Border collies are energetic dogs that rarely let anything get them down. So, it’s often quite surprising to see a collie put off their game by itchiness, sore ears, or an upset stomach.
Unfortunately, allergies are one of the few things that can really get under collies’ skin and leave them rather distracted from what’s ahead. So, as soon as you notice allergy symptoms, it’s important to get your dog the help they need to feel better fast.
To help you on that mission, here’s what you need to know about allergies in border collies.
Most Common Border Collie Allergies
Border collies can develop allergies to anything in their environment, such as:
- Dust mites
- Bee stings
- Insect bites
- Fur care products
Food allergies are common in this breed as well. Despite perceptions, it’s not usually the grains that are to blame, either. Instead, proteins, like chicken, beef, and lamb, cause the immune system to overreact, resulting in mild to severe allergy symptoms.
Signs Your Border Collie Has Allergies
When an allergic reaction occurs, your border collie may:
- Develop dry, irritated skin
- Pause what they’re doing to itch and scratch
- Chew on their paws
- Have watery eyes
- Get ear infections
A runny nose can occur as well, especially when dealing with allergies to grass, pollen, and dust mites.
As for food allergies, they usually leave your dog feeling sick to their stomach. They may even have diarrhea or start vomiting as a result. When that occurs, you may notice your dog trying to eat a lot of grass to settle their tummy. If left untreated, the allergies may even put them off their own food, resulting in malnutrition and weight loss.
Severe allergic reactions may cause your dog to swell up and have difficulty breathing. If that happens, you must immediately rush them to an emergency vet for care. They may need medication to stop the reaction in its tracks and additional support to make a full recovery.
How to Help Your Collie Feel Better
Before you can help your border collie feel better, you need to know what’s causing the allergen. There are two main ways to do that: allergy testing and an elimination diet. The testing process is primarily used for environmental allergens, while an elimination diet helps determine what's causing the food allergies.
A vet will need to perform the allergy tests on your pet. They may want to do a blood test called a radioallergosorbent test, or RAST test, to identify the allergen. Or they may prefer to do a full allergy panel, which involves shaving a small area of fur, exposing the skin to allergens, and gauging the resulting reaction.
As for the elimination diet, you can either do that on your own or with guidance from your veterinarian. To start this process, you’ll need to put your pet on a hypoallergenic diet, like a well-balanced insect-based kibble or wet food.
You will keep them on that food for at least six weeks to see if the allergy symptoms go away. If they do, you’ll reintroduce certain food items one by one to see which ones cause a reaction. All along the way, you must keep great notes on how your dog feels to accurately identify the problem foods.
Border Collie Allergy Treatments
Ideally, you’ll want to eliminate the allergen from your dog’s life. But if that’s not possible, you can still help them get relief with either natural allergy remedies or prescription allergy medications. The cause and severity of your dog’s allergies will determine which method will work best.
Speak with your vet to find the right solutions for your pet’s needs, and then move forward with a trial run of whatever treatment you select. If your dog starts feeling better, you’re on the right track. If not, you can definitely try something else after a few weeks or so.
Your border collie looks to you for all they need, including help relieving their allergy symptoms. So, be ready to act fast when itchiness, stomach upset, or other symptoms start up. Your dog will undoubtedly appreciate your ability to tune into how they’re feeling and help them feel better fast. And you’ll get to go back to watching your collie’s zany antics once again without allergy symptoms getting in the way of all the fun and excitement.
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