For a lot of us, springtime means allergies. And when I say “us,” I’m talking about our doggos as well.
Yes, dogs do suffer from allergies, and many of them are allergic to the same things that cause humans to sneeze, wheeze, and itch. Unfortunately, Jacks are more allergy-prone than some other breeds.
But there are ways to help.
Allergies and the Jack Russell Terrier
There are several kinds of allergies, and, unfortunately, dogs can suffer from all of them. Let’s have a look.
Environmental allergies are allergies to things that are around us. You (or your dog) may be allergic to plant material like pollen, to perfumes or cleaning materials, to the dander of other animals…they may even be allergic to humans! The list goes on and on. Your dog may breathe in these allergens, lick them while cleaning himself or herself, or come into contact with them through the skin.
Your dog may also be allergic to certain foods or food ingredients. Dogs are, by and large, lactose intolerant, for example. Though much has been made of some dogs’ grain allergies, Vet Tech Maria Vrobik Lee says that protein allergies are much more common. Chicken and beef, according to Lee, are the biggest offenders. Dogs may even have an allergy to storage mites, which get into commercial dog food while it’s being stored.
Lee also says that food allergies are a lot less common than environmental allergies.
The Jack Russell
Jacks are particularly prone to atopic dermatitis.
It’s a chronic skin disease that many believe is triggered by an allergy. And it’s common.
Well, atopic dermatitis is the second most common skin disease for dogs overall.
And Jack Russells are more prone to it than most.
Some symptoms may include:
- Rashes and inflammation
A number of things may trigger atopic dermatitis, including:
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Other environmental allergens
Atopic dermatitis usually shows up between three and six months of age, and can get worse over time. Symptoms can also get worse during certain seasons.
A lot of times, dogs suffer similar allergy symptoms to humans. And it’s just as miserable for them as it is for us!
A dog with an environmental allergy may experience:
- Skin inflammation
- Watery eyes
- Sneezing and wheezing
- Rashes and hot spots
- Paw-licking and paw-chewing
A dog with food allergies may experience:
- Skin problems and inflammation
- Frequent skin infections
- Frequent ear infections
- Hair loss
- Decreased appetite
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for dogs with one type of allergy to be prone to the other type as well.
How Can You Tell It’s an Allergy?
First, do we need to say it? If your pup is having problems, take them to the vet!
If the vet suspects a food allergy, they may suggest you eliminate certain things from your dog’s diet to see if it helps. This can take several weeks.
If your vet thinks an environmental allergy may be the problem, they may do skin testing. That is, they may inject small amounts of suspected allergens under your dog’s skin to see if it causes irritation.
How Do You Treat Canine Allergies?
Once an allergen is identified, the first step is eliminating it from your dog’s life to the greatest possible degree. This may include restructuring your pet’s diet, removing offending materials from your home, or avoiding going outdoors when the allergen count is high. If the allergy is environmental, wiping down your dog’s feet when he or she comes inside can help.
Your doctor may also be able to prescribe allergy shots, just like you or I might take.
Other treatments include antihistamines and steroids. Additionally, the fatty acids in fish oil can help to reduce inflammation and increase the ability of your dog’s skin to resist allergens.
There are other ways of treating your dog’s allergy symptoms that you can try safely at home. These won’t stop the allergic reaction from happening, but they will provide relief when the symptoms come.
If your Jack is experiencing skin irritation, a cool bath with colloidal oatmeal can sooth the itch and burn. It won’t cure the allergy, but it will make his or her skin feel better.
Aloe vera gel
You can also apply aloe vera gel to your pet’s irritated skin. Make sure to use a food-grade gel, and never feed aloe vera to your dog — or allow them to lick at the gel — because it contains compounds that are toxic to dogs.
Allergies and Fleas
Fleas can also cause itching, irritation, and hot spots. But even worse, many dogs are allergic to flea saliva. For this reason and others, it’s important to keep your dog flea-free.
And you don’t even have to have a full-on infestation. For some dogs, says Lee, even a single flea can cause an allergic dog plenty of misery.
Yet another reason to be vigilant about flea control.
Are You Ready for Allergy Season?
If your pup has allergies, you have our sympathy. Fortunately, just like with human allergies, medical science has some ways to help.
So get out there and enjoy the springtime!
Featured Image CC0 by Cenczi, via Pixabay