Dogs were the first-ever domesticated animal in the world. But that’s not to say today’s dogs are already perfect. They, too, still have flaws just like us.
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They get sick. They age. And they will eventually have to leave us. The most important part is that you did your best to give them a good life, just like how they did to you.
The same can be said with German shepherd allergies. You can rest easy knowing that you’ve done your best to help them overcome such challenges.
However, you can’t really say that you’ve done your best if you didn’t even spend time learning about the allergies of German shepherds.
This article aims to help you take the first step to ensure that your GSD will no longer have to endure allergies.
A Brief Introduction to German Shepherd Allergies
An allergy is a response of the immune system to substances that come in contact with or get inside the body.
This usually involves substances such as fur, pollen, and even food. These substances are called allergens and are the cause of German shepherd allergies.
You may think that it should be fine if the immune system is responsible for it.
However, it is actually a mistake on the side of the immune system as it damages the body.
There are different responses that the immune system can do, such as itchiness, dizziness, and more. And just like that, different dog breeds also have a different set of immune responses to allergens.
According to statistics, 10% of all dogs develop allergies. So some breeds are prone to allergies, while others are not. Unfortunately, German shepherds drew the short straw and are, therefore, prone to allergies.
The susceptibility to allergies is typically genetic. In some cases, a German shepherd that has a higher tendency to develop allergies can produce offspring prone to allergies.
However, this does not mean the offspring will inherit this trait 100% of the time. But it also goes in the opposite way. A German shepherd that has no allergy may produce offspring that has allergies.
Regardless, genetics still play a major role in determining a dog’s susceptibility to allergies. However, if you are allergic to dogs, you might want to consider adopting a hypoallergenic German shepherd.
Different Kinds of German Shepherd Allergies
There are many types of allergies in German shepherds. However, being dogs, types such as drug allergies are barely possible. As such, there are only three types that are common to German shepherds.
- Food Allergy: This is an immune response that happens once the dog eats certain food. The severity of the allergy is proportional to the amount of food taken by the German shepherd. Food allergies, in its simplest form, the more you eat that food, the longer and more extreme the symptoms will be.
- Skin Allergy: This type of allergy, as the name suggests, mainly affects the skin. And just like with food allergies, the more exposure the dog gets to the allergen, the stronger the skin allergy will be.
- Environmental Allergy (including seasonal allergies): This allergy is often caused by elements in the environment, hence the name. Seasonal allergies can be considered environmental, although it only happens in a certain period in a year. For example, a dog may be allergic to pollen released by plants that only bloom in February.
How Can You Tell What Allergy Your Dog Has?
An allergy can’t be called “allergy” if there aren’t any symptoms. But rest assured because they’re usually not life-threatening. Only a very few exceptions of German shepherd allergies took lives.
Depending on the kind of German shepherd allergy, the indications and causes may vary. Regardless, there will always be a way to tell what kind of allergy your German shepherd has.
Food Allergy: The signs often involve your German shepherd’s digestive system. Some cases affect even skin. Regardless, here are some of the signs that your GSD developed a food allergy.
- Vomiting, Nausea
- Swelling in the throat, lips, face, and tongue
One of the most common types of food allergies is the infamous German shepherd chicken allergy which consists of more severe symptoms than normal.
Skin Allergy: German shepherd food allergies and skin allergies are a bit connected in the way that hives can be seen as a symptom of both. There are, however, other symptoms of skin allergy besides hives. Here’s a look at the most common ones:
Typically, your German shepherd will have to endure these symptoms for 2 to 4 weeks before they fade away.
Environmental Allergy: The symptoms of this type of allergy are not that damaging. The worst it can do is make your German shepherd’s life a bit uncomfortable. Common symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Lower energy levels
There are also health issues that have these symptoms as well. That’s why it would also be helpful when finding out your German shepherd’s allergies by remembering if your GSD encountered a trigger that caused the allergy.
Food Allergy: As previously mentioned, this allergy develops only after the dog eats a portion of certain food. For example, a German shepherd chicken allergy will only develop after the dog eats a chicken food product.
To give you an idea of what to avoid, some of the most common causes of food allergies are milk, nuts, wheat, and chicken ingredients such as eggs.
