Is Your Dog Having Trouble with Allergies?

Posted on June 28, 2012 under Pet Health & Safety

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Hi, I’m Doctor Fiona Caldwell, and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. Today I’m at home answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page. This question comes from Susan who writes, “My dog gets a seasonal allergic rash. Nothing seems to help except cortisone and Prednisone and her fur is still sparse and scaly.” Unfortunately, seasonal allergies can be really frustrating and they can be really common too. Prednisone is a steroid and is one of the, probably the best treatments that we have. However, it shouldn’t be a long-term treatment. First and foremost, you have to get to the veterinarian to make sure she doesn’t have an infection, either fungal or bacterial. She’s going to continue to itch if that isn’t treated.

Once that’s treated, then you can do some things to try to help keep her skin healthy longer. Things like shampoos, and sometimes hypoallergenic sprays can be helpful. It’s been thought that some dogs with purely seasonal allergies to things like pollen, dust, and mold, can improve on a hypoallergenic diet, even if they’re not truly food allergic. You might benefit from going to a limited ingredient or a hypoallergenic diet for her. Antihistamines can really work too. You’re going to need to work with your veterinarian in terms of dosing, which antihistamines are safe, that type of thing. Talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of this being an under-active thyroid. It’s pretty important that the thyroid level be tested in dogs with skin disease. Sometimes they can get what looks like allergies in relation to this disease, which is really pretty treatable.

There’s usually not one cure for seasonal allergies, but by using a combination of different things, an antihistamine plus the diet, plus maybe special shampoos, hopefully you can kind of work with this problem. The next question is slightly related and it comes from Jewels who writes, “I have a dog who is allergic to beef, and probably also wheat. We have him on a limited ingredient salmon dog food, but I have a hard time finding treats for him. What are the best vegetables aside from green beans and sweet potatoes?” This is a great question. Treats can get tricky, because most treats have things like beef and chicken and wheat in them. Things that you can do, I’ve heard of some people using a canned version of the food that you’re feeding, and shape it into little nuggets or little bones and you can put those in the freezer. Then, use those as dog treats. That’s a great way that you can stick with the same diet and still feel like you’re giving them a little treat.

If you’re really set on using something that is a treat, there are hypoallergenic treats out there. You might try a natural or holistic pet food source. You could even go to just a big commercial retailer and see what type of hypoallergenic treats they have. Veterinarians also have prescription hypoallergenic diets and treats available for you too, so you can talk to your veterinarian to find out what would work for you. In terms of the best vegetables, if they’re not allergic to it, any vegetable is really OK. Carrots, celery, apples, potatoes are a little bit high in starch and calories but can be a part of a good balanced diet, green beans, broccoli. Dogs are omnivorous, they like to eat vegetables as well. So you’re welcome to give them a variety of different vegetables. If you guys have questions for me, feel free to post them at Pets Best Facebook page.