By our partner We love doodles.
If you notice dry, flaky skin and red patches on your dear poodle, the poor dog could suffer from skin allergies. Skin allergies are notoriously difficult to identify and treat in dogs. However, as their human friend, you must be vigilant about your dog’s health and look for warning signs.
Here is some useful information regarding skin allergies, treatment options, and other helpful tips to soothe your pup’s irritated skin.
What Dog Breeds are Prone to Canine Skin Allergies?
Skin allergies are common in dogs. However, some are more susceptible to infections than others. These include Spaniels, American and English Bulldogs, Chinese Shar-Peis, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador Retrievers, Pitbull Terriers, and Standard Poodles – the topic of today’s article.
Some standard poodles even suffer from a hereditary skin condition called granulomatous sebaceous adenitis, which causes hair loss and affects the oil glands giving the characteristic ‘moth-eaten’ appearance.
Additionally, food and seasonal changes are the most common causes of skin allergies in poodles, but fleas, bacteria, and viruses can also be responsible.
What are Common Symptoms of Canine Skin Allergies?
Your vet is the ideal person to make any conclusions regarding skin allergies in your poodle. They are more accustomed to recognizing symptoms that might escape your eye and will also be able to prescribe testing to isolate the causative agent. Then an appropriate treatment plan can be discussed and implemented to relieve symptoms. Here are the most common ones:
- Watery eyes
- Ear infections
- Vomiting or stomach upset
- Hair loss (typically from excessive scratching)
- Dry skin or itchy skin
- Constant scratching, rubbing, or licking – especially of front paws
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
If you notice any one of these symptoms, quickly notify your vet. Routine checkups will also reveal any underlying allergies so they can be treated promptly.
How Can I Help my Poodle Right Now?
To provide your furry friend some immediate relief, it is essential to give them a thorough bathing and grooming session to soothe irritated skin. Brushing removes dandruff and dander, allergens attached to your pup’s fur.
Invest in a shampoo that helps their skin and removes unwanted pests, such as fleas that irritate your pet’s skin. Given the non-shedding and hypoallergenic nature of a poodle’s coat, you should only use the best shampoo for poodles to avoid tangled and matted hair, which further irritates your pet’s skin.
Type of Coat
Poodles are a popular dog breed thanks to their unique coat. The long and colorful non-shedding coats make them attractive to pet owners.
However, the coats can be expensive to maintain, and require regular brushing. This is because the long hair becomes matted – causing pain and discomfort for your poodle.
Their unique coat can also be styled to give them a new appearance. For instance, regular brushing causes the tight and curly hair to become puffed up, whereas trimming the coats near the head and tail creates a ‘pompom’ effect.
The most common allergens are contact ones in poodles – and are also the most irritating. A few clips of the coat usually reveal the sections of the skin which is most affected. However, areas with thinner coats offer less protection and increase the risk of allergen contact.
You will also notice that your poodle might excessively gnaw on their paws in case of a skin allergy. Furthermore, sores and hair loss are also observed in affected areas and can become infected if left untreated.
The Keys to Fixing Dry Skin on a Poodle
The worst symptom that causes the most irritation to your poodle as a result of allergies is dry skin. Solving dry skin issues in poodles mainly involves controlling the trigger for dry skin and proper moisturizing.
Oftentimes, multiple factors are responsible for causing dry skin in poodles – such as intolerance to certain food additives or resting on uncomfortable surfaces. All underlying issues need to be addressed to get satisfactory results.
Dry skin treatment involves multiple steps such as switching shampoos, making additions to their diet, changing their environment, using sprays and so on. Failure to comply with any of these changes makes it difficult to improve your pup’s condition.
Causes of Skin Allergies
There are many factors that can trigger allergies in your poodle. Sometimes, multiple triggers are responsible for the allergy. Here are the most common causes.
- Food Allergies
The most common foods that cause allergies are red meat, chicken, dairy and wheat. There may be characteristic itchy skin near the paws and ears, and gastrointestinal problems like vomiting, diarrhea and constipation.
- Environmental Allergies
These comprise of dust, grass and pollen, and more difficult to avoid. Even household items like cleaning products, perfumes, candles can act as irritants. However, the most notable culprit is probably the seasonal changes during spring and summer. The pollen and other allergens cause your poodle’s muzzle, groin, ears, paws, armpits and space between the toe pads to be affected.
- Fleas and Other Critters
This results from an allergic reaction to the saliva of fleas and other parasites. Fleas, dust mites, and other parasites cause an immune response from their bites, which cause red, irritated skin with crusty scabs. These are most notably seen at the base of the tail, neck, paws, legs, and other areas.
Treatment of skin allergies often depends on determining the cause of the allergic reaction. Once you find the incriminating allergen, it is important to minimize exposure for effective treatment. Here is how to handle different allergy triggers.
- Environmental Allergies
There is often little to be done to control environmental factors that trigger allergies. Keeping a clean house and regularly cleaning your pets is the ideal action. Moreover, discuss with your vet regarding treatment plans – such as antihistamines – to bring your pup relief.
- Flea Allergies
Flea allergy treatment mainly involves prevention rather than cure. Fleas and ticks are tiny pests that can greatly affect your pet’s skin. Consistent, appropriate use of a high-quality flea prevention medication is usually the best option.
Additionally, you will also need to protect your house from infesting fleas and ticks. Invest in a flea and tick home and garden spray for pest control.
- Food Allergies
An 8-week elimination diet is recommended to first diagnose a food allergy, and then to identify the causative agent behind the allergy. Avoid the allergen once isolated and discuss healthier alternatives to avoid deficiency. Sometimes, food additives and artificial food color are the reason for skin reactions.
- Lifestyle Changes
If your dog is allergic to pollen, avoid early morning or evening walks. Instead, take walks in the midday when the pollen count is low. When pollen is unavoidable, wipe your puppy with pet wipes after playing outside. This also helps removes dust and other environmental allergens.
Bathing with a medicated shampoo is a good option but avoid frequent baths, which can strip them of natural oils and cause dry skin. Use wipes between baths to keep them clean.
Key Ingredients to Fight Allergies
A dietary deficiency can also be the culprit for your pup’s skin irritation. Giving more of certain nutrients may be beneficial for your poodle’s coat. Fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids – abundant in fish oil – are an ideal dietary supplements for scaling or dull coats.
Protein-containing amino acids like phenylalanine and methionine are important for collagen synthesis, skin strength, and hair growth. Additionally, vitamins like A, C, E, B3, and B5 as well as minerals like copper and zinc, are also essential for treating dandruff and crusty coat – which causes severe itching and dermatitis. Furthermore, studies on gut microbiomes show that probiotics positively affect canine skin allergies.
Can You Test for Canine Allergies?
There are many tests available to check your canine’s allergic tendencies, so you don’t need to guess them. However, these tend to be very expensive and not always accurate.
Some studies have concluded that food allergy testing using blood and skin is not consistent in dogs. The inaccuracy, coupled with the difficulties of allergy testing, means that it shouldn’t be a routine test for your dogs.
Discuss with your vet whether such testing is beneficial for your pet since they are more experienced in whether the test will be able to identify the allergen.
Dealing with skin allergies can be difficult – especially if you own a poodle. Poodles have sensitive skin and delicate coat, which requires careful grooming to prevent allergies. However, if your pup suffers from skin allergies, it is essential to get to the root of the cause and seek treatment to provide relief.
Remember that in the case of allergies, prevention is better than cure. A well-balanced diet, regular bathing, flea control, and avoiding triggers are the best way to prevent allergies in the first place.