Environmental allergy in dogs: what are we talking about?


When a dog is allergic to a substance present in its environment, its organism triggers various reactions that can disturb the animal on a daily basis. Environmental allergy is diagnosed in 7 out of 10 allergies in our dog friends. It can be due to different allergens. It requires a consultation with the veterinarian so that a personalized treatment can be prescribed. Let’s take stock of this inflammatory disease of the skin called atopy or atopic dermatitis.

Canine environmental allergy: the main allergens involved

Theatopy is due to an allergen that crosses the skin barrier of the dog. The allergen that can trigger atopic dermatitis can be for example:

  • A pollen,
  • Feathers,
  • Dust,
  • A mite,
  • Mold,
  • A plant component originating in particular from poplar, grasses, trembling aspen, birch, Ambrosia also called Large ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) …

Allergens are ultimately very common in the dog’s environment, which explains the propensity in these animals to develop atopic dermatitis. It can be noted that some canine breeds are there more particularly predisposed as is the case, among others, of the Beauceron, the Boxer, the West Highland White terrier (Westie), the French Bulldog, the English Bulldog or even the Labrador retriever which is moreover the most affected by environmental allergy.

Main symptoms of environmental allergy in dogs

Some symptoms – typical or atypical – must put the chip in the ear of the master, for example:

  • Frequent licking and scratching due to pruritus (itching),
  • Skin redness,
  • Secondary lesions due to superinfection,
  • Hair loss in certain areas of the body, tail and / or legs …
  • Buttons,
  • Papules,
  • Bleeding,
  • Crusts,
  • Skin swelling,
  • Swelling of the eyelids or lip,
  • Otitis.

The ears, stomach, legs and eyes are more commonly affected. Some signs are sometimes confused by owners with eczema. Atopic dermatitis can take a more or less severe form. In some very affected dogs, everyday life turns into a real ordeal because of the discomfort it causes. It is therefore necessary that the animal is followed by the veterinarian.

Environmental allergy in dogs: consult the veterinarian

Atopic dermatitis can become chronic, so that the animal suffers from it all its life. Usually, treatment is prescribed for life if he has severe atopic dermatitis. In the case of a moderate atopy, treatment is only punctual and only necessary in the event of a crisis. Another case is sometimes diagnosed, namely the intrinsic dermatitis this time due to an internal factor which also causes an immune disorder. It is due to the ingestion of a toxic product (medicinal or other) or else may be of genetic origin.

Identify the allergen involved

The veterinarian begins by looking for the cause of the environmental allergy from which the dog is suffering. A allergological assessment which consists of performing skin tests to identify the responsible allergen.

A desensitization is then carried out through injections. We can only see convincing results after ten months, but treatment should generally be continued for life. In 7 out of 10 cases, there is more or less long term clear improvement the dog’s condition because the attacks are less frequent and the symptoms more moderate.

Reduce the importance of symptoms of atopy

It is recommended not to leave an environmental allergy lying around because the more time passes, the more the symptoms intensify, spread, and the frequency of attacks increases. There is no treatment to cure genetic atopy, but fortunately it is possible to relieve symptoms and space out attacks.

Treat atopic dermatitis

The specialist prescribes a treatment capable of stemming the inflammation, relieving itching and other symptoms. It is corticosteroids prescribed for a short time, soothing ointments, lotions or sprays, anti-itch milk, treating shampoos, moisturizers andantihistamines. To cure bacterial infections, the veterinarian is required to prescribe a treatment based onantibiotics. Sometimes, an anti-stress supplements the treatment protocol, because it is an aggravating factor.

It is recommended to use shampoos and lotions suitable for dogs with environmental allergies so that their skin is not attacked. In addition, a very high quality power supply with sufficient essential fatty acids is beneficial because it participates in strengthening the skin barrier of the animal. This can then better fulfill its protective role. Finally, it is necessary avoid anxiety in an allergic dog as it may worsen the symptoms.

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