Did you know that that anywhere between 10% and 40% of dogs suffer from allergies? They’re a big problem. We talk a lot about food allergies … but environmental allergies in dogs are actually more common. If your dog has allergy symptoms, don’t panic. There are some solutions.
What Causes Environmental Allergies In Dogs?
Allergies happen when your dog’s immune system overreacts to something in her environment … known as a “trigger.” That trigger could be something like pollen, dust, mold or other substances in the air. The antibodies in your dog’s immune system identify these substances as dangerous … even though they may not be.
Here’s more detail on how it happens …
Stem cells that live in your dog’s bone marrow produce a specialized white blood cell called a B cell. Antibodies come from these B cells. These antibodies identify anything that shouldn’t be in your dog’s body … like viruses, parasites or allergens.
There are 5 different classes of antibodies in your dog’s body .. immunoglobulins known as IgA, IgB, IgC, IgD and IgE. It’s the IgE antibodies that identify allergens.
When an allergen (the trigger) enters your dog’s body, the IgE antibodies alert the immune system to get rid of it.
At the same time, those IgE antibodies also attach to mast cells. Mast cells in the connective tissues help regulate the immune system. They contain chemicals like histamines that fight allergens. When allergens enter the body, mast cells release the histamines to kill them.
Sure, that sounds good … but unfortunately, these histamines cause redness and inflammation, itching and irritation.
Types of Allergies and Symptoms
Allergies can come from something in your dog’s diet or something in her environment. Both have similar symptoms.
You can usually remove a certain food from your dog’s diet … but you often can’t get rid of environmental triggers.
Some of the most common triggers in dogs are tree, grass and weed pollens, mold and dust.
Environmental allergies in dogs are usually seasonal. Dogs may get very itchy in the spring and fall, with fewer symptoms during winter or summer months. Your dog will usually start to display symptoms between 1 and 3 years old.
Common symptoms of allergies in dogs include: