How To Alleviate Dog Allergies At Home
There are some steps that you can take to make life with a dog much easier. Here are some suggestions from Dr. Hong.
- Keep your dog out of your bedroom. This will help you breathe easier while youre resting or getting dressed. You can even use a HEPA air cleaner in your bedroom as an extra precaution.
- If you have carpet and arent in a position to remove it, steam clean it frequently. If you have hardwood floors and use throw rugs, wash them in hot water regularly. Use a damp cloth on hard floors to pick up pet allergens.
- If youve been around your dog or other dogs for an extended period of time, change your clothes right after to reduce the occurrence of an allergic reaction.
- Cover bedroom vents with a dense filtering material like cheesecloth since air conditioning and heating can spread dander and other allergens throughout your home.
- Use a HEPA filter for central heating and air conditioning units to contain pet allergens that might be floating around.
- If you havent discussed your allergies in-depth with your healthcare provider, talk to them about treatment options like medicine or immunotherapy.
- Bathe your dog regularly. Its possible to be allergic to the pollen on your dogs coat when they go outdoors.
What Does An Allergy Mean For German Shepherd
An allergy is when the bodys immune system responds inappropriately to a substance, causing a reaction to something which normally would not pose a threat to the body.
The substances which trigger an allergic reaction in dogs include things such as different types of food, insect bites, medications, or environmental triggers such as dust or pollen.
The allergic reaction to this substance can cause a wide range of symptoms which may affect different body systems including the skin, eyes, ears and digestive system.
What Are The Most Common Allergens In German Shepherds
Though your German Shepherd can be allergic to anything in the world around them, there are some common allergens that are known to cause issues for our beloved German Shepherds.
Some of the most common allergens to be aware of in German Shepherds include:
Though these are common allergens for German Shepherds, it does not mean that your Shepherd will automatically have a reaction to these items.
Just be sure to monitor for any signs of allergies if you know your Shepherd is exposed to any of these substances or items.
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Long Hair Catches Dandruff
Dandruff may be easy to come loose from a pets skin, but it is also very easy for the dandruff to be trapped. Many fibrous or porous materials can capture dandruff. For instance, dust cloths can easily capture dandruff, and so can the long hairs from a dogs coat. The main reason experts claim people are allergic to pet hair is the dandruff stuck on the hair. The long hair from a long-haired German Shepherds guard coat can easily trap dandruff so you do not have to breathe it in and your allergies can be more controlled.However, long-haired German Shepherds do shed, just not too much. Therefore, they can release some pet dandruff. Long hair only helps to capture some dandruff, just like it only captures some shedding.
Complications Of Allergies In German Shepherds
Not only can allergies cause great discomfort to our German Shepherds, they can also result in medical complications that can impact their daily lives.
Some of the most common complications of allergies in German Shepherds include:
- Skin infections
- Wounds from excessive scratching or biting
- Chronic upper respiratory symptoms
- Eye infections and ulcers from pawing at their eyes
- Fur loss
Secondary infections are one of the most common complications of allergies in German Shepherds.
Skin, ear, and eye infections can become serious if left untreated, making it so important to take the symptoms of allergies seriously when they are first noticed.
If you fear that your German Shepherd is having secondary complications from their allergies, its best to contact your veterinarian.
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Best Diet For An Allergic Dog
The best diet for an allergic dog is one that specifically says hypoallergenic or anallergenic on it. This is where the proteins on the meat have been hydrolysed which means the gut doesnt recognize it as foreign and therefore doesnt react to it.
On the other hand, if you dont want to purchase these sorts of diet, the next best thing is to substitute the diet for one with a novel protein in which the dog has never reacted to before, such as venison, duck, turkey or tuna.
The best supplement to help with itchy skin are omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and have been effective in reducing skin irritations.
However, it would be a good idea to consult your vet about the diet changes before you introduce something new.
If your German Shepherd has food allergies, it will be necessary to change his diet. In most cases, the best diet would be the hypoallergenic one. Including omega-3 fatty acids will help soothe itchy skin.
Are German Shepherds Heavy Shedders
German Shepherds are naturally heavy shedders, which is why theyre not well-suited to owners with allergies to dog hair. They also shed all year round, with the heaviest shedding occurring during shedding seasons the 2-4 week transitions from spring into summer and fall into winter. That said, some dogs can take up to 8 weeks to fully blow their coats.
