Allergies are a common problem for humans and pets. Unfortunately, many of our furry friends, especially dogs, suffer from allergies. While Shih Tzu is not a breed that is typically known to have common allergic reactions, they do have skin problems and potentially skin allergies. If not treated, these skin problems can be incredibly uncomfortable for a Shih Tzu.
What Allergies are Shih Tzu More Prone to Have?
Shih Tzus are most susceptible to skin allergies. This is because they have a long coat that is ideal for trapping a number of allergens. These allergens often cause your pet to bite, itch, or scratch the area where there is discomfort. You may also see there are spots where your pet is losing hair, has a rash or hot spot, or experiences dry, flaky skin.
While these types of allergies can appear anywhere on your dog, you should pay particular attention to their muzzle, eyes, paws, feet, and underside. Some familiar places where you may see irritation include the belly, face, joints, and ears.
Common Allergies in Shih Tzu
There are different allergies that may irritate your Shih Tzu. If you know what types of allergies there are, you are better able to monitor your pet for symptoms. In addition, you want to treat allergies and skin irritations quickly, so they do not turn into infections.
Shih Tzu Skin Allergies
Skin allergies are the most common allergy type you will find with your Shih Tzu. One type of skin allergy your pet may have is flea allergy dermatitis. The coat of a Shih Tzu makes for a comfortable and luxurious home for fleas.
When your dog is sensitive to the saliva of fleas, there will be some type of reaction. There are some Shih Tzu that are not bothered by the bite of a flea. The others, however, have severe itching. As your dog scratches the itch, the skin becomes raw, and hair begins to fall out. Usually, a flea allergy presents itself around the hind legs and base of the tail.
Your Shih Tzu may also have contact allergies. This occurs when your pet comes into contact with something that irritates it. These irritants include dust mites, shampoo, plastic, and cleaning products.
In addition, your Shih Tzu may have a skin reaction to grass and pollen. They can also react to airborne allergens in your home like perfume, mold, and cigarette smoke.
Shih Tzu Food Allergies
Food allergies have been proven to be more common today than in the past. However, there is a difference between food intolerance and food allergies. Food intolerance is most likely to cause intestinal problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and loose stool.
A food allergy may cause a dog to scratch, have a skin infection, or have ear problems. The itchy feeling often occurs around the legs, paws, face, and anal area. Another common symptom is a yeast infection.
These problems go away with antibiotics but will start again as soon as the antibiotics are finished unless the food is removed from the dog's diet. Dogs can be allergic to carbohydrates or protein that is in their food.
There are some common foods that cause allergic problems for dogs, including chicken, pork, beef, turkey, soy, corn, wheat, eggs, and food additives.
If you believe that your dog has a food allergy, the best way to handle it is to find the source of the allergy. First, you have to figure out what food has the allergen. You may have to make homemade food for your dog or feed it a food that is prescribed by your vet. Your vet may recommend trying an alternate protein like insect protein. Jiminy's Cricket Crave is an excellent option for a dog food made from insects.
The dog must eat this food for anywhere from 8 weeks to 12 weeks. When feeding this food to your pet, it cannot eat anything else. You must not feed your pet treats, vitamins, medication, or scraps from the table during this time.
Your pet must eat this food until all symptoms go away. At this point, you slowly introduce food back into your pet's diet to see how it will react. Then you should be able to determine which food your pet is allergic to.
You must never allow your pet to eat that food or a food with that as an ingredient again. The only way to alleviate this allergy is to ensure your dog never eats that food before.
Shih Tzu Ear Allergies
While a Shih Tzu does not have ear allergies per se, but dogs that suffer from allergies tend to have ear problems. Typically, when a Shih Tzu has food or seasonal allergies, they usually have ear infections. Parasites, like ear mites, in the ear may also cause problems.
The environment inside your pet's ears is wet and moist, which is an ideal place for bacteria to grow. Due to the long hair of the Shih Tzu, and if that hair grows into the ears of your dog, it can cause substantial infections.
Shih Tzu Eye Allergies
A Shih Tzu suffers from many eye problems, which may not be an allergy but are still problematic for your dog. These eye conditions are inherited and may cause blindness in your dog if not treated. The eyes of a Shih Tzu have eyeballs that protrude, which make them susceptible to injury.
Common injuries include punctures or scrapes to the cornea. When your pet suffers from an eye injury, it can be painful and become infected. Dry eye, glaucoma, and cataracts also impact the Shih Tzu. Cataracts and glaucoma can lead to blindness if not treated properly.
Dry eye and glaucoma are painful conditions that may cause your pet to squint, have watery eyes, redness, and itchiness.
Symptoms of Allergies in Shih Tzu
Depending on the type of allergy from which your pet suffers, it may exhibit different symptoms. There are, however, some common symptoms your pet will display regardless of the allergy from which it suffers. You will often see intense scratching, loss of hair, and red or irritated skin.
Dogs will also scratch and bite at areas where there is irritation. This constant scratching causes redness and sores. You may see your dog lick its side, chew its feet, and rub its face on hard surfaces. Your dog may also have symptoms such as chronic ear infections.
Occasionally, your pet may suffer from a respiratory infection that causes it to wheeze and cough. You will see hot spots on the area of the body that comes into contact with something that causes an irritant for your dog.
How to Treat Allergies in Shih Tzu
There are many different types of treatments available for your pet's allergy problems. The type of allergy will dictate the type of treatment that you use for your pet.
As mentioned above, if your pet has a food allergy, you must determine which food causes the reaction and symptoms. If your pet has a flea allergy, first, you must get rid of the fleas by using some type of flea medication like shampoo, powder, collars, and sprays.
Once you get rid of the fleas, you should continue the treatment to ensure to prevent future breakouts from a flea allergy. There are also some medications to consider when your pet suffers from an allergy. These include allergy injections for dogs that have an airborne allergy.
Your pet may need an antibiotic for an infection that results from scratching. Steroids and antihistamines may also be prescribed to help your pet with its allergies.