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Dog Allergies

small dog in field of pink flowers
Picture of Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

With the arrival of summer and the end to spring, the season of allergies is upon many residents of Colorado. Although there are many ways to treat and diagnose allergies for humans, it is much more difficult for dogs to vocalize their allergies and discomfort. Dogs can easily be affected by a variety of allergens causing them discomfort, preventing them from being happy and healthy.

At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, our experienced professionals know that it is common for dogs to have seasonal and food allergies. As a professional vet clinic, we are well-versed in testing and treatment for a wide variety of allergy triggers affecting dogs throughout Colorado Springs, Black Forest, Peyton, Falcon, and Monument. Just as your doctor wants to bring you relief when suffering from allergies, we also want to provide your dog that same relief so dog-friendly hikes and activities around Colorado Springs can be filled with fun.

small dog in field of pink flowers

What Causes Pet Allergies?

Just like in seasonal allergies in humans, pet allergies can be caused by a wide range of factors depending on the specific pet. It is common for dogs to be allergic to environmental triggers that can be found in outdoor environments. We love to be outside with our pets, but in some cases, enjoying the outdoors can turn a fun afternoon into an evening of discomfort. Environmental allergy triggers can often include:

  • Grass
  • Weeds
  • Mold Spores
  • Dust Mites
  • Shed Skin Cells
  • Insect Proteins (I.e. Flea Saliva)
  • Some Medications
  • Plants
  • Pollen
  • Indoor & Outdoor Chemicals

Pet Allergy Symptoms

Allergy symptoms in dogs may appear in ways that are similar to human allergies. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your local veterinary clinic. Pet allergy symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • Dermatitis: Redness, skin irritation, and excessive scratching which can lead to rubbing their face and body on the carpet in order to alleviate itchiness.
  • Excessive biting and chewing of legs and paws which can lead to open sores, scabs, and hair loss.
  • Fluid buildup in the ears which can lead to head shaking and scratching.
  • Itching of the skin, either localized (in one area) or generalized (all over the body).
  • Runny discharge from the eyes or nose.
  • Digestive issues including vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Respiratory system issues including coughing, sneezing, and/or wheezing.

How To Treat Dog Allergies

The most impactful treatment involves allergy testing for source identification. Pet allergy testing will help to narrow down dog allergy triggers and determine the most effective method of treatment. It is important for the dog’s overall health to identify the specific allergen causing your dog’s allergies in order to prevent future damage and manage the discomfort. After identifying the allergen, a qualified veterinarian will be able to prescribe a medicine that can provide much-needed relief for your dog. 

Until you can have allergy testing done for your pet, you can help reduce the discomfort by making easy changes to your pet’s routine. Here are some effective ways to lessen dog allergy symptoms at home:

  • Vacuuming and cleaning regularly will reduce pollen that has settled in your home.
  • Dog food with anti-inflammatory ingredients will help to reduce skin irritation.
  • Changing and washing linens frequently; including dog bed covers, bedsheets, and couch covers.
  • Giving your dog a bath after being outdoors, including a thorough cleaning of paws, will help remove dander and pollen.
  • Training your dog to wear boots on their paws will reduce the allergens that can get in between their paw pads.
  • Adding fatty acid supplements to your dog’s diet has been proven to assist in soothing itchy and irritated skin.

Dog Food Allergies vs Seasonal Pet Allergies

Seasonal allergies in dogs are commonly caused by increased environmental factors and activity throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Although food allergies are very different, they can present themselves in similar ways as seasonal dog allergies. When a dog is allergic to a certain food, he can have symptoms such as itching, digestive disorders, and respiratory distress. It is possible for a dog to have more than one allergy. 

Although food allergies may have similar symptoms, they have a much different source causing your dog discomfort.  Similar to in humans food allergies or sensitivities can be developed at any age. The most common food allergies for dogs are:

  • Dairy Products
  • Beef
  • Wheat Gluten
  • Chicken
  • Chicken Eggs
  • Lamb
  • Soy

When To Take Your Dog To The Vet For Allergies

Since dog allergies can be caused by both food and environmental factors, it is important to seek professional help to narrow down the possible causes. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your local veterinarian regarding the next steps. Seeking veterinary treatment will allow you to understand what is causing the allergies and what you can do to make your dog more comfortable. 

Treating Dog Allergies | How Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic Can Help

At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, we understand that allergies affect the quality of life for both you and your dog. If you suspect that your dog may be experiencing allergy symptoms or discomfort, contact us to schedule an exam. Our qualified team of veterinarians will check the condition of your pet’s skin, ears, nose, and eyes for possible signs of allergic reactions through wellness exams. We can also perform additional allergy testing, including blood work, to narrow down your pet’s allergy triggers. The loving staff and expert care at Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic in Colorado Springs will bring comfort to both of you during this uncomfortable time.

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Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic is seeking an enthusiastic and caring veterinarian to work relief, part-time or full-time in our general practice. PVC is a full-service, 3+ doctor, small-animal veterinary hospital. We have established an excellent reputation for developing lasting relationships with our clients and for providing compassionate and quality care to our patients.