During the transition from spring to summer, German Shepherds will completely shed their thick winter coats to grow in a thinner, cooler coat for the summer, and this is the heaviest period of shedding throughout the year. Then, at the end of fall, they shed their cool summer coats to grow their warm winter ones back in again.
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Ways To Reduce Allergens In Your Home You Share With A German Shepherd:
There are many ways you can help to reduce the allergens present in your home. Following these tips below will enable you to keep you home as allergen free as possible:
Pet free rooms: It is important you have somewhere you can escape to which is as free as it possible can be from allergens.
We recommend one of these rooms to be the bedroom of where the allergy sufferer sleeps. Although it is almost impossible to confine allergens to certain rooms it should hopefully help to limit the amount present. Which should help to provide a bit of relief at night, allowing for a more settled sleep.
Furniture: If there is a pet allergy sufferer in the home soft furnishings should be kept as pet free as possible.
If you want your German Shepherd to sit up on the couch with you a vinyl or leather material is best as this can easily be wiped down after to reduce the number of allergens.
If you have a fabric couch its best to place a washable throw over it before your German Shepherd comes to join you.
Toys and bed: Washing your German Shepherds toys and bed regularly will help to reduce the number of allergens present in the home.
So, when choosing a bed for your German Shepherd try to ensure it is entirely machine washable, or at least has a removable cover.
Vacuuming: Regularly vacuuming floors, walls, soft furnishings and your German Shepherd is a great way to reduce dander and other allergens in the home.
What Is A Good Elimination Diet For A German Shepherd
As Modern Dog Magazine points out, dogs today are most likely to develop allergies to beef, dairy, wheat, and poultry. Dogs are least likely to develop allergies to fish or rabbits.
So one of the best ways to start your GSD on an elimination diet is to switch your dogs food to a fish or rabbit-based protein source.
However, remember that sometimes a dogs digestive system can also be disrupted when their food is changed. This can be confusing when you suddenly see more symptoms developing or your dogs existing symptoms getting worse.
To minimize digestive disruption from changing your dogs food, try to phase it out over a week-long period.
Start with 90 percent of your dogs old food and 10 percent of the new chicken-free food. Then portion the food out so that by the eighth day, you are feeding 100 percent of the new food only.
Also, be very careful to read the ingredients list on the new food in detail so you can catch any hidden chicken or poultry ingredients such as chicken by-products or meal.
And just for good measure, be sure the food you choose for your GSD is free from all other known allergens like wheat, dairy, and beef. Always ask your veterinarian for guidance if you are having trouble selecting a new food.
When your dog goes on an elimination diet, you will need to stop feeding anything else, including treats, because you wont know at first exactly what is causing the allergy in your GSDs food.
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Bone And Joint Problems
A number of different musculoskeletal problems have been reported in German Shepherd Dogs. While it may seem overwhelming, each condition can be diagnosed and treated to prevent undue pain and suffering. With diligent observation at home and knowledge about the diseases that may affect your friends bones, joints, or muscles you will be able to take great care of him throughout his life.
Intervertebral disc disease is a common condition in Shepherds. The disease is caused when the jelly-like cushion between one or more vertebrae slips or ruptures, causing the disc to press on the spinal cord. If your dog is suddenly unable or unwilling to jump up, go up stairs, is reluctant to move around, has a hunched back, cries out, or refuses to eat or go potty, he is likely in severe pain. He may even drag his back feet or be suddenly paralyzed and unable to get up or use his back legs. If you see symptoms, dont wait. Call us or an emergency clinic immediately! For less severe cases, rest and medication may resolve the problem. In many cases involving paralysis, well recommend surgical removal of the ruptured discs . As with so many other diseases, weight control helps to prevent this problem. You should also use ramps or steps from puppyhood on so that your dog doesnt spend a lifetime stressing his back by jumping on and off of the furniture.
Environmental & Inhalant Allergies In German Shepherds
The second most common cause of allergies in German Shepherds are environmental allergies.
Similar to humans experiencing seasonal allergies to pollen or other plant material, our German Shepherds can suffer the same as well.
Since there are so many different substances and material in the world around our German Shepherds, these types of allergies can be a bit more challenging to diagnose.
Your vet will often diagnose environmental allergies through a process of elimination.
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An Overview Of Dog Allergies
Pet allergies affect 10%20% of the world population. While people are twice as likely to be allergic to cats than dogs, dog allergies can sometimes be more serious than cat allergies.
While some dog breeds may be more likely to trigger allergies than others, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, meaning they don’t trigger allergic reactions at all.
