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Dog Allergies: Eyes Symptoms and Treatment

Dog Allergies: Eyes Symptoms and Treatment

puppy wrapped in blanket looking unwell

Dogs are one of the most popular pets around the world and for good reason. They’re adorable, great with kids, and willing to work hard — if they’re trained correctly. And, like all animals, they occasionally experience some annoying allergy symptoms. But it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis to ensure your dog’s safety.

If you’re noticing some itching, or swelling around your dog’s eyes, it’s likely that your dog has an allergic reaction. These side effects can be painful and can sometimes lead to serious health problems for your pet. If you’re unsure of what’s going on with your dog’s eyes, get an expert opinion from your vet. Here, we’ll discuss the symptoms of dog allergies and eye infections what can be done to help your pet.

Causes of Eye Allergies in Dogs

When it comes to dog allergies, their eyes are often the most affected. Dogs can experience an array of eye issues and allergy symptoms. Some of these issues include the following.

Dry Eyes

This is a condition in which the dog's eye does not produce enough tears to keep the eye healthy. This can lead to blurry vision and pain. This is more common in older dogs.

An Overreactive Immune System

While it’s unclear exactly what causes allergies in dogs, it’s likely that your dog’s immune system is overreacting to something it can be environmental factors. This can lead to swelling, and irritation of your dog’s eyes.

Inflammation

An immune response caused by inflammation can lead to swelling, and irritation of your dog’s eyes. In severe cases, it may even lead to blindness if not checked before it progresses too far.

How do Vets Diagnose Dog Eye Allergies?

A veterinarian will perform a complete eye exam on your dog to look for any signs of inflammation and swelling around your dog’s eyes. They may also take a sample of fluid from the eyes. This can be done with an eyelid speculum, which is a small metal tool that gently opens the eyelid.

If inflammation, swelling, or redness is present, the vet may prescribe antibiotics or steroids to reduce these symptoms.

Your dog’s eyes can also be tested for various conditions. If your dog is showing signs of inflammation and swelling around her eyes, they can be tested for various conditions. This includes the following.

Skin Allergy Testing

Your dog’s skin can be tested for various conditions, including allergies. If your dog develops a negative reaction to the common allergens, this is called a negative skin test. Dogs with negative skin tests are less likely to have an allergic reaction to those allergens.

Your veterinarian may recommend a skin test with an allergen that commonly causes allergic reactions in dogs or cats. Common allergens include flea saliva, pollen, and house dust mites. If your dog shows a negative reaction to the allergen, this is called a “sitzmark.” It’s important to note, however, that not all dogs will show a sitzmark to these allergens.

To perform a skin test, your veterinarian will first clean your dog’s skin with an antiseptic solution. This solution is usually alcohol-free and can be purchased directly from the vet. Next, the doctor will apply the allergen to your dog’s skin. Her skin will be stretched taut and held there for 30 minutes. Next, the doctor will check for any signs of inflammation in your dog’s eyes.

Dogs with negative reactions to the allergen would show signs of inflammation around their eyes. Dogs with a positive reaction would show no signs of inflammation or redness around their eyes.

Blood Allergy Testing

Your dog’s blood can be tested for various conditions, including allergies. If your dog develops a positive reaction to the allergen, this is called a “hypersensitivity test.” A positive result can indicate your dog may be allergic to the allergen. Your dog may then require special treatment.

To perform a blood test, your veterinarian will first conduct an allergy test, which checks for a reaction to a specific allergen. If your dog has an allergic reaction, a blood test will confirm the diagnosis. If not, the allergy test will still give your veterinarian an indication of whether your dog is allergic to the allergen so she can make an appropriate recommendation for treatment.

Next, your vet will extract a small sample of your dog’s blood. The sample will then be run through a blood-draw machine. The machine will then inject a small amount of the allergen into your dog’s blood. The sample will then be analyzed to determine how much of the allergen is present.

Food Allergy Testing

Your dog’s stomach can be tested for various conditions, including allergies. Your veterinarian may recommend a stomach biopsy, in which a small sample of your dog’s stomach tissue is removed and tested. Stomach biopsies are only performed on dogs that have experienced vomiting in the past 24-48 hours. This can help your vet determine if your dog has an allergy to the food.

If your dog has a positive reaction to the allergen, this is called a “hypersensitivity reaction.” This means your dog may have an allergy to the food. Your dog will then require treatment and potential prescription medications.

Allergy Symptoms

dog on a bed with sad eyes

Watery Eyes

One of the common symptoms of allergies in dogs is watery eyes or excessive tearing. If your dog's eyes appear red, itchy, and irritated, it's likely that they are suffering from allergies. The inflammation can affect the front part of the eye and the surrounding area.

If your dog’s eyes have been red and watery for a few days, contact your vet immediately. There are a few things you can do to help ease this uncomfortable discomfort, like offering your dog artificial tears or applying a warm compress to the area for 15 minutes per day.

Itchy Eyes

Itchy and watery eyes can be a sign of an allergic response, but they can also be caused by secondary infections.

Dogs with glaucoma can develop irritated eyes, which can sometimes be caused by an infection. Dogs can also develop infections of the eyes and other eye problems if not regularly cleaned.

If your dog’s eye is constantly itchy, and you suspect an infection, contact your vet immediately.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

When your pet's eyes are swollen and red, it’s time to take her to the vet. This is called allergic conjunