Starting From Scratch With An Allergic Dog

Starting From Scratch With An Allergic Dog

If you​ think humans are the​ only ones who get allergies,​ you're barking up the​ wrong tree. More than 25 percent of​ dogs in​ the​ United States are estimated to​ suffer from some form of​ allergies. Pets have problems with the​ same allergens as​ humans,​ and in​ a​ strange role reversal,​ can even be allergic to​ their owners.

But the​ most common allergic condition is​ atopic dermatitis. Seven million U.S. dogs suffer from the​ condition-a severe,​ itchy skin disease that results in​ hypersensitivity to​ environmental allergens such as​ pollen,​ mold and dust mites.

Your veterinarian can tell if​ your dog has atopic dermatitis,​ but there are also things for you​ to​ consider. Dr. Tiffany Tapp,​ veterinary dermatologist at​ Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in​ East Greenwich,​ R.I.,​ offers four tips:

1. Know the​ signs. Atopic dogs groom excessively,​ licking or​ chewing their paws,​ abdomen and hindquarters. Their ears may be red and hot to​ the​ touch. Watch for stains from licking or​ hair loss in​ the​ armpits,​ groin or​ between the​ toes of​ the​ paws.

2. See your veterinarian. While atopic dermatitis is​ one of​ the​ most common canine allergies,​ dogs can also have allergies to​ food,​ vaccines,​ insect bites or​ drugs. Your veterinarian can help you​ determine why your pooch is​ suffering and suggest ways to​ alleviate the​ discomfort.

3. Consider treatment options. if​ your dog is​ diagnosed with atopic dermatitis,​ your veterinarian may prescribe Atopica® (Cyclosporine capsules,​ USP) Modified. It's the​ only option approved by the​ Food and Drug Administration for long-term management of​ canine atopic dermatitis and blocks the​ allergic response that causes itching without the​ serious side effects of​ steroids. Veterinarians also use immunotherapy,​ or​ allergy shots,​ to​ decrease a​ pet's sensitivity to​ a​ specific allergen.

4. Control the​ allergens. Do what you​ can to​ reduce the​ allergens in​ your dog's world. Use allergen-resistant bedding; keep the​ humidity low inside your home to​ minimize dust mites and mold; keep your dog away from unmowed grass,​ high grass and weeds; and,​ during peak allergy season,​ limit outdoor activity in​ the​ early morning,​ when pollen levels are at​ their highest.

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