Someone who is allergic to dogs may be able to reduce their symptoms by selecting a certain breed or type of dog with less of a reputation for inciting allergic reactions. This is not a guarantee, though.
Even if you get a less allergenic dog, you will still have to take a number of precautions to decrease or avoid the chances of allergic reactions.
An allergic reaction is an abnormal response of the immune system.
The immune system acts as the bodys main line of defense against foreign substances, but sometimes a persons immune system becomes overly sensitive to certain substances in that individual’s environment. The immune system will react as though they are dangerous or toxic rather than relatively harmless substances.
In the case of a dog allergy, a persons immune system is overreacting to the proteins in the dogs urine, saliva, or dander .
Contrary to popular belief, dog fur itself is not an allergen . Dog dander or dried saliva are often left behind on a dogs fur, though, and these are what actually cause the allergic reaction.
Best Dog Food For German Shepherds With Skin Allergies
German shepherds often suffer from skin allergies. This condition is referred to as atopy by veterinarians. This typically affects the dogs belly, feet, ears, and folds of the skin. The most common signs include frequent ear infections, rubbing the face, and licking the paws.
Fortunately choosing the right type of dog food can often help to alleviate this condition. Below we give a few guidelines on how to choose the best dog food for German shepherds with skin allergies.
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Signs Of Contact Allergies In Your German Shepherd
Contact allergies in German Shepherds bring with them a host of uncomfortable symptoms.
Though each allergy will vary based on the allergen in question, the most common contact allergy symptoms in German Shepherds include:
- Localized skin irritation or redness
- Appearance of burns or severe irritation in one area
- Intense itching or irritation
- Biting or chewing at the skin
- Hot spot in the affected area
- Localized hair loss
A Dog Is More Than Just A Pet
For most dog owners, a pup is more than just an animal who requires time and energy. A dog is a member of the family who brings happiness and unconditional love. Though finding and keeping the best breeds of dogs for your allergy will take extra effort, the prep work is worth it. Taking extra steps to minimize exposure to dander and other allergens allows people with allergies the chance to enjoy the unparalleled companionship of mans best friend.
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Your German Shepherd Dogs Health
We know that because you care so much about your dog, you want to take good care of her. That is why we have summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you over the life of your Shepherd. By knowing about health concerns specific to German Shepherd Dogs, we can tailor a preventive health plan to watch for and hopefully prevent some predictable risks.
Many diseases and health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related to your pets breed. There is a general consensus among canine genetic researchers and veterinary practitioners that the conditions weve described herein have a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed. That does not mean your dog will have these problems it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs. We will describe the most common issues seen in German Shepherd Dogs to give you an idea of what may come up in her future. Of course, we cant cover every possibility here, so always check with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.
Diagnosis Of Allergies In German Shepherds
If you suspect that your German Shepherd may have an allergy you must seek veterinary advice promptly. The severity of symptoms of an K9 allergic response may only be mild at first but they can become more severe over time. The symptoms displayed during an allergic response can also be very uncomfortable for your German Shepherd and may lead to long term problems such as weight loss, hair thinning or skin thickening.
Your veterinarian may advise diagnostic tests such as blood tests, saliva tests or skin allergen testing. They may also recommend elimination trials, particularly when a food allergy is suspected.
Elimination trials involve feeding your German Shepherd a single type of food for 8 to 12 weeks, such as a hypoallergenic dog food like Jiminys Good Grub or Cricket Crave.
If your dogs symptoms resolve after this time then you may wish to continue feeding just this diet, or you could start to reintroduce different food types to identify which one triggers an allergic response.
Sometimes it can be very difficult or even impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of the allergic response, even with extensive testing in these cases the allergic response will need to be treated symptomatically.
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The Type Of Allergy Matters
Even if youre allergic to dogs, you may be able to own a German Shepherd with little to no reaction. Research has shown that the type of dog allergy you have matters. Some dogs do not have the same proteins as other dogs. Therefore, if youre only allergic to a specific protein, then you may be able to get a dog that doesnt have that protein.
Recent research shows that only intact male dogs create the protein called Can f 5. Therefore, if you are allergic to this specific protein, you can get a female dog. The female dog wont cause this reaction. Therefore, a female German Shepherd would be just fine!
There are about six different proteins that can cause reactions in people with dog allergies. Can f 5 is only made in a males prostate gland. A neutered male wont produce much of this protein, and a female wont produce any of it. The specific allergy affects about 30% of those with dog allergies.
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