Eye Allergies in Dogs
Your dog’s eyes can be affected by allergies in the same way that yours can be, and for many of the same reasons. If you notice that your dog has a discharge from his eyes, or if they are red and irritated, or if your dog acts like his eyes are painful, then you should consider that he might have an allergy that is affecting his eyes. You should take your dog to the vet so you can find out what is causing the problem. Your dog could have an eye allergy or there could be some other eye problem.
Eye allergies are the result of problems with the dog’s immune system. This usually occurs when your dog’s body has a reaction to something in his environment or in his food. In many cases your dog’s body will have other allergy symptoms such as itching and redness on the body, ear infections, or other signs of an allergy, but eye symptoms can also show up as allergy symptoms. The eyes can become inflamed and irritated. A condition called allergic conjunctivitis is one of the most common kinds of eye allergies found in dogs.
Some of the specific causes of eye allergies include:
- Dairy products
- Flea bites
- Food additives
- Food preservatives
- Insect bites
As you can see, many of these allergens are also triggers in humans.
The symptoms of eye allergies in dogs are usually easy to observe. They include:
- Clear discharge of tears form the eyes
- Mild pain
If your dog has an eye allergy, you should take him to the vet for a diagnosis. The exact treatment for your dog’s eye allergy will depend on the cause. For example, if your dog’s allergy is caused by flea bites, then you will need to treat for fleas, as well as treating your dog for the allergy. If your dog’s allergy is caused by food additives or food preservatives, then you will probably need to change your dog’s food, as well as treating for the allergy.
The allergy itself is typically treated with antihistamines. When your dog has an allergic response to something the body releases histamines as a defense. When the body detects what it considers a foreign substance, such as an allergen, it releases histamines to attack it. Unfortunately, this often causes inflammation, itching, and other allergic reactions. It is like an over-reaction on the body’s part. Treatment with antihistamines causes this histamine reaction to subside. Over-the-counter Benadryl is an antihistamine and it can be given to your dog to help treat eye allergies. Ask your vet to tell you how much Benadryl you should give your dog.
Antihistamines can make your dog sleepy. They can have other side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea. Remember to talk to your vet before giving your dog any antihistamine.
In addition to treating with histamines to reduce the allergic reaction, and trying to remove the allergens, you should wash your dog’s eyes frequently with an eye wash provided by your vet.
You can also help your dog’s eye allergy by giving him antioxidants and providing supplements of omega-3 fatty acids.
Eye allergies in dogs can occur for many of the same reasons they occur in humans. If your dog has other allergies, then his eyes may be affected. If you suspect that your dog has an eye allergy you should take him to see your vet. The usual treatment is to remove the cause of the allergy and to give your dog antihistamines. Follow your vet’s advice.