Dog First Aid: Responding to Allergic Reactions

Most dogs don't have any problems with allergies, but if yours does, it's important to be able to recognize and treat the symptoms. You may have heard that some breeds are more prone to allergies than others (such as the Old English Sheepdog), but even within those breeds, there doesn't seem to be any evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between breed and allergies. The most common signs of an allergic reaction in dogs include itching or scratching in one or multiple areas of the body; coughing or wheezing (which usually indicates difficulty breathing); runny nose and watery eyes; diarrhea; vomiting; hives (also known as urticaria); skin rashes; ear infections; hair loss on their backs or sides near the tailbone area; loss of appetite; changes in behavior such as restlessness or aggression towards other animals or people that they didn't show before getting sick

There are many ways that your dog can get an allergic reaction.

There are many ways that your dog can get an allergic reaction. Allergies can be caused by food, chemicals, pollen, and dust, or other substances. Some dogs have a genetic predisposition to allergies while others may be more sensitive than others. The most common symptom of an allergic reaction is itching but excessive scratching or chewing (especially of the paws), scabs on the skin, and red patches on the skin that may be covered in bumps or rashes are also signs of an allergy issue. It's important to recognize these symptoms early so you can help your pet feel better faster!

What are the signs of an allergic reaction?

  • Redness, swelling, itching, and hives
  • Breathing problems
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Fever (over 101 degrees F) or hypothermia (below 95 degrees F)
  • Weakness, dizziness, and loss of appetite  If you think your dog has eaten something poisonous or has been stung by an insect multiple times--this can be a sign of an allergic reaction.

How do you treat an allergic reaction in your dog?

To treat your dog's allergic reaction, you must first determine what caused it:

  • Was it an environmental allergen? If so, remove the source of the allergen from your dog's environment.
  • Is there anything else in his diet that could be causing problems (e.g., certain foods or treats)? Take away those items for now until you figure out what works best for him.

If he has been prescribed an antihistamine by his vet and is experiencing mild symptoms (redness around eyes), give him one dose every 12 hours at home until he feels better; if he has severe symptoms (loss of consciousness), call 911 immediately! If there are no other signs of distress or discomfort aside from those mentioned above--such as difficulty breathing or swallowing--then simply monitor him until symptoms subside on their own; however, if these additional symptoms do occur then seek immediate medical attention because they may indicate anaphylaxis which requires immediate treatment with epinephrine shots given under direct supervision by trained medical professionals

What to do with emergency equipment?

As a dog owner, it's important to have the right equipment on hand at all times. This includes:

  • An epinephrine auto-injector and/or an antihistamine pill. These can be used as an immediate response to allergic reactions and are recommended by most vets as first aid measures. To learn how these work, read our article on treating allergies in dogs here!
  • A first aid kit with bandages, gauze pads, and tape rolls; hydrogen peroxide; antiseptic wipes; tweezers; scissors; several cotton balls or swabs dipped in water mixed with baking soda if your dog has ingested something toxic (check out our article on poisonous substances for more information). Make sure that everyone who lives in your house knows where this kit is located so they can help administer care if needed!

What to do if your dog is having trouble breathing or swallowing?

If your dog is having trouble breathing or swallowing, it's important to call a veterinarian immediately. If you are unable to get to a vet right away, try keeping your pet calm and comfortable until help arrives.

If your dog is having trouble breathing:

  • Put them in a crate or box with air holes so they can lie down comfortably without having their mouth open wide (which can make breathing more difficult).
  • Offer small amounts of water every 15 minutes or so--but only if they don't seem uncomfortable when drinking; otherwise give them nothing at all! Make sure there's plenty of fresh water available at all times. In the case of a severe allergic reaction where the throat swells shut and prevents eating/drinking fluids may need additional help getting fluids into them through IVs or syringes filled with sterile saline solution (1 teaspoon per 5 lbs body weight).

How can I prevent future allergic reactions?

If your dog has had an allergic reaction, it's important to learn how to prevent future reactions. This can be difficult because dogs are often exposed to allergens through the air or by touching things that contain allergens. Some common allergens include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores

The best way to prevent future allergic reactions is by avoiding these common allergens as much as possible. If you can't avoid them completely, then consider using allergy medication for your dog. You may also want to consider keeping him indoors if he has severe allergies so that he doesn't come into contact with any of the above-mentioned things that cause irritation on his skin or in his nose and mouth (which could lead him back down the path toward having another serious reaction).

If you're worried about allergies, talk to your veterinarian.

If you're worried about allergies, talk to your veterinarian. They can perform a blood test to check for allergies and refer you to a specialist if needed. If they suspect an allergy, they might recommend getting your dog tested as well.

If you do find out that there are certain substances that cause reactions in your dog, learn the signs of an allergic reaction so that it's easier to recognize them in the future. Keep an emergency kit ready at all times and make sure it has everything on this list:

  • Water - For hydration; especially important if someone's been exposed to poison oak or ivy (which can cause serious reactions) or insect bites (which could also lead to serious reactions)
  • A first aid kit - This one contains bandages for cuts/scrapes/burns; antibiotic ointment for wounds; gauze pads for applying pressure when treating wounds caused by puncture wounds from animal bites like those from dogs who've been playing outside without supervision where they may come into contact with dangerous substances such as poison ivy leaves which cause severe irritation when touched


The best way to prevent allergic reactions is to identify them early and treat them promptly. If you're worried about allergies, talk to your veterinarian.


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