When a dog comes in contact with an allergen and his immune system kicks into overdrive, he may suffer from allergies. Allergens, or substances that cause the immune system to go on the defense, surround you and your dog every day; when he show signs of distress because of them, it's time to offer relief.
Dogs suffering from allergies often show the same symptoms as humans with specific allergies. These include itchy skin or eyes, hair loss, sneezing, snoring and vomiting. Other symptoms of allergies dogs experience that humans generally do not are paw chewing, constant licking, diarrhea and ear infections, according to WebMD.
Like people, dogs may have specific allergies caused by items or allergens they come in contact with daily. For instance, trees, flowers, grass, dust and cigarette smoke may cause dogs skin or respiratory problems. Additionally, fleas, food -- especially food that contains additives, preservatives, wheat or soy -- and chemicals found in household cleaners and pet shampoo may cause dogs to suffer from allergies.
Determine what is causing your dog to suffer from allergies to effectively treat the allergy. After evaluating your dog, the veterinarian can help determine what is causing your dog’s symptoms. First, remove the allergen from your dog’s presence. Try eliminating dairy, beef, wheat, chicken, eggs, lamb, soy, pork, fish and rabbit one by one from your dog's diet until his allergies cease. Next, the vet may prescribe a steroid to help the dog’s body fight the allergen. Vets may also prescribe antihistamines for dogs with allergies, which prevent the immune system from kicking into overdrive when in contact with an allergen.
As with any illness, preventing allergies is often easier than treatment. While there are some items you cannot eliminate from your dog’s daily life, like grass, you should remove any items that are possible allergens, such as cigarette smoke and dust. Also, read the ingredients in his food and try switching to an all-natural brand that does not contain added chemicals or preservatives, like propylene glycol, ethoxyquin and BHA or BHT. Use shampoo for sensitive skin, like oatmeal shampoo, to help prevent itching. If all else fails, your vet may recommend immunotherapy or allergy shots to create antibodies and build up the immune system.