Dog allergies are responsible for much of the chewing and itching of dogs everywhere. Just like people, dogs can be allergic to food ingredients, grass pollen, weeds and trees or mold and dust mites in their environment.
Although there are many shampoos and sprays advertised to stop itchy dog skin, these commercial products have limited efficacy. They may provide short-term relief but if the source of the allergen is still present, the itching will quickly return.
Where your dog scratches and chews can help your vet determine the source of the dog’s allergic reaction. Atopic dermatitis is an environmental allergy which is quite similar to human allergies. Dust mites, grass and tree pollen and other airborne particles are the cause of atopic dermatitis that affects nearly 10% of dogs.
The symptoms of atopic dermatitis are licking and chewing the legs, legs that appear red and tender, hair loss and itching so persistent that it interferes with the dog’s sleep. An effective drug is Atopic which can be safely used in the long term. Atopica does not contain steroids or causes drowsiness in the dog.
If your dog appears to scratch his back and chew the inside of his hind legs, he may suffer from flea allergy dermatitis. The allergy is not to the flea itself but to the release of saliva by the fleas when they bite the dog. For dogs with flea allergy dermatitis it is not enough to kill adult fleas on the dog, but it is necessary to prevent new fleas from hatching and biting.
Triamcinolone is often prescribed by veterinarians to treat inflammation and allergic disorders.
This is a corticosteroid and must be administered exactly as prescribed. When administering corticosteroids it is essential not to stop treatment without a gradual reduction in dosage. Triamcinolone is the generic name of the drug and can be prescribed as one of several brands such as Cortalone, Vetalog or TriAcet.
If your dog has food allergies, the result will most often be itching in the anal area. It is estimated that one third of dogs with food allergy symptoms are less than one year old. However, food allergic dermatitis can appear at any age and can also become a problem in a dog that has consumed the same brand of dog food for months or years.
When dogs suffer from food allergy, itching in the anal region can be accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea, a rash and flatulence. The vet can test the dog to eliminate the environmental causes of the allergy and determine if secondary allergic reactions are also a problem.
Dexamethasone is a synthetic corticosteroid which can have beneficial effects but can also cause negative side effects. Dexamethasone is commonly used in veterinary medicine and is administered by injection, inhalation or topically. If used as a topical treatment, the solution may also include a miticide, antifungal or antibacterial to treat skin problems.
Corticosteroids can be life-saving drugs for your dog and used with caution they relieve the symptoms of allergic reactions. Veterinarians often prescribe this treatment as a pill on alternate days. Corticosteroids depress the immune system and are not recommended for long-term use. For canine allergies to tree and herb pollen, drugs like dexamethasone used in the short term provide quick and long lasting relief.
For dogs requiring long-term treatment for allergies in the air, Temaril-P can be prescribed by the veterinarian. This anti-inflammatory drug contains a low dose of prednisone and can be taken for longer periods with less risk of side effects than full-dose corticosteroid drugs. Temeril-P reduces the need for dog scratching which prevents the development of painful or bare areas. It is also often used to treat kennel cough or asthma-like symptoms caused by dog allergies.
You may not be able to eliminate allergens from your dog’s environment, but there is a wide range of medications designed to alleviate or eliminate the symptoms of dog allergies.