Is your Golden Retriever an obsessive licker? Do you frequently catch him scratching or biting at his own feet or coat? It can often be hard to know whether it’s allergies or related to another possible health issue.
Just like humans, Goldens can overreact to harmless allergens in the air. If not treated, however, excessive biting and itching of the skin can quickly become the result. Dog allergy season tends to coincide with human allergy season, too. But it's hard sometimes to decipher what the root cause could actually be.
A common type of allergy in dogs is atopy. Atopy refers to environmental allergies ---- a dog’s body releases excess histamine when exposed to higher concentrations of pollen in the air which unfortunately prompts these chronic symptoms.
The most common signs of atopic allergies in dogs are:
Itching / Scratching / Biting / Chewing / Redness inside paw pads and rashes on the body
The itching will likely start seasonally which initially is how you can distinguish between atopy and other types of allergies. But because allergies are often progressive, it’s likely your Golden will eventually become itchy year-round.
If not addressed, secondary bacteria build-up issues due to chronic allergies can also find a home in your Golden's ears and eyes which warrants additional treatment from your Vet.
You can initially help your allergic dog try to fight these awful irritants at home in a few ways ----
Wipe off your dog’s paws to remove allergens after walks ---- Pet grooming wipes are a quick way to remove dander and allergens when a full bath isn’t possible.
Try a hypo-allergenic shampoo ---- You can buy most any related anti-itch shampoo over-the-counter at your local pet or drug store. Look for soothing ingredients like aloe, almond, or coconut butter.
Try a special prescription shampoo from your Vet ---- Medicated, anti-allergy options are also available at your Vet and can help control large areas of inflammation on the skin.
If the chronic skin itching / biting does not stop or you see the rash or redness areas continue to grow under your Golden's coat, please see your Vet immediately for additional advice for "next steps" in treatment.
Your Vet can also assist you with ruling out other allergy possibilities such as fleas, certain ingredients in foods, or direct contact with specific plants or chemicals in your own backyard.
No one wants to see their furry best friend suffer with itchy skin. If you are diligent with recognizing the possible symptoms early, you can find the right combination of what will work to help your Golden feel healthier and itch-free ---- not to mention A LOT happier.
Do you have a Golden Retriever that has battled chronic allergies and/or skin issues in the past? Any advice or home remedy treatments that have worked wonders for your dog? Please share them with us at GRRA. We'd love to hear from you. Here's to Golden Health, everyone!