Triggers and Shots for Dog Allergies
See the video on how to give shots to your dog yourself

adorable fawn pug lying down due to allergies

Triggers

What can you do to reduce your dog’s allergy problems? Lots!

Clean - dust and mites are common allergy triggers especially in homes with wall-to-wall carpeting and lots of upholstered furniture. Vacuum often and use non-toxic cleaning products.

Baths - wash the dog weekly with a soapless shampoo and rinse it off thoroughly

Feathers – if you share your home with winged friends, keep the dog away from the cage and don’t let your dog sleep on down pillows or bedding.

Feet – wash your dog’s feet with cool water before he comes in the house. His feet can track in allergens from the outdoors and spread them throughout the house. If you know grass or pollens bother him, try lightweight booties such as PET-SOO Puppy Dog's Mesh Breathable Ultra Comfort Summer Boot Shoes

Filters - use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air purifiers to reduce airborne allergens

Fleas – use a topical or oral flea prevention all year

Food – use limited ingredient diets with unusual proteins such as rabbit and unusual carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes.

Fragrances - Any strong fragrances can be a problem. Don’t use the plug in wall deodorizers; they’re right at dog nose level. Avoid wearing perfumes around your dog.

Medications - Antibiotics wipe out good bacteria right along with the right balance of gut bacteria is crucial for canine health. Many vets also are concerned about the potential for antibiotic resistance in pets due to overuse of antibiotics.

Smoking – don’t expose your dog to second-hand smoke. It’s as bad for him as it is for you.

Outdoors - avoid the great outdoors during peak allergy times. Those vary depending on where you live but in general, allergies to mold spores peak during hot, humid weather while ragweed peaks in the fall. 

Vaccinations – talk to your vet about this. Your dog needs the core vaccines but too many optional vaccines might send his immune system into overdrive and set the stage for allergic reactions.

Water – your dog needs a continual supply of fresh drinking water but in some areas of the country, the water contains high quantities of heavy metals or other contaminants. You might see if distilled water (not drinking water or bottled water) helps.

Allergy shots

If prevention isn’t doing enough, consider allergy testing described in http://www.toybreeds.com/allergytesting.htm and the use of allergy shots.

The initial cost will be expensive With skin testing and the initial run of shots, you’ll probably be close to $1,000. 

The cost per shot after that including periodic booster can range from $20 per shot to hundreds per month. I have two neighbors (different vets). One gets six month supply for $230 while the other pays $400. Don’t be afraid to call a couple vets and ask about prices.  

The shots will be administered several times per month at first. After a few months, the vet will prescribe 1 or 2 injections per month. You will have to learn how to give your dog the shot.

The desensitization will reduce the allergy symptoms and will be effective after a few months of treatment, depending on the severity of the allergy and your dog’s immune system.

If your dog needs recurring booster shots, your vet’s office should show you how to give the shots yourself. It isn’t difficult once you understand what to do.

Here’s a good video from a vet that shows how to do it yourself. Although it's done with English subtitles, I like how it demonstrates how to fill the syringe without getting an air bubble.

Ask your vet if it's OK to leave the allergy medication out beforehand. That's something you never, ever do with vaccinations but may be acceptable for allergies.

Allergy shots, unlike anti-inflammatory shots such as Prednisone, do not have side effects and it’s possible your dog may get rid of his allergies for good

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