Just as humans get allergies to anything from food to dust so can dogs and they are more common then people think. Some breeds, such as the Cairn terrier are vulnerable to developing dog allergies, but any dog of any breed size can have an allergy and it can emerge at any age.
Being of the terrier breed Cairns are dogs that enjoy being into everything and an allergy can be hard to manage in this curious dog.
Dog allergy symptoms include:
• Coughing, sneezing wheezing
• Vomiting, diarrhea
• Lumps, bumps, rashes
• Scratching ears
• Ear infections
• Excessive foot licking and chewing
• Red, swollen paws
• Rubbing head against furniture, bedding etc.
• Runny nose
• Red, watery eyes
There are four different types of allergy:
• Atopy (airborne)
A dog can develop an allergy to anything at any point in their life.
Atopy is one of the most common allergies of all and these include being allergic to pollen, dust, mildew, house mites and moulds.
Contact allergies are allergic reactions to something that the dog has come into physical contact with such as bedding, rubber, plastic, carpet and household and garden chemicals.
A flea allergy is different to the discomfort that a dog experiences when being bitten by fleas. An allergic dog will have a sever reaction to a single flea and will go mad biting and scratching its body.
Dog food allergies are very common and can involve a dog being allergic to one or several ingredients and are normally accompanied with vomiting and diarrhea.
It can be very hard to diagnose dog allergies especially as the symptoms they display can be very different to the ones that humans display.
For example, an airborne allergy may not cause watery eyes and sneezing in a dog. Instead it may cause swollen, red and itchy feet. Sometimes these symptoms are spotted, but not always recognised for an allergy.
Sometimes the symptoms are quite straightforward. Such as a dog coughing signifies something in the air irritating its airway.
Untreated dog allergies can cause distress, worry and pain as a dog scratching itchy skin can cause hair loss, sores and cuts. Talking to a vet is strongly advised as if the dog is not allergic, and something else is causing the problems, then that needs to be dealt with. If it is an allergy, the vet may be able to help with diagnosis and will advise any tests that may be available.
If a Cairn terrier has been diagnosed with an allergy then there is no cure, only preventive measures to limit exposure.
For a contact allergy the dog will only react adversely if it comes into physical contact with the allergen. Excluding everything that triggers the contact allergy from the dog’s space will stop the symptoms, but it will require vigilance and perseverance to prevent a flair up.
Hypoallergenic dog food for allergies can be fed to your pet when food allergies are suspected. The food can be fed long or short term whilst the dog’s normal food is reintroduced one thing at a time to isolate the food causing the problem. This means absolutely no other food for the dog, as an allergy will flair up even if there is only one tiny exposure to the allergen.
Atopy dog allergies are the hardest to treat, as they are normally seasonal. A pollen allergy will be at its worst in the summer and a dust mite allergy in the winter; because of this the owner may not make the connection and think it is a phase that will pass. Talking to the vet about seasonal allergies, even if one is not suspected, is good information gathering for the future in case one develops.
For atopy a vet may prescribe antihistamines.
Flea allergies are managed by having frequent flea treatment. This should include chemical treatments and can include home remedies as well to minimise an attack. Keeping a Cairn terrier well groomed with regular brushing will help as well, but be careful in case the skin is red or inflamed.
No dog allergies are curable but they are treatable with the right information and vet support.
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