Man’s best friend can suffer from allergies in the same way many humans are affected by them. In fact, a wide variety of things may cause allergic reactions in dogs, and it may be difficult to pin down the exact cause in your dog. Dander is often the culprit for allergies in dogs; it is the flakes of dead skin that gets lodged in the fur coat of the animal. Fleas can also spark an allergic reaction in dogs, as well as other inhalants and even certain food products. Inhalants that may cause allergies are pollen, dust, or mold. Some dogs may also have allergic reactions from contacting toxic plants and chemicals, or fabrics such as nylon. The symptoms of allergic reactions can also vary widely from dog to dog. If you notice rashes or hives appearing on the skin of your dog, chances are that allergens are the cause. If a dog is suffering from food allergies, it will likely be scratching itself more than usual due to the skin irritation caused by an allergic food reaction. Other symptoms include coughing, sneezing, or vomiting. If your dog is showing any symptoms or even simply behaving differently or unusually, then it will be a good idea to ask your vet about possible allergy concerns.
If you and your vet determine that allergies are a likely cause of your dog’s suffering, it will be a good idea to run a test to determine the exact cause of the allergic reaction in the dog. A blood test is taken and sent to a lab that specializes in allergies. The lab will search the blood for specific allergens that are causing the symptoms your dog is displaying. Skin patch tests are another way to determine the specific allergens that are causing symptoms in your dog. In skin patch testing, also called intradermal testing, the vet injects a small amount of a specific allergen then observes the animal for any allergic reaction on the skin where the injection took place. An allergic reaction usually appears in approximately five or six hours. This test however, may not be the best choice because it is time intensive and costly. If you do use the skin patch test however, it is important to tell your vet of possible allergens that your pet has come into contact with. This way, your vet can test these allergens first to see if they are the cause of your dog’s allergic reactions.