Whether your dog’s allergic to food or environmental triggers, their allergies can cause skin flare-ups at any given time. When that happens, your dog may feel itchy, uncomfortable, and even in pain from the ongoing skin irritation. Thankfully, you can step in to help by providing the proper level of skin care for dogs with allergies. Ready to lend a hand? Here are four ways to keep your dog’s skin allergy symptoms from impacting their everyday lives.
Aim to Reduce Allergen Exposure
Reducing your dog’s exposure to the allergens triggering their reactions is key to keeping skin irritation to a minimum. If your vet thinks the problem links back to environmental triggers, consider working with them to find the cause.
Your vet may first complete a skin scrape test to rule out mites, fungal infections, and other potential causes of non-allergic skin diseases. If those come out negative, then you may want to move forward with RAST or intradermal skin testing to determine which allergens cause your dog so much discomfort.
If food allergies are causing all the trouble, you may need to put your dog on an elimination diet. To do that, switch to a non-allergenic food, like insect-based kibble or wet food, for about six weeks. Then, gradually add back foods one by one to see which ingredients cause a reaction.
Once you know what your dog is allergic to, you can do your best to reduce their exposure to the allergens. You’ll notice a marked decrease in their symptoms as you do that, plus reduce the risk of acute allergic reactions.
Give Your Dog Daily Supplements
Dogs with skin allergies often greatly benefit from taking supplements on a daily basis. The extra boost of vitamins and nutrients helps calm and soothe the skin while reducing the severity of reactions.
For the best results, look for canine supplements that contain:
- Fish oil
- Coconut oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Astragalus root
In addition, look for smart ways to boost your dog’s daily intake of both probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are the live bacteria needed to optimize gut health, and prebiotics are all the compounds in food that help them grow and thrive. The improvements to your dog’s gut microbiome will reduce the impact of allergies on their system while boosting their overall health and well-being.
Stick to a Regular Bath Schedule
Regular baths help remove environmental allergens from the coat while soothing the skin. You don’t want to overdo it, though, since bathing too often can cause their skin to feel dry and itchy.
For most dogs, you can aim for a bi-weekly bath schedule. Take notes on how your dog’s skin looks and feels after each bath to confirm that you’re making a positive impact. If your dog’s skin seems dry, do a bath once every three weeks instead.
To ensure the baths feel as soothing as possible, use a shampoo with chamomile, aloe vera, or oatmeal. Also, check to make sure that the bath products do not have any strong perfumes or other harsh ingredients.
If your dog doesn’t respond well to over-the-counter shampoo, ask your vet for a prescription for medicated cleansers.
Keep All Bedding Squeaky Clean
Dust mites, pollen, and other environmental allergens can hide in bedding, causing your dog’s skin allergies to flare up on contact. To avoid that, wash your dog’s bedding on a weekly basis, if not more often.
If that’s not enough, consider vacuuming their bedding daily. You may need to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to fully remove the allergens from your living space. Upon starting this routine, you will likely see an improvement in their skin allergy symptoms immediately.
Remember the Signs of Acute Reactions
Allergies in dogs have the potential to cause an acute reaction at any given time. So, it’s important to know the signs, such as:
- Severe hives
- Difficulty breathing
- Blueish gums and tongue
- Swollen face or muzzle
- Excessive drooling
Also, create a plan on where and how you will get your dog immediate care. Keep a list of emergency veterinarians near your location, along with their phone numbers, so you can call to let them know you’re on your way and why.
You can make a big difference in how your dog feels day after day by helping control their skin allergy symptoms. Just use the tips above to get their symptoms under control and then stick to the plan for continued relief for years to come.
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