Many people contend with allergy symptoms from various causes, such as tree pollen, grass, dust, and low-quality air. However, many people do not realize their pets may struggle with allergy symptoms as well. With a little help, pet owners can learn how to identify the symptoms of allergies in their pets and how to treat those symptoms safely. While some medications may offer relief, many dogs have unique medical concerns that require more individualized treatment. Compounded allergy medicine for dogs could be the best solution for these pets.
Dogs Can Have Allergies, Too
It may come as a surprise, but your dog can suffer from allergies. Sometimes pet medicine is the best way to treat allergies. Countless options are available for pet allergy treatments, and not every treatment will be right for your pet. The first step in treating your dog’s allergies is determining the type of allergies your dog has, the triggers for symptoms, and any preexisting medical conditions that may complicate treatment.
Common Allergy Types for Dogs
Dog allergies exist in three main varieties:
- Skin allergies. These types of allergic conditions cause rashes, shedding, and other issues with your dog’s skin and coat.
- Food allergies. Similar to people, some dogs have dietary sensitivities and allergic reactions to certain foods.
- Environmental allergies. These allergic reactions trigger in response to environmental factors, such as dust, pollen, and air contaminants.
Some allergic symptoms are more severe than others. Each dog has unique medical characteristics that require individualized treatment. A dog with allergies doesn’t have to suffer. Take time to determine a dog’s type of allergies, severity of symptomatic responses, and acceptable treatments by talking with your vet. Consider compounding medications that are easy for your furry friend to take.
Dog Allergy Symptoms
Skin allergies in dogs typically include flea allergy dermatitis and atopic allergic reactions from environmental contaminants. A dog who goes too long without a bath may develop irritated skin from dirt, debris, and biological material stuck in the dog’s coat. Skin allergies typically cause red and itchy skin, causing some dogs to scratch excessively or even bite and gnaw at irritated body parts. The dog’s skin will become inflamed, red, and scabbed in some areas.
Food allergies can cause digestive upset, often including vomiting and/or loose stools. It’s important to recognize that food allergies can also cause symptoms similar to skin allergies, such as itchiness and redness. Dogs with food allergies often stratch their ears and paws.
Environmental allergies usually flare up in response to environmental triggers and may dissipate after leaving the area. However, some dogs may struggle with symptoms even after leaving the area due to contaminants sticking to fur.
Itching may not seem like a severe symptom, but your dog cannot express his discomfort and could be having trouble sleeping or getting comfortable. This can lead to irritability and diminished quality of life for your dog, and leave your pet vulnerable to infections. Any skin-level symptoms of allergies in dogs can lead to excessive scratching and nipping that could eventually break the skin.
Dogs can also experience acute anaphylactic reactions to specific types of allergic exposure, such as a bee sting. These reactions may include localized swelling, but, in some dogs, may cause difficulty in breathing and require immediate veterinary care.
Diagnosing and Treating Dog Allergies
Once a veterinarian diagnoses the type of allergies your dog has, acceptable treatments can be recommended. Food allergies are generally the easiest to resolve; most veterinarians will propose an elimination diet to assess which foods are causing negative responses and symptoms. An elimination diet typically consists of a single type of protein and single type of carbohydrate only for twelve consecutive weeks, then slowly reintroducing different types of food per the veterinarian’s recommendations. For example, the doctor may recommend boiled, low-fat ground beef and brown rice or something similar for the duration of the elimination diet.
Treating skin allergies and environmental allergies is more difficult. Typically, the best way to treat these issues is prevention, but it may not always be possible to protect the dog from an irritant. Some skin allergies result from medical conditions that dog owners can manage with prescription medications and topical treatments, but these treatments will not work for every dog. A compounded prescription may be the answer to relieving the pain of skin issues while treating the allergy. Skin and coat type, breed, age, and other medical factors can complicate treatment for some skin and environmental allergies.
If a dog suffers allergic reactions from flea dermatitis or another insect, killing the insects is usually the best course of action. Anti-flea and anti-tick medication can spare dogs from the irritating symptoms of allergic reactions and protect them from more serious illnesses, such as Lyme disease.
