10 Signs That Your Dog Has Allergies in Boston, MA

What Are Dog Allergies?

Some common complaints veterinarians get from dog owners are things like chronic paw chewing, ear shaking and scratching, and raw, red skin.  Just like humans, dogs in Boston, MA can suffer from allergies, and allergies in dogs can be placed into one or a combination of three categories: Food, skin and the environment.

signs of dog allergies in Boston, ma

An allergy is a condition of hypersensitivity of the immune system to an allergen, a type of antigen.  Allergens are actually proteins produced by plants, grasses, insects, chemicals, foods, or other animals, and these allergens can cause the immune system can go hay-wire, especially with repeated exposure.

Allergens tend to produce a vigorous immune response, releasing histamines which in turn cause inflammation, itching and red skin.  It’s the inflammation that causes the many of the signs and symptoms of allergies.

Do you suspect that your dog has allergies in Boston, MA?  Below are 10 common signs and symptoms of dog allergies, but it is always recommended that you consult your veterinarian first.

1. Itchy Skin

One of the most common complaints Boston, MA dog owners have when it comes to allergies is itching.  If your dog is constantly scratching, or biting, or chewing at themselves, they’re most likely trying to relieve the itchiness and inflammation.

Constant scratching can cause redness of the skin, hair loss, bleeding and the possibility of a secondary skin infection such as “hot spots.”  Although most dogs with itchy skin suffer from food allergies, the best solution is to make an appointment with your veterinarian and have your pet examined.

2. Constant Licking and Facial Rubbing

Another sign that your dog may have allergies in Boston, MA is excessive licking, especially in areas of the paws, legs and rectum.  Most often, dogs will lick the their paws and pads in an effort to relieve itching and inflammation.

Facial rubbing and scratching can also be signs of allergies and skin irritation as well.  Of course, it’s always recommended to have your veterinarian examine your pet to rule out the possibility of something embedded in the skin.

3. Hives

Hives are noticeable raised bumps on the skin, and although hives are usually rare in dogs, they can be caused by an acute allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting, certain medications, shampoos, chemicals or plants. Rashes in dogs can also be exacerbated by exposure to exercise, stress, sunlight or heat.

4. Swelling of the Ears, Eyelids or Face

If your dog in Boston has a sudden swelling around the face, lips, ears or eyelids, it might be an allergic reaction to an insect bite, sting, certain foods, medications, plants, or other environmental allergens.

It’s always recommended that you consult with your veterinarian right-away, especially if there is swelling around the face and neck, since swelling in these areas may restrict the airway and cause difficulty breathing.

5. Vomiting and Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea may be signs of allergies as well, and most often than not, may indicate a food allergy.  Symptoms of food allergies in dogs involve gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhea.  If vomiting and diarrhea persists, it’s always recommended that you consult your veterinarian as continued vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances in your pet.

6. Scratching at Ears, Shaking Ears and Ear Infections

Scratching at the ears and ear infections are a common issue in dogs, especially in floppy ear breeds such as Cocker Spaniels and hound dogs. Oftentimes, ear infections are related to allergies, especially with dogs that have recurring ear infections.

Constant head shaking, and red and inflamed ears are the main symptoms, and chronic shaking can cause something called an aural hematoma, which occurs when the blood vessels in the floppy part of the ear burst, and bleed into the space between the skin and the cartilage of the ear, causing the ear to look “puffy.”  Ear infections can be very uncomfortable and even painful for many dogs, so it is important to schedule an examination with your veterinarian in these cases.

7. Red Skin

Red skin and skin infections are common side effects of allergies in dogs, and are usually related to chronic scratching. Your dog can develop a secondary skin infection, or a staph infection known as “hot spots” due to repeated scratching.  Again, a trip to your local veterinarian is recommended if the scratching persists.

8. Your Dog Keeps Sneezing

Sometimes allergies can cause sneezing in dogs and other respiratory issues, although it’s more common in cats than in dogs.  If your dog has been sneezing chronically, or exhibits nasal discharge, or nasal discharge that is either green or yellow in color, it is recommended to make an appointment with your veterinarian in order to rule out serious respiratory issues.

9. Ocular Discharge

If your dog presents with any kind of discharge from the eye, it’s very important to book an appointment with your veterinarian in Boston.  If your pet has yellow or green discharge from one or both eyes, it can be a sign of conjunctivitis, which can be caused by allergies.

However, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in order to rule out other causes such as eye injury, a foreign body or tear duct problems.

10. Hair Loss

Another symptom of possible allergies in dogs is hair loss, or alopecia.  It is normal for dogs to shed some fur, especially at certain times of the year, but it’s not normal for your pet to lose large amounts of hair to the point where your dog has bald, patchy spots.  Hair loss due to allergies may be due to constant licking, scratching, and you may notice brown saliva stains from constant licking of the feet.

Sometimes hair loss can be triggered by certain foods, or environmental allergens such as pollen or mold, as well as other factors such as parasites, fleas or dust mites.  Hair loss due to allergies can also be triggered by parasites, such as mange, so it’s always best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Keep an Eye Out for These Signs of Dog Allergies in Boston, MA

Allergies in dogs can be treated topically with creams or shampoos, and others can be treated with medications and/or immunotherapy.  Your veterinarian can determine the exact cause of the allergy, and help to treat the cause.  If you suspect that your dog has allergies, definitely consult your veterinarian, especially since symptoms of allergies can also occur with other health disorders.