These dog allergies are lumped into the Atopy or Allergic Inhaled Dermatitis dog allergies as discussed previously and the total allergy group is believed to be in about 3% to 15% of ALL dogs.
As described in detail in a previous article, ATOPY is a genetically determined predisposition of the dog to produce IgE antibodies when exposed to an allergen. THEN future exposure to this same allergen causes allergic skin disease.
INHALED ATOPY or Allergic Inhaled Dermatitis can often be caused by Common allergens that cause this reaction such as INHALING: ragweed, pollen, house dust, house dust mites, other animal dander, mold, or even feathers. They can get this from anywhere inside or outside the house.
This article looks at CONTACT dog ALLERGIES. While it results in the same process of allergic reaction and the IgE antibodies running a-muck, it is worth its own article BECAUSE: Your dog might be allergic to fleas or some proteins in dog food but it is also possible that your dog is mostly allergic to CONTACT allergies from:
- Specific grasses
- shrubs/ garden plants.
And we are not talking poisonous varieties of plants, just ones that somehow lead to an allergic reaction in your dog.
HOW Contact allergic reactions occur in your dog
While any of the allergens like pollen house dust and dust mites can cause allergies, these are typically INHALED by a dog, just like humans can get with hay-fever. BUT you are more likely to be aware of this cause because just like the owners reaction to hay-fever, the dogs will sneeze, have runny noses and red eyes etc. And standard anti histamine eye drops etc can help dogs that are affected by this form of allergy – check exact type and dosage with your vet.
The much harder one to diagnose and in some parts just as regular, depending on the grasses in your parks and the variety of your dog is CONTACT allergies through a dogs foot pads. Yes a dog can get a contact allergy by eating the allergen (such as grass) but they can also get it by walking on the grass, rolling on the grass or scooting on their butt on the grass.
The problem here of course is that if your dog has an itchy face or butt from contact allergies, they will try and itch it by scraping their face, back or butt back onto the same grass that gave them the itchiness in the first place thus reinforcing the discomfort and swelling.
Be aware that If fleas are not the cause of a dog allergy then atopy (inhaled or contact) accounts for up to 90% of the allergies that cause allergic dermatitis. And not only that, but dogs with atopy can also have food allergies at the same time, making diagnosis and treatment difficult.
For instance, you might think that a dog with itchy paws and continual licking on paws is caused by contact allergies, but food allergies also cause itchiness on the paws !