When you think of dogs and allergies, you may think of people with allergies TO dogs. You may not think of the dogs themselves having the allergies. But, like people, dogs can develop allergies to substances in their environment. With German Shepherds, sometimes you can predict allergies based on the dog’s lineage and allergies in ancestors. But, again like people, some dogs are allergic to things just because they’re allergic, even if there’s no family history. Each dog is an individual.
One inherited allergy, atopy, is a skin allergy that includes symptoms like biting the foot, excessive cleaning of the armpit and other areas, and difficulty breathing, or noisy breathing. If your dog has atopy, your vet will recommend measures to deal with the allergy. This will probably start with a change in diet but always talk to your vet before starting such a change.
Many dogs have food allergies, as well. German Shepherds sometimes have a condition in which they can’t digest some nutrients, including some proteins, correctly. Symptoms of this kind of allergy would include biting at the coat, and any kind of digestive symptom. If your dog can’t keep food down, you need to consult with your vet about how to discover the cause and treat it.
Another allergy to watch out for, which can be very hard to diagnose, is an allergy to a flea bite or bites. If your dog develops a “hot spot,” a place where the skin is warm to the touch and possibly raw or oozing, get to the vet immediately. These allergies often show up on the stomach and in armpits, where fleas bite, so be very alert.
Any time your dog acts strangely or appears to be ill or just out of sorts, try to find out what’s going on, and look for symptoms of allergies. If you don’t find a suitable explanation, or you do and that explanation is allergies, consult your vet on what to do to help your pet.
We love our pets, and we want them to be well, safe and comfortable. They can’t tell us what’s wrong, and they can’t just take a Benadryl when they have allergy symptoms. They rely on us to know something is wrong, take them to the doctor and take care of them. While some allergies can be hard to identify, if you pay attention to your pet, you’ll know when something is not right, and you can take action to get help for your friend.