Is your dog constantly scratching? This does not necessarily have to be an indication of flea infestation or other parasites. Like humans, four-legged friends often suffer from intolerances and allergies. These are manifested by various symptoms. Itching can be a first sign of a contact allergy.
Contact allergy in dogs: symptoms and possible triggers
A contact allergy is a skin disease that occurs relatively rarely compared to other allergies, but can also be uncomfortable for the animal concerned. Contact with certain materials triggers an allergic reaction with severe itching. As a result, the animal's body reacts with redness, swelling and raised areas of the skin. Crusts, small ulcers form and the skin becomes sore and cracked. The allergy is particularly pronounced on hairless parts of the body or on those that come into constant contact with the allergy trigger. These include the belly, mouth, collar area and paws.
The main causes of contact allergy are rubber, metals, certain fragrances or cleaning agents. Dogs often come into contact with rubber through dog toys, for example, an allergic reaction to metals can be seen after a meal from a stainless steel bowl. Dog shampoos and detergent for the dog blanket can also trigger a contact allergy. Consider these options if your four-legged friend shows allergic symptoms after bathing or after sleeping.
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Does your dog have a contact allergy? Here's how to find out
Accurate diagnosis of contact allergy is anything but easy, as conventional allergy tests cannot be performed on dogs. You can only find out if there is a contact allergy by trying and observing. If you suspect a trigger, avoid that your dog comes into contact with the material or fabric. If the symptoms improve, a contact allergy is very likely. If the symptoms persist, you need to test other possible triggers. In some cases, a skin biopsy at the veterinarian can also help with diagnosis and research into the cause.
Tips for treating a contact allergy
To alleviate the acute symptoms, you can carefully wash the affected skin areas with lukewarm water. Ointments and medications prescribed by the veterinarian usually bring about an improvement quickly. However, make absolutely sure that your dog does not constantly irritate the affected areas by licking and nibbling.
Unfortunately there is no cure for contact allergy. Essentially, the only way to help your dog is to avoid contact with the triggers of the allergy. If your dog is allergic to rubber, in the future offer him toys made of wood, cotton or other natural materials. If you have an allergic reaction to metal, choose plastic or ceramic food bowls, for example.