Although they’re generally healthy dogs, your Shiba Inu can develop allergies at any age. In fact, repeat exposures to the offending allergen increases the risk of a reaction, resulting in problems far down the road. The naturally stoic nature of these dogs often makes it difficult to spot the allergy symptoms in their earliest stages, too. Thankfully, by simply learning all you can about Shiba Inu allergies, it’s possible to stay ahead of the game and keep your dogs feeling their best always.
Most Common Types of Shiba Inu Allergies
Since they’re so healthy otherwise, allergies are the most common health condition affecting Shiba Inus. The symptoms may arise due to one or more allergens in their food or general environment. Finding the source of their discomfort is key in helping protect your dog from worsening allergy symptoms.
More often than not, you’ll find the allergens in question by looking in the following areas:
Many commercial dog foods come packed with potential allergens, like: Chicken, Lamb, Beef, Soy, Wheat, Corn, and Dairy.
Rabbit and fish are less likely to cause allergy symptoms, but it’s still possible. The only truly hypoallergenic dog foods contain insect-based proteins and do not have any corn, soy, or wheat.
Shibas typically develop allergies to any or all of these ingredients after eating them for a period of time. When that happens, they may experience gastric distress, itchy skin, and low energy levels. The symptoms will get worse over time if your dog continues to consume the allergens.
Pollen, Dust, and Mold
Environmental allergens, like pollen, dust, and mold, can also cause allergic reactions in Shibas. Skin itching and infections occur most often as a result, especially around the feet, ears, and stomach area.
Since these allergens freely float through the air, completely eliminating your dog’s exposure to them is impossible. You can limit them as much as possible, although medications will likely help control the reactions the most.
Flea allergy dermatitis is exceedingly common in Shiba Inus. Even just a few bites from fleas will trigger the reaction, causing severe itching all over the body.
Shibas will bite, lick, and scratch at their skin as a result, which typically results in hair loss and infections. Complete elimination of the fleas and their eggs is the only way to help dogs stop itching and regrow their fur.
More often than not, allergies in Shiba Inus results in itchy, irritated skin. So, it’s often necessary to have a vet perform diagnostic tests to identify the offending allergen. For food allergies, they may suggest elimination trials instead, allowing you to gauge your dog’s symptom improvement over time.
Leading Ways to Treat Shiba Inu Allergies
Shiba Inu allergy treatments vary depending on which allergens are causing all the problems, such as:
Proper Seasonal Allergy Management
Seasonal allergies are trickier to manage due to the sheer prevalence of pollen, dust, and even mold spores in the air. Oftentimes, the only real way to keep symptoms to a minimum is through the use of an antihistamine medication. Available by prescription and over the counter, these medications halt the immune response to the allergen, relieving your dog’s symptoms right away.
Elimination of the Risk of Flea Bites
The only way to treat flea bite allergies is by getting rid of the fleas altogether. You’ll need to treat all your pets plus your home and yard to fully eradicate the pests at every life stage. Then, repeat the treatment on an ongoing basis to keep them from coming back. Plan to check your Shiba Inu and other pets for fleas every couple of weeks as well to make sure that they’re free of pests.
Depending on the severity of your Shiba Inu’s allergies, they may also benefit from help with symptom control. To relieve their itchiness, you may need to wash them weekly with a prescription shampoo plus wipe down their coat after going outside. Medicated ear and eye washes can relieve your dog’s discomfort while helping protect from infection.
As you help your dog manage their allergies, they’re sure to return to their former healthy self once again. After that, you just have to watch closely for the reappearance of allergy symptoms, and then jump into action at the first sign of a problem.
Elimination Diets for Shiba Inu Food Allergies
An elimination diet takes your dog’s food down to the basics, ensuring they only get hypoallergenic ingredients. You’ll want to select a food without any poultry, corn, wheat, soy, or other common allergens, like Jiminy’s Cricket Crave or Good Grub.
Then, feed them that food as directed for about 8 to 12 weeks. If their symptoms resolve, you can either reintroduce the potentially problematic ingredients one by one. Or simply keep your dog on a food you can trust to not make them sick.