Use Caution with Over-the-Counter Medications
Use the same caution with your pet’s medications as you would with your own. Always ask your veterinarian about acceptable brands, dosages, and treatment schedules for your dog. Some over-the-counter remedies may offer relief to some dogs, but some of these products contain potentially harmful substances or include additives that may make your dog’s symptoms worse. Keep an update of recalled medication or drugs that can be harmful to pets.
Dietary Options for Dog Allergies
Dogs are natural scavengers and hunters and in the wild; they subsist on a highly varied diet in most cases. However, because domesticated dogs rely on people to feed them, dog owners should carefully research any and all pet foods purchased for their dogs. Some dog foods include substandard ingredients such as grain, milk, and soy products that may result in medical issues and allergic responses over time. Most dogs benefit from a varied diet of proteins, vegetables, and fruits.
Some Natural Remedies May Help
Natural foods contain vitamins and minerals their dog food may lack, so consider asking your veterinarian about herbal supplements that might benefit your dog. Some of these supplements can boost immune system function, improve skin and coat health, and even help regulate metabolism and energy levels. You should always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any type of supplement. Even natural and organic remedies for dogs with allergies can have side effects. A few of the most common natural remedies for dog with allergies are:
- Quercetin. This supplement has natural antihistamine properties, but it can cause numbness and tingling in people. It may have further side effects for dogs.
- Thyme. Thyme is a natural anti-inflammatory and some say it helps relieve allergic reactions in dogs. As with any supplement, it should only be given under vet discretion and in small doses.
- Aloe Vera. Aloe has natural healing properties and has been used to soothe skin for centuries. It’s safe for ingestion, but they should never eat the plant itself.
- Coconut oil. Coconut oil has many benefits for your dog. Its antiviral and antibacterial properties reduces itchiness in skin, aids in digestion and boosts the immune system.
Common Dog Allergy Treatments
Your veterinarian could recommend several possible options for treating your dog’s allergies. When you work with a compounding pharmacy, many of these options can be combined for easier administration or created in such a way that makes it easier for your pet to ingest. A few options might include:
- Oral antihistamines. These could help your dog’s seasonal allergies, but some could be dangerous for your dog. Consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any type of oral antihistamine.
- Steroids. Some dogs benefit from steroid treatment to reduce itching and the other symptoms of some types of allergies.
- Anti-inflammatory medications. This type of treatment can reduce swelling and inflammation in the skin and reduce itching.
- Fatty acid supplements can improve the health of your dog’s skin and coat and alleviate the symptoms of skin allergies.
- Immunotherapy. Regular injections with anti-allergy compounds can help a dog build a resistance to an environmental allergy trigger, but it will not quell allergy symptoms entirely.
- Topical products, such as specialized shampoos, medicated ointments, and some herbal creams may improve skin and coat health and alleviate itching.
- Consistent treatment with anti-flea and anti-tick medications can alleviate skin allergy symptoms from flea allergy dermatitis and similar conditions, as well as protect against more serious insect-borne diseases.
- Restricted diets. Some dogs with severe food sensitivities or food allergies must remain on consistent, regulated diets. In some cases, owners will need to be extra careful not only with diet content but also feeding times and portion size. Some dogs may require specialized treats due to sensitivities to additives in commercial dog treats.
A single solution may not exist for treating your dog’s allergy symptoms. A compounded medication may make treating your dog’s allergies more simple with less hassle.
Some dogs may only require minimal lifestyle changes or dietary changes for relief, while others may require prescription medication and ongoing treatment. Ultimately, a veterinarian accurately diagnosing your dog’s allergies is the crucial first step in alleviating symptoms and helping your dog enjoy life to the fullest.
Finding Long-Term Relief for Your Dog’s Allergy Symptoms
Many pet owners who have dogs with medical issues can find it overwhelming to manage multiple treatments and medications. Compounded veterinary medications can take the guesswork out of managing your dog’s allergies and other medical conditions and offer peace of mind.
The Compounding Pharmacy of America offers customized compounded medications for dogs and their people. Instead of taking multiple medications or contending with odd dosage sizes, sensitivities to additives, and discontinued medications, compounded medications allow patients to have complete control over their medications and secure them in safe, effective doses.
Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America
Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding.
He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.