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Testing for Allergies in Dogs - Help Your Pup Ditch the Itch

Testing for Allergies in Dogs - Help Your Pup Ditch the Itch - September 2023 - Two Tails Pet Company

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If your pup has been feeling extra itchy recently, they’re likely dealing with an allergy. Testing for allergies in dogs can be complicated, especially if you’re a first-time dog owner

Don’t worry; we’re here to help you get your pup to ditch the itch. We’ll look at some common dog allergy symptoms alongside the types of allergies and testing available. Plus, we’ll give you a rough estimate of how much testing a dog for allergies costs.

Signs and Symptoms of Dog Allergies

Once you notice unusual behavior from your dog, like excessive itchiness or constant paw licking, you’ll need to act quickly. 

Schedule an appointment with your vet, even if you just had a regular checkup. This way, you’ll understand if these symptoms are due to a dog allergy, and not an underlying health condition.

Some of the dog allergy signs include:

  • Red, irritated skin (localized or generalized)
  • Itchiness
  • Licking at paws
  • Recurring ear or paw infections
  • Hives and Swelling
  • Respiratory symptoms (chronic coughing, sneezing)
  • Runny eyes
  • Digestive issues (diarrhea, vomiting)

What Type of Dog Allergy Does Your Pup Have

Knowing that your pup has an allergy won’t be enough to determine the required treatment. Here are the most common dog allergies:

Food Allergy

Dogs can often be allergic to proteins, such as chicken or beef, alongside eggs and dairy. Once the allergen is ingested, your pup can suffer digestive issues and itchiness.

Contact Allergy

Contact allergies in dogs occur when their skin touches certain fabrics, chemicals, or plants. However, you should immediately check with your vet to find the cause of the allergy.

Atopy

Atopy is the most common and dangerous dog allergy. Your pup can suffer from it by inhaling the allergen or if that comes in contact with their skin while it’s airborne.

Seasonal Respiratory Allergy

Like humans, dogs might suffer from seasonal allergies once spring rolls around. So, if your dog has runny eyes and is sneezing as much as you do during springtime, chances are that pollen and dust are affecting them.

Flea Allergy

Some pups can be allergic to proteins found in fleas’ saliva. Swelling, itchiness, and skin irritation will soon follow. If you notice flea dirt lying around, you can be sure your pup is allergic to their bite.

Dog Allergy Testing Types

Testing for allergies in dogs should be done right after you notice symptoms with the help of a vet. The two main dog allergy testing types are intradermal and blood testing. Your vet will do additional checks in case your dog has a flea or food allergy.

Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to take your pup off of allergy medication for intradermal tests to be accurate. The same isn’t true for blood tests.

Blood Testing (RAST)

Blood, or RAST, testing is straightforward; your vet will get a blood sample from your pup, and you’ll get the results within a few weeks. The actual testing is done in a lab, where the sample is tested against common allergens.

One issue with RAST tests is that they’re less accurate than intradermal ones. However, they’ll still help you understand what type of allergy your pup suffers from.

Intradermal Testing

With intradermal testing, you can accurately discover what your dog is allergic to. However, the process is pretty complicated.

For one, you’ll need to visit a veterinary dermatologist. Yes, that’s not an ordinary vet. Yes, they’re not easy to find. And, yes, they’ll cost quite a bit.

Throughout the test, the vet dermatologist will inject your pup with common allergens to see which ones cause a reaction (usually a hive). Thankfully, your little one won’t feel a thing, as it’ll be sedated or anesthetized for the entire process.

How Much Does It Cost to Check a Dog for Allergies?

Prices for dog allergy testing will vary depending on your location. For example, here in LA, we’ll spend around $200 for blood or intradermal testing.

However, this doesn’t include the vet examination fee or sedation needed for skin tests. In turn, the pricing for intradermal tests can be higher than $500.

Common Dog Conditions & How To Treat Them

Flea Bite Dermatitis

Flea bite dermatitis is caused when your pup is allergic to the proteins found in fleas’ saliva. As with any dermatitis, skin irritation and itchiness will be clear signs.

The only way to treat flea bite dermatitis is by getting rid of fleas altogether. You’ll need to wash your dog with a flea removal shampoo and remove any flees left in your house. Also, your pup should get flea medication to avoid future allergies.

Food Allergies

If your little one has a food allergy, the treatment will be easy. Its name is the elimination diet method.

With this, you’ll gradually change your pup’s diet with food that won’t cause any allergic reaction. Then you’ll have to introduce an extra food item at a time to see how your dog reacts to it. Once you identify the allergen, she’ll have to say goodbye to it forever.

Hopefully, it’s not chicken. Or beef. Or cheese. Honestly, food allergies suck!

Environmental Allergies

Regarding environmental allergies, intradermal or blood testing is required.

The best treatment for environmental allergies is immunotherapy, commonly known as desensitization. Throughout this therapy, your pup will get injected with small doses of the allergen every few weeks. 

This will make their immune system desensitized to the allergen, preventing further allergic reactions. 

The only setback with immunotherapy is that it can be costly in the long run, as well as time-consuming.

No More Allergies for Your Itchy Pup

When your pup is hit with an allergy, you must act fast. Testing for allergies in dogs is often simple and quick, but it can become costly depending on the allergy (looking at you, intradermal tests).

Still, we all want our little ones to be healthy. If your doggo has any allergy symptoms, call your vet. And, once it all goes well and your pup is allergy-free, it’s time for a pupperoni tag treat.



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