The symptoms may start to show after at least a few minutes or even as long as 15 minutes once the food allergen is ingested.
Skin Allergy: It is often caused when the German shepherd comes in contact with a particular substance.
It can take anywhere from 12 hours to 3 days after the dog comes in contact with the allergen for these symptoms to show.
Environmental Allergy: This is often associated with skin allergies, but instead of coming in contact with objects like steel, wood, or plastic, the allergen lies in the environment.
In short, what seems to be harmless can be what triggers environmental allergies. This includes dust, pollen, and more.
Diagnosis of allergies in German shepherds is often done before they develop allergies although some do it right after the symptoms.
Blood Test: This type of diagnosis checks the German shepherd’s blood to examine antibodies if it is triggered by certain allergens. It is often done for checking environmental allergens.
Skin Test: Veterinary dermatologists are the right person for this job. During the test, they inject into your dog different allergens. Obviously, it checks for German shepherd skin conditions which may be a response to these various allergens injected into the dog.
Saliva Test: As you may have already guessed, this test is used to check for food allergies. It involves getting a saliva sample and exposing it to different food to know which of them is the most problematic.
After confirming the development of your German shepherd’s allergies, you should make haste in coming up with a way to treat it.
German Shepherds Allergies Treatment
As soon as you see the aforementioned symptoms in your German shepherd, treatment should be prioritized. Again, the treatment will vary according to the kind of allergy.
- Food Allergies: Your German shepherd is likely to have trouble breathing or experience dizziness. So make sure you let him rest for a while. Also, consider using a warm or cold compress brag to any swelling part of their body.
- Skin Allergies: You can use anti-itch cream on your dog if he’s having itchy skin. You can also soak a piece of cloth and press it against the skin of your German shepherd. If you’re done with all this, take your dog to a shower to ease rashes.
- Environmental Allergies: There isn’t much to do after a German shepherd develops environmental allergies. For what it’s worth, letting your dog rest may help a bit.
Fortunately, you can now help your dog avoid allergies while feeding them at the same time. That’s because the advancements today offered us the best dog food for German shepherds with skin allergies and environmental allergies.
Preventing Allergies in German Shepherds
While some consider it as treatment, the best way to help your German shepherd overcome allergies is to prevent them from happening in the first place.
There are several ways to do this, one involves doing natural things while the other involves medicine and injections.
Natural Allergy Prevention
If you took notes of what we discussed until this point, you should have an idea of how to naturally prevent allergies. Regardless, here are some tips in preventing allergy the old-fashioned way.
For environmental allergies
- Since environmental allergens are literally in the air, preventing this isn’t going to be easy. Either way, you still need to minimize its risks.
- Keep tabs on what your German shepherd does outside, as there may be allergens.
- Consider getting rid of plants that give off pollen.
- Regularly clean the outside of your house to avoid too much buildup of dust.
- Close the windows to avoid any allergens from going inside the house.
- Don’t let your German shepherd into the bed as there may be dust all around.
For skin allergies
- The simplest way to prevent skin allergies is to avoid as much contact with objects as much as possible.
- Restrict your German shepherd to wide areas, since tight places may be the cause of a German shepherd’s itchy skin.
For food allergies
- Unfortunately, the only way to prevent food allergies is to not let your dog eat the food they’re allergic to.
- There are over-the-counter medicines for preventing skin and environmental, but sadly, there aren’t any for food allergies.
Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is the best and most efficient way to prevent allergies through the use of man-made methods.
It is where your German shepherd is injected with small doses of allergens so they can get used to it. While it doesn’t make them completely immune to the allergen, it does lower the chances of developing allergies.
This does not work overnight. It might even take a year for the effects to show. There are, however, side effects for every injection, although it won’t be a traumatic experience for the dog.
Being a pet owner, you should already know how heavy the responsibility is for owning German shepherds, let alone any single dog.
However, once you buy or adopt a dog, you have now taken that responsibility and it is therefore required of you to prepare yourself to take care of your German shepherd. This includes minimizing the risks of your German shepherd developing allergies.
That’s what this blog post had shown you. Now, you are knowledgeable of what allergies really are, their types, and their signs. You even learned about treatments and preventions. At this point, you are already prepared for the worst German shepherd allergies.