A contact allergy is an unpleasant matter for the dog. Itching, swelling or eczema indicate that the animal is no longer comfortable in its skin. You can find tips on recognising the symptoms of a contact allergy and how it can be treated here.
Is your dog constantly scratching? This does not necessarily have to indicate a flea infestation or other parasites. Like humans, four-legged friends often suffer from intolerances and allergies. Various symptoms manifest. Itching can be the first sign of a contact allergy.
Contact allergy in dogs: symptoms and possible triggers
A contact allergy is a skin condition that is relatively rare compared to other allergies but can be just as uncomfortable for the affected animal. Contact with certain materials triggers an allergic reaction with severe itching. As a result, the animal’s body reacts with reddening, swelling and elevation of the skin. Crusts form, small sores form, and the skin becomes sore and cracked. The allergy manifests itself particularly strongly on hairless parts of the body or on those that constantly come into contact with the allergy trigger. This includes the stomach, mouth, collar area and paws.
The primary triggers for a contact allergy are rubber, metals, certain fragrances or cleaning agents. Dogs often contact rubber through dog toys; an allergic reaction to metals is evident, for example, after a meal from a stainless steel bowl. Dog shampoos and detergents for the dog blanket can also trigger a contact allergy. Consider these options if your four-legged friend shows allergy symptoms after bathing or sleeping.
Does your dog have a contact allergy? Here’s how to find out
Accurately diagnosing a contact allergy is anything but easy, as conventional allergy tests cannot be performed on dogs. You can only find out if you may have a contact allergy by trying it out and observing it. If you suspect a trigger, avoid letting your dog contact the material or fabric. If the symptoms improve, a contact allergy is very likely. If the symptoms persist, you need to test other possible triggers. In some cases, a skin biopsy by the veterinarian can also help with the diagnosis and research into the cause.
Tips for treating a contact allergy
To relieve the acute symptoms, you can gently wash the affected areas of the skin with lukewarm water. Ointments and medication prescribed by the vet usually bring about a quick improvement. However, make sure that your dog does not constantly irritate the affected areas by licking and nibbling.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for contact allergies. Essentially, the only way you can help your dog is by avoiding exposure to allergy triggers. If your dog is allergic to rubber, offer him toys made of wood, cotton or other natural materials in the future. For example, if you have an allergic reaction to metal, choose plastic or ceramic feeding bowls.