Sometimes dog allergies seem to develop out of the blue. You may go years without your dog experiencing symptoms, and then all of a sudden, you’re looking at rashes and irritated skin. Now what?
Talk to your vet about verifying that what your dog is experiencing is in fact allergies. I would take pictures of the impacted areas to show your vet in case the symptoms worsen throughout the day or days before you head into the vet’s office. If they do have allergies, your vet may be able to prescribe an antihistamine especially for dogs, and help you figure out what your pup is allergic to. We personally have not tried this, but a few of our friends say the medication has helped tremendously.
Keep your pup as clean as possible. Maintaining a clean coat is an important part of reducing allergen irritation. If your dog is allergic to grass and spends a few hours rolling around or walking around on it (like Lily does), as soon as they come in, they are going to track the allergens in with them. This means that what irritates them is now going to be transferred to their bedding, their fave spot on the couch, and anywhere else they go in the house. I’m not telling you they need a bath every time they go outside and then back in, that would be stressful! But, wiping your dog’s paws, and maybe giving them a quick towel wipe down before they come in can significantly help. With Lily, our allergy queen, we give her a wipe down before she goes to bed, and wash her bedding twice a week, in addition to her once a week bath. Make sure to use a gentle dog shampoo, as some can be too harsh for those with sensitive skin.
Treat the irritated skin. Your vet will let you know if your pet requires a specific cream or ointment for treatment, but in the meantime, you may want to investigate dog creams specifically made for skin irritation and allergies to have in your back pocket. We use ResQ skin organics cream for animals. It helps soothe irritated and allergy prone skin, with added anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory care. I put this on Lily every night and have seen a significant improvement in her skin irritation. Natural Dog Company also makes some great products for allergy prone skin as well.
Check out their body regularly. Dogs tend to show signs of irritation and allergy-related issues on their paw pads, between their toes, on their chin, in their armpits, and sometimes on the tops of their head and by their genitals. It may present as redder, more inflamed skin, little red bumps, black bumps, or scabs(which may be due to mites), and pimple-like white heads. Keeping track of where your dog tends to get irritated will help you monitor how successful the treatment is for them.
Make sure their beds are cleaned at least once a week. Keeping your pup’s bed clean is critical to helping ease the sometimes painful symptoms of allergies. Washing their bedding at least once a week with a mild, skin sensitive detergent is also helpful, as sometimes the artificial scents added into regular detergent can cause more skin irritation. To make life easier, we put a blanket over Lily’s bed and wash that a few times a week, while washing her entire bed once a week.
Once you figure out what works for your pup, you’ll get the hang of how to care for their more sensitive skin. You will also probably notice flare ups with more ease and be able to treat them sooner.