When dogs get allergies, they usually lick and scratch rather than cough and sneeze. Food is not always the problem, but when it is, there are two ways of dealing with the problem. One is to identify the food allergy and change you pets diet. The other is to treat with fish oil. Let's consider both approaches so you can choose the method that makes more sense to you.
How Dogs and People Differ
People get allergies often develop sneezing, wheezing, coughing, itching, and tears. Dogs who get allergies also develop sneezing, wheezing, coughing, itching, and tears, but because they can't run down the drugstore and buy Benadryl to they usually try scratching, licking, biting, and rolling in unmentionable substances they find out doors. Usually the dog's allergy is caused by food, but before dogs develop allergies to food, they usually develop allergies to fleas.
An Important First Step
You can save your pet and your household many, many problems by eliminating fleas. Dogs who never develop allergies to fleas usually don't develop allergies to foods. It is a lot easier to get rid of fleas that it is to figure out what your canine companion is allergic to later.
If you decide to try a flea shampoo, make doubly sure that the shampoo itself is not allergenic. Either use a neem shampoo, or test a tiny dab of shampoo on your dog's coat, waiting 24 hours to make sure your pet does not break out. If the shampoo causes skin irritation, don't use it!
Identifying Problem Foods
Dogs develop allergies to horse meat, soy, milk, cornmeal, eggs, yeast, wheat, and food dyes. Increasing numbers of dogs are also allergic to lamb. The way to figure out which food is causing your pet's problem is to eliminate all commercial dog food, feeding a mixture of cooked chicken and rice. Then add just one food back at a time, every 3 or 4 days, and see how your dog reacts. If a food seems to cause itching, scratching, biting, or rolling in doggie doo, don't serve that food again.
Also Possible to Get Allergy Testing
If this procedure is too complicated, it's possible to get allergy testing. A company called Bio-Medical Services can take a frozen blood sample delivered by your vet's office and test for over 2,000 possible allergies, for about US $1500. They can then design a custom hypoallergenic dog food that will only cost you US $27 to $163 per week, per dog. You may also be advised to buy special chew toys, heartworm medications, and dog beds and houses.
Or There is Fish Oil
If you don't have time to do become your dog's personal chef, and you can't afford vet bills, there is another approach. Give your dog fish oil. The omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish oil (any brand that is OK for humans is OK for dogs) reduce the production of inflammatory hormones triggered by allergies.
How Much Fish Oil For My Dog
One capsule per day, opened and spread over food, is the right dosage for dogs that weigh 20 pounds or more. One capsule every other day is best for smaller dogs. For just pennies per treatment, you may be able to help your dog achieve a beautiful, healthy coat, keeping the whole family happier.