The most common sensitivities seen in dogs are skin, food, and environmental allergies. If you notice your pooch displaying common signs; excessively licking, swollen paws, frequently itching or sneezing, or showing signs of hotspots (defined by skin that is very pink and warmer than usual to the touch) it is likely your pup is suffering from allergies. As with humans, allergies in dogs are extremely common and typically treatable through simple home remedies.
Regularly bathing your pup helps keep day-to-day irritants such as pollen and dust at bay. Decide on a bath schedule that works for you and the breed. Some dogs only need to be washed up every few months while others (like puppies who tend to get messy) may require weekly cleaning. Just be sure you are using a gentle shampoo.
Wash bedding and food bowls frequently
One major source of allergy-inducing irritants is your dog’s bed. Develop a regular laundering schedule in order to keep dust, mites, and other particles away. Beds should be cleaned about every two weeks. You may need to wash them more often if your pooch sheds a lot or has skin sensitivities. It is best to wash beds with an unscented detergent, without fabric softener, on a warm cycle.
Wash food bowls and serving utensils every day either by hand in hot soapy water or by running them through a dishwasher cycle. Leftover food can become a breeding ground for bacteria that could cause an infection if your dog has broken skin from itching.
Try dog mats
If you suspect your dog might be allergic to his bed, you could be right! Oftentimes, the stuffing in dog beds traps dust particles that can exacerbate your pup’s sensitivities. In addition to being easier to clean than dog beds, dog mats are usually made with hypoallergenic material that will help protect your pet from common environmental irritants.
A few signs that could indicate your dog is suffering from food allergies are skin irritations and gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting after eating, diarrhea, or excessive flatulence.
Food allergies can be triggered by a particular protein such as chicken, fish, or beef. Or it can be caused by an additive commonly found in store-bought pet foods. Elimination diets are designed to help identify food allergens by stripping your dog’s diet down to the very basics and gradually introducing new ingredients until the irritant is found. As humans, it is possible for dogs to be allergic to more than one type of food source.
Don’t send your pup packing
If the problem is that you have allergies triggered by your dog, don’t be too quick to give Fluffy the old “it’s not you, it’s me” line and send him packing. There are a few you can try to help manage your allergies while keeping your happy family together. It is possible to coexist with your pooch even if you may be allergic to him. You can prevent irritations through simple measures such as cleaning your home frequently, washing your hands regularly, or installing a special filter designed to remove allergens from your home.
Don’t skimp on your pet’s flea preventatives. Despite popular belief, fleas can live year-round. Ensuring your pup is protected every month of the year will eliminate the possibility that your dog is not suffering from allergies, but instead itching at fleas or suffering from flea dirt.
Avoid household chemicals
Most common household cleaners contain ingredients that can irritate your pet’s skin, eyes, or throat. Opt to cleanse your home with green cleaners that do not contain harsh chemicals.
In the winter, use a pet-friendly ice melt such as Safe Paw or Green Gobbler, which can be found on Amazon, Chewy, or at most large pet stores. This ensures you're not damaging the sensitive skin on your dog's paw pads. Bonus: it's typically safe for kids, too, and is more gentle around your home if it gets tracked inside.
If your dog is on a regular prescription regimen, it may be time to double-check with your vet to make sure it doesn’t need adjustments. Especially if you’ve started noticing allergy signs after recently introducing a new medication. In some extreme cases, your pooch may need special vitamins prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.
Since every dog is different, it is always best to consult with your vet if your dog can’t seem to get any relief from their allergies or their symptoms become worse.