Allergy to environmental substances – such as tree pollen, weeds, grasses, molds and mites – flea and foods are the most frequent types of allergies in dogs. Allergy is a chronic disease, which has a hereditary component. There is a consensus that allergy treatment must be given for at least 5 years, although some experts recommend continuous hands-on treatment for life.
Dog allergy symptoms
The most obvious sign of an atopic condition is itching. This is caused by inflammatory skin typically on the paws, head, armpit or groin. Dogs often lick or bite their feet and can be seen rubbing along the floor or other objects. This often results in hair loss, ear infections and secondary infections. The skin inflammation can be exacerbated by bacterial (Staphylococcus) or yeast (Malassezia) infections, which also require treatment. Occasionally, allergic dogs will develop watery eyes, sneezing or asthma. Sometimes digestive symptoms appear. The symptoms in an atopic dog usually manifest themselves before 3 years of age.
Predisposed dog breeds
Any dog can develop atopy but certain breeds are at a higher risk. Such breeds include the French bulldog, Golden Retriever, Labrador, Lhasa Apso, Boxer, Golden, West Highland White Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Jack Russell, Fox Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, Poodle, English Setter, Irish Setter and Chihuahua.