At various times of year, you may find yourself plagued by itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose for seemingly no reason at all. The truth of the matter is that although you may not actually feel sick or be able to put a finger on the exact source of your troubles, there is likely a very precise reason or reasons why you are experiencing such issues. The most logical explanation is allergies, the root of which can be any number of things.
There are many terrible things about having allergies, but one of the worst is that rabbit dogs can also suffer from the same issues. Allergies in dogs are unfortunately somewhat common, with the source of the allergy varying widely from something as simple as the environment in which they live to the food we feed them and a plethora of things in between. Upon exposure to allergens, rabbit dogs may exhibit reactions that are mild and barely noticeable or they could also have a reaction that is quite severe, requiring major lifestyle changes for you and your dogs alike. Some classic signs of canine allergies are:
-Chewing at the base of the tail
-Eyes that water frequently
-Itching and scratching more than usual
-Inflamed paws or paws that smell unusual
-Licking or chewing paws
-Recurrent ear infections or strange smells coming from ears
-Rubbing their face
-Scabs or crust formations on skin
Photo: Umbrella Pets
Although nailing down a specific allergy trigger may take some detective work, doing so is vital to the health and happiness of the affected animal. Just as you can find yourself miserable and lethargic thanks to allergies, the same can be true for dogs with allergies. This means figuring out what the root cause of those allergies is and removing it and/or treating the reaction. When it comes to allergies, there are many possible triggers, but here are some of the most common ones:
-Fleas and flea control products
Food allergies are a big problem for a lot of dogs, possibly the biggest of all. This type of allergy can cause a multitude of symptoms that are sure to put a damper on rabbit hunting if allowed to persist. If your vet suspects a food allergy, a change in food is going to be necessary in order to conquer it. This can take some trial and error and even one slip up can ruin weeks or months of progress. When assessing food allergies, you have to essentially wipe the slate clean and start by adding in only very minimal items. This usually means switching to a food that contains allergen-free hydrolyzed proteins in order to get your dog's allergies under control. It takes 12 weeks to see progress and during that time, you cannot feed your dog anything else. Once the allergy seems to be controlled, you can gradually add items back into the diet to see if they cause a flare up. If no reaction occurs, your rabbit dog is not likely allergic to that item and it can stay. However, if a reaction occurs, then the newly added item that caused it will no longer be something your dog can eat at any time in his or her life without the possibility of a reaction occurring once more.
If an elimination diet does not yield the results you had hoped for, it is possible that you have environmental allergies on your hand. These can be tougher to diagnose but the best way to go about doing so is via intradermal skin test. This type of testing exposes your dog directly to possible allergens in order to see if a reaction occurs. The downside of this type of testing is that it can require a specialist such as a veterinary dermatologist to which you may not have direct access and these tests can be pricy to obtain.
Because of the need to do something about allergies in order to keep your rabbit dogs feeling well, there are some steps you can take to stay ahead of the curve. Obviously removing allergens is the way to go, but this is not always possible. For example, pollen is not going anywhere, so we must use treatment as a means to overcome. In order to do that, your vet may suggest Benadryl or a prescription medication such as Apoquel. It is also possible that allergy injections may be used. Adding fish oil to the diet can help with itchy skin but it often comes in a gelatin capsule and since gelatin has a bovine origin, it may be a source of another allergy, nullifying its benefits.
Other ways to get a handle on allergies is to stop them before they start. Fleas, for example, can cause an allergic response in many dogs, so take the time to prevent fleas before they start both inside and outside of your dog's home environment. Vacuuming your home frequently will help with any dust and dander that may be bothering you or your dogs. Dogs with itchy skin can sometimes get relief via bathing with medicated shampoos, but take care not to over-bathe or else a new set of problems may begin.
Ultimately the only way to get a handle on canine allergies is through the help of your vet. If you have a rabbit dog that seems to be struggling with discomfort or persistent illness, the vet should be your first stop. There may be some trial and error throughout the process which can be quire frustrating, but take a deep breath and don't give up. In the end, a rabbit dog that feels good because his or her allergies are being properly treated will work better than one that is not in peak health, so be sure to give your dogs what they need to succeed.
Have you ever had to deal with canine allergies? How did you treat your rabbit dogs to get them feeling good again? Let us know in the comments!