How to Test Your Dog for Allergies
Dog allergies can be managed. Though they do pose a threat to the comfort and overall health of your dog, they’re not as big of a concern as things like health conditions and anxiety.
With this being said, allergies must be tested for, to identify treatments to reduce their impact. Though most allergies are skin-related, some can actually manifest into more serious respiratory issues over time. This underlines the importance of testing your dog for allergies.
Here are some of the most common allergy symptoms in dogs:
- Compulsive scratching
- Excessive licking
- Periodic chewing of body parts
- Frequent sneezing
- Skin irritation/fur loss
Symptoms like these can be alleviated by using products purchased from a website like thepetlabco.com.
Many allergens are exposed to dogs via contact with the skin. Allergies are prone to developing during the second year of a dog’s life. Whether it’s caused by food or by the air a dog breathes, allergies can develop quicker than you’d expect.
Booking a veterinary appointment is a wise move, where your vet can leverage specialist knowledge to diagnose and later help treat issues. By identifying issues early, you’ll be more equipped to tackle things head-on.
Dog Allergy Testing
The first step is to consult with your veterinarian, who will organize a thorough examination to take place. They’ll initially look for things like skin parasites and infections. Once treated your vet can test for specific allergens, to determine whether they’re the root cause of skin irritations.
These allergens will usually fall into the following groups:
- Flea allergies
- Contact allergies
- Inhalant allergies
- Food allergies
Contact allergies are the most common of all, which can cause an allergic reaction that leads to severe skin irritation. If your dog starts scratching incessantly, this can cause skin infections and other injuries.
Why Do Dogs Develop Allergies?
Some dogs are born with abnormal skin, which is susceptible to allowing allergens to enter. When allergens enter the skin, it sets off an allergic response which leads to itching and redness.
Dogs who suffer from allergies have a weaker immune response than others, which can lead to an inflammation under the wrong circumstances. When the health of the skin changes, bacteria can invade and lead to infections. Dogs who suffer from allergies fail to produce an adequate immune response to fight off secondary invaders, which is why some dogs suffer from allergies and others don’t.
Treating Allergies in Dogs
There are two main types of dog allergy testing: Blood Testing and Intradermal Skin Testing. These are best performed during seasons when allergies are at their worst since this increases the likelihood of an accurate result.
Blood Allergy Testing
This is convenient and easy to execute. A vet will simply take a sample of a dog’s blood for analysis. They will then use this sample to test for a vast array of allergens, including:
This type of testing can also be used to discover food allergies, alongside reactions to materials like nylon or cotton. Blood tests are less invasive and time-consuming, one of the reasons why they’re more common than skin testing.
Skin Allergy Testing
A form of allergy testing used by the dermatologists of today, skin allergy testing is invasive. For this reason, it requires sedation, due to the length of time the patient needs to be still. Once sedated, a small area of the dog’s skin is shaved, before a tiny amount of each allergen is placed under the skin. If an allergen causes a reaction, allergies can be determined accordingly.
Skin allergy tests are usually around 75% accurate. Though not always appropriate, skin allergy testing can be useful in many cases, so certainly shouldn’t be sniffed at (excuse the pun).