Dog Eye Allergies
Dog eye allergies consist of symptoms similar to humans – red, puffy, watery eyes combined with a runny nose and potentially itchy skin. These are all symptoms allergy sufferers know well. Did you know that many dogs also suffer from eye and skin allergies?
Unfortunately, eye allergies are common in all dog breeds. These conditions can appear as early as six months but may not appear until after your furry friend has turned one or two years old. In fact, dog eye allergies often develop over time because of repeated exposure to dust, mold, pollen, dander, fabrics, food ingredients or other irritants.
Ultimately, dogs of any age can develop eye and skin allergies. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help soothe your pet’s allergies and make him or her more comfortable. We have put together an overview of the types of eye allergies, diagnoses, common treatments, and preventative approaches to improve your dog’s health.
Types of Dog Eye Allergies
Allergic reactions are the result of your dog’s immune system being overly sensitive to an irritant in their environment. Much like humans, canines can be allergic to dust, mold, wool, cotton and other materials around your home. In addition, chicken, beef, corn and other foods can also cause allergic reactions in dogs.
Your pet’s outdoor environment may also contribute to their allergies. Fleas and other insects can cause skin rashes, itchiness, inflammation or other signs of allergies in your beloved companion. Similarly, tree pollen, grasses or other foreign matter could irritate your furry friend’s eyes and cause a reaction.
Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to allergic reactions than others are. For example, Bichon Frise dogs are more at risk for allergies to beef, chicken and corn than other, larger dogs. You may want to research common health conditions for your dog’s breed to help narrow down the potential cause for its allergic reaction.
Diagnosis of Dog Eye Allergies
The most common signs of allergies are skin rashes, itchiness or intestinal issues. For example, dogs may chew their paws or bite other areas in response to an allergy. Your dog’s eyes can also provide clues that he or she is suffering from allergens.
If you notice that your dog’s eyes are frequently red, watery or inflamed, then it is possible he is sensitive to something in or around your home. Milky fluid or pus around your dog’s eyes may be a sign of dog conjunctivitis. Allergies could be one cause for this condition, but a bacterial infection in your pet’s eyes could also be to blame.
In either case, we recommend that you take your dog to the vet or to another qualified health professional if these symptoms last for more 48 hours. Your vet will be able to conduct skin tests and other analyses to see what foods or substances irritate your dog’s eyes, skin or intestinal tract.
A qualified vet will also be able to tell you if the allergens are the main cause of the milky discharge or pus by your dog’s eyes or if a bacterial infection is to blame. A bacterial infection would require a different treatment approach than an allergic reaction.
Dog Eye Allergy Treatment
The good news is that dog eye allergies are highly treatable if identified early. Before you go to the vet, you can try using a saline solution to flush the allergens out of your dog’s eyes. However, long periods of inflamed, red eyes may result in a loss of vision for your beloved companion.
If these symptoms persist for more than two days, then your vet may prescribe special eye drops to help reduce the inflammation. Furthermore, your vet may perform allergy tests that will tell you what substances irritate your pet’s immune system. In some cases, specialized diet may be required to avoid meats, corn or other proteins that may be causing the itchy eyes.
Dog eye conjunctivitis may require medications or steroid ointments to treat your dog’s eyes. However, these steroids can potentially damage your pet’s eyes or have other negative consequences. It is best to give these treatments to your dog under a vet’s supervision.
Once you identify the reason for your dog’s red, watery eyes, then you can take steps to prevent future reactions. For example, if allergy testing reveals that your dog is allergic to chicken, you can avoid foods with chicken, chicken meal or other similar ingredients in them to minimize the risk for future issues.
Even if testing does not reveal the cause for the allergic reaction, you can still try to reduce the likelihood of recurrences. We would recommend working with your vet on a trial and error approach to see what reduces inflammation, itching and other negative symptoms that your dog is experiencing.
It may take some time to change one item of your dog’s environment at a time. However, it could allow you to identify what substances cause your companion’s symptoms to flare up. From there, you can develop a plan with your vet that may help manage your dog’s symptoms and help them feel better.