The most effective products like this can be found at your vet clinic. Avoid home remedies as they usually don’t have any scientific proof that they actually work and can be harmful, or a waste of money.

There may be times when your vet will recommend a human allergy medication. This is rare and usually only used for dogs that have severe reactions, or to add to a veterinary medication the pet is already taking. Never dose your dog yourself, and only use a human medication under the advice of your vet.

An itchy pet is an uncomfortable pet, and it can be a painful experience for the entire family. But it doesn’t have to be that way, so talk to your vet and design a treatment plan that is best for your dog and lifestyle.

Previously published on epetsure.com.com

0 Comentarios