Allergies can be frustrating whether you're a household pet or a human companion. Dogs display their allergies differently than a person would, so it is not uncommon for an owner to misdiagnose her dog. Understanding the signs and symptoms of allergies in a dog is the foundation to properly addressing the problem.
Allergies and Allergens
Surprisingly, dogs suffer from many of the same allergens as people do. These can include foods, milk products, pollen, grass, trees, types of fabrics, types of rubbers or plastics, dust, dust mites, mold, other pets, pet dander and flea bites.
Symptoms of Allergies
Dogs suffering from allergies will display their symptoms through itching and various skin issues. This may appear as excessive scratching, rubbing their face or body against furniture, corners or the floor, hair loss or excessive damage to the skin. Your dog's feet may become irritated, especially if he's excessively chewing on them.
Post-nasal drip occurs when a dog's sinuses secrete an excessive amount of mucus, which drains down the throat rather than being relieved through the nose. It may or may not occur simultaneously with allergies. However, it is not uncommon for dogs to display this symptom when suffering from year-round or seasonal inhaled allergies or food allergies. In most cases, post-nasal drip can be managed with medication in addition to isolating and removing the cause.
Symptoms of Canine Post-nasal Drip
The most common sign of post-nasal drip is constant swallowing to relieve congestion or drainage. He may also wheeze and cough, or have an extremely foul breath. Lastly, he may appear to have a lack of enthusiasm for feeding time. All of this can be due to post-nasal drip in the beginning stages or after an infection occurs from the excessive bacteria and mucus.
Diagnosis and Solution
To diagnose allergies, your vet may perform a blood test or use skin samples to determine your dog's allergen. Once the allergen has been identified, you will need to remove it from your dog's environment. This may be as simple as switching foods or as costly as removing plants.
Your vet will also be able to determine if your dog is suffering from post-nasal drip. If necessary, medication will be prescribed to relieve the issue. If your dog's post-nasal drip is related to allergies, your vet will likely advise that you remove the offending allergen.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.