At the first mention of dog allergies, you may first think of people who are allergic to dogs. But dogs themselves can have allergies. While people with such allergies can experience itchy eyes that water profusely with exposure to canines, dogs with allergies also can suffer from this condition. What do you do when it is your dog that has an allergy?
What Are Dog Eye Allergies?
When your dog is prone to allergic reactions, its body rejects the presence of certain substances. Pollen, dust, other air particles, or ingredients in the food are all common allergens for your dog. One of the most common reactions is for your dog’s eyes to itch and water. This discharge generally will be clear and watery. The eyes may grow watery and reddened.
What Causes Allergies?
Elements of the everyday environment can result in allergic reactions in your dog. Such allergens that can irritate the eyes include smoke, perfumes or colognes, dust or dust mites, mildew, mold, pollen from trees and grasses, certain materials and fabrics, dander, feathers, hair, fleas, household cleaning products, and some medications. Certain food ingredients can also be the culprit which is why some pups require the best dog food for allergies. So many allergens exist, in fact, that determining your particular dog’s source of trouble may be difficult without proper testing.
Allergy Symptoms in Canine Eyes
The symptoms of dog eye allergies are fairly easy to identify. You may even commiserate with your dog as you suffer from similar symptoms from your own allergies. Your dog will have itchy eyes; it may try to swipe at the eyes with forelegs or paws. Those irritated eyes will also water, producing excessive tears, and become swollen. If the discharge from your dog’s eyes is not watery and clear, but rather colored or milky, be aware that more serious eye problems may be the culprit.
Itchy Skin and Dog Eye Allergies
If your dog has a history of particularly itchy skin, it is more susceptible to suffering from eye allergies as well at some point. The dog population at large is less likely to have such allergies without skin that is prone to itching. Of course, some dogs simply have dry skin. Consult a veterinarian to know your dog’s general level of health and the best means you can use to care for your companion.
Which Dogs Are Affected by Allergy Symptoms?
While any dog, regardless of age, can find itself susceptible to eye allergies, affected dogs tend to be three years of age or younger when they first exhibit symptoms . Certain types of breeds and specific breeds are also more likely to develop allergic dermatitis. The former include Setters, Terriers, Retrievers, and Brachycephalic breeds. The latter term refers to short-headed breeds such as bulldogs, Pugs, and Pekingese dogs. Other specific breeds include Boxers, German Shepherd dogs, Cocker Spaniels, and Poodles.
How Do Vets Make a Diagnosis for Dog Eye Allergies?
The initial diagnosis for eye allergies in dogs generally involves using the process of elimination. Several brief tests can rule out those diseases bearing similar symptoms. These include corneal ulcers, an eye infection, or simply dry eye. Details such as your dog’s breed and age, along with a history of particularly itchy skin, can indicate a diagnosis of allergies.
Two types of tests can narrow down your dog’s particular allergens: blood tests and skin tests. The latter is more reliable. A patch of fur is shaved from your sedated dog’s coat; then a broad range of allergens are introduced to the dog’s skin. You should get same-day results. There is a risk, however small, of a bad allergic reaction, and the process works best when your dog is in a flare-up. Blood tests are preferable for puppies or dogs that should not be sedated or already suffers skin issues. These tests require a laboratory to process and take longer to return results.
Soothing the Eye Allergy Symptoms
Using gentle motions and lukewarm water, wipe your doggie companion’s eyes. Before doing this, boil the water and let it cool. Not only will this soothe a sore eye, but it will also rinse-free debris or allergens. Use cotton balls. Remember that slow and gentle is the way to go when rinsing your dog’s eyes.
You can also offer Benadryl or Diphenhydramine. The dosage for dogs is 1mg per pound of your dog’s body weight. You can offer this three times a day. This sedative may cause drowsiness as well as gastric issues and dehydration. Be alert to your dog’s habits when on this or any medication. Note that it should also be avoided in pregnant or nursing dogs or dogs with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or glaucoma.
Rinsing your dog’s itchy and watery eyes with saline solution or distilled water is another way to soothe your dog’s eyes. You can also raise the air’s humidity in your home. Some dogs find relief when the fur around their eyes has been removed; this hair can trap pollen and dust, holding them close to cause problems.
Lifestyle Changes to Treat Dog Eye Allergies
Most lifestyle treatments involve avoiding the source of the problems. If you can, remove any causes from your home. If dust, dander, or the like are the culprit, clean more often if necessary. Pull up carpets if you can, removing soft furnishings that cling to microscopic allergens. If this last step is impossible, do a deep clean and regularly wash your Fido’s dog bed, blankets, and dog crate with high heat. The best air purifier for pets may be helpful.
Medical Treatments for Dog Eye Allergies
Your veterinarian may offer your dog antihistamines for oral use or in eye drop form. Antihistamines work by blocking your dog’s immune system histamine response to the allergen. This reduces the symptoms. Steroidal eye drops may be selected to give your dog ease from its eye irritation. Your veterinarian may prefer to offer topical eye ointments to stem allergy attacks and reduce discomfort.
Follow-Up Ways to Treat Dog Eye Allergies
A veterinary dermatologist may offer further advice if minimal improvement results from the initial steps. Other diagnostics such as the allergy test types may be called for then the initial process of eliminating other options. If removal of allergens is not an easy matter, such as changing dog food or employing an air purifier and dusting more often, then long-term treatment like immunotherapy may be necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can I treat my dog’s eye allergies?
You can treat your dog’s eye allergies in a spectrum of ways, depending on the allergen troubling your dog and the severity of your dog’s allergic reactions. Identify the source of the trouble, try to eliminate it, and treat your dog’s mild symptoms with saline solution or distilled water washes. Never use a contact solution. See your veterinarian if problems persist or your dog has more than mild reactions.
How can I treat my dog’s eye allergies at home?
You can treat your dog’s eye allergies at home with lukewarm washes of saline solutions or distilled water, using cotton balls and gentle motions to wash your dog’s eyes. You can also do your best to identify and get rid of the allergens plaguing your dog. This may involve changing food, getting an air purifier, cleaning more often, or being aware of pollen counts and planning your walks accordingly. You can also use the antihistamine Diphenhydramine, with the popular product name Benadryl, to relieve your dog’s symptoms.
How can I soothe my dog’s itchy eyes?
To soothe your allergic dog’s itchy eyes, try a dose of the antihistamine Diphenhydramine, or Benadryl, and give your companion’s eyes a comforting lukewarm rinse. Use distilled water or a saline solution and cotton balls with extremely gentle motions. This dislodges irritating particles and offers gentle comfort.
How do you know if your dog has eye allergies?
If your dog’s eyes are red, excessively tearing or releasing a watery, clear discharge, and itchy, your dog probably has eye allergies. To be certain, a veterinarian will perform some tests to be sure the symptoms do not stem from another problem like an eye infection. If the discharge from your dog’s itchy eyes is milky or colored, the problem may be more serious than allergic conjunctivitis.