Pet First Aid Instructor Level 3 (VTQ) - Online Blended Part 1

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Allergies in Dogs

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Understanding Allergies in Animals


Just like humans, animals can suffer from allergies. However, identifying the cause of allergic reactions in animals can be challenging since they can't communicate their symptoms. This guide explores allergies in animals, distinct from life-threatening anaphylactic shock, and offers insights into their causes, signs, and treatment.

Recognizing Allergies vs. Anaphylactic Shock

  • Important Distinction: Allergies should not be confused with anaphylactic shock, which results from a severe reaction that affects breathing and can be fatal.
  • Immediate Veterinary Attention: If an animal experiences a severe allergic reaction, it's crucial to get them to a vet as soon as possible.

Understanding Animal Allergies

Causes of Allergies

Animals can develop allergies to various substances, including:

  • Fleas or dust mites
  • Cleaning chemicals
  • Fabrics
  • Pollen
  • Air fresheners
  • Lactose
  • Wheat
  • Smoke
  • And more

Signs of Allergies

Allergic reactions in animals can manifest in several ways, such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Throat problems
  • Swollen paws
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive scratching
  • Runny nose or eyes
  • Scabs, sores, or itchy skin

Treatment and Management

Consult Your Vet

The appropriate treatment for animal allergies depends on the specific allergen, and your vet can provide guidance. If a particular food triggers the allergy, consider changing their diet, as various specialised diets are available for different conditions and life stages.

Food Intolerances: For example, if gluten-containing foods cause diarrhoea, switch to gluten-free alternatives. Don't forget to check treats for hidden allergens as well.

Chemical Allergies: If chemicals are the culprits, remove the offending substance or opt for alternatives with different ingredients. Natural brands may be a safer choice. Ensure your pets are not exposed to substances that trigger reactions.

Pollen Allergies: While it's challenging to restrict pollen exposure, consult your vet for medications to alleviate symptoms during peak pollen times.

Flea Allergies: Flea allergies can cause severe discomfort and skin issues. Keep your pets' flea treatments up to date, groom them regularly with a flea comb, and use medicated or herbal shampoos. In severe cases, consult your vet for possible oral medications.

Diet Clinics: Many vets offer diet clinics to provide guidance on allergies, feeding, and weight management for pets.