Beagle Allergic Reaction: Signs & Symptoms
There is a roughly 20 to 25% probability that your beagle will exhibit signs of an allergic reaction in their lifetimes. As such, it is something that has to be addressed. My dog, Skyler; had a bee-sting when he was a puppy, and I almost freaked out when he had an adverse reaction. Not knowing what would be safe to give him (if anything), before we got him over to the vet, it leads me to the question: “Does my beagle have allergies?”
What Are Beagle Allergies?
A beagle can experience an allergic reaction occur when their immune system has a hypersensitive response to a normally harmless substance, and release chemicals like histamine to get rid of normally harmless substances called allergens, that either enter or come into contact with their body.
Histamine triggers their body to push the allergens out, using their nose, eyes, or mouth as exit routes, which creates inflammation and general allergy-related symptoms in the process.
Taking note of their signs and symptoms can help determine which type of allergy your beagle has, and provide guidance toward resolving the issue.
How Are Beagles Allergy Tested?
Diagnosing an allergy should always be done in conjunction with your veterinarian.
A beagle is tested in different ways depending on the suspecting cause of their allergic reaction. For example, blood test and pin-prick tests commonly narrow down environmental allergens, while insect-related allergens are usually identified directly on your beagle’s skin.
Food allergies are solely tested using the exclusion diet, as other methods have proven unreliable.
The 4 Types Of Beagle Allergic Reactions
A beagle allergy can be brought on by many different factors. Generally, the beagle’s allergic reactions will fall into one of these following four categories: Flea/parasite, food, contact and environmental.
Ticks, mites, fleas and other parasites are something that nearly all beagles encounter in their life. Most of the time, once they are removed, your beagle doesn’t have an adverse reaction. However, some beagles will develop an allergy. A parasite’s saliva is usually the catalyst for the allergic reaction.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Extreme licking
- Excessive scratching
- Scabs or lesion formation on the skin
- Alopecia (hair loss)
As with most insect-related bites, the symptoms tend to be more common during the warmer months, and as your beagle ages.
Treating an allergic reaction involves removing the parasite, either with topical medicine or by grooming. This should effectively end the reaction.
If something more aggressive is necessary to combat the reaction, your veterinarian may prescribe corticosteroids, antihistamines or antibiotics for a secondary infection.
Food hypersensitivity can occur at any time. Consequentially, corticosteroids and antihistamines are not commonly effective in combating this type of allergy.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Asthma (occasional)
- Bronzing around their lips
- Chronic ear infections
- Itchy skin, red underbelly, and dull coat
- Loss of appetite
- Red, brown or bronze nail beds
- Watery eyes
Instead, an elimination technique is often deployed. In these circumstances, your veterinarian will recommend omitting specific ingredients, one at a time.
Once the offending catalyst is identified, it is imperative to exclude your dog’s allergen from any of their consumables in the future.
Although all dogs are different, certain foods are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in beagles. They include kangaroo, gluten-free oatmeal, potato, and venison. Okay, I’m officially hungry.
Contact allergies are brought on by an allergen coming into contact with your dog’s skin. This could be something as seemingly innocuous as shampoo, or even their bedding.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Discharge from the affected area
- Runny eyes or nose
- Scaly, dry or thickened skin
- Secondary bacterial infection
- Skin color change; redness
- Sore patches
- Wounds from chewing, licking or scratching
This allergy type is commonly manifested on their skin as itching or dermatitis and will be localized to the contact point with the allergen. Contact allergies tend to be the least frequent of all types of allergies.
Environmental allergies are originated by allergens that your beagle inhales.
Fortunately, this kind is often seasonal relating to specific plants that grow at certain times of the year. Nonetheless, they can occur year-round as well. Dust, mold, mildew, and pollen are prime year-round examples.
For those that are localized to the inside of the home, regular vacuuming and cleaning can facilitate less allergic reactions of this type. Just be sure not to use anything potentially toxic cleaning products near your beagle.
Can Beagles Be Allergic To Cats Or Other Dogs?
Simply, Yes. Beagles can experience environmental allergies to a cat or dog dander. Dander is tiny particles of shed skin and hair.
Treatment Of Beagle Allergies
Treatment of allergies encompasses addressing the symptoms and removing the allergen whenever possible. As expected, always consult with your veterinarian before applying any treatment to your beagle.
Zyrtec is now a more popular antihistamine over the acclaimed Benadryl, as it is less likely to make your beagle drowsy. It can be given once a day.
Granted, while both are generally deemed safe, Benadryl can make him or her drowsy, and it must be given 2-3 times during the day.
Atarax is another one that is available, but that is available solely by prescription.
Inflammation usually goes hand-in-hand with the allergic response. In accordance, your veterinarian will likely prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Natural anti-inflammatories are quite popular with owners of dogs with allergies.
Basil, ginger, fish oil, and vitamin C are great examples.
Essential oils are extracted from plants, used to create holistic medicine.
Bear in mind, although they have not scientifically proven to help, throngs of people swear by them for themselves and for their beagles.
Lemongrass and citronella can act as a natural insect repellent. Lemon, peppermint, and thyme can ease respiratory symptoms. Peppermint, chamomile, and lavender can soothe skin reactions.
Two major caveats: Only use diluted, therapy-grade essential oils on your dog. The human-grade concentration will be too strong. Also, some oils are incredibly toxic to your beagle. These include camphor, tea tree, and pennyroyal. Always check to ensure that your dog will not experience toxicity.
Hyposensitization, also known as allergen immunotherapy or allergy shots, involves building up your beagle’s resistance to an allergen by introducing small amounts of it. Gradually, the allergen is progressively increased until the dog is no longer allergic to the stimuli.
This technique is more practical, when removing an allergen may not be plausible, such as an allergy to ragweed or grass, etc..
After all, you don’t want your beagle living in a bubble, right?
Safer Home Environment
Provide fresh, clean drinking water. Not just us humans deserve this. Make sure that your beagle has water that doesn’t contain fluoride or other contaminants.
Assess the air quality of your beagle’s environment. Remember their noses are exponentially more sensitive to when it comes to identifying toxins in the air, which includes if you have any smokers in your household. In addition, make sure you’re using non-toxic cleaning products and other products, as that will dramatically reduce the level of exposure they have to environmental toxins.
Bathe your pet. If your beagle has irritated skin, bathe him or her. It can bring immediate relief to a coat crammed with potential allergens.
Do not over-vaccinate or over-medicate your pet. It can make an otherwise healthy immune system over-reactive and more prone to allergic reactions.
As with humans, there are droves of people that feel that allergies in beagles are becoming more and more common, due to an increasing prevalence of synthetic chemicals in their food and around our homes.
Being an active participant in your dog’s well-being will help in curbing these issues, and lead to a fuller, happier and healthier life for both of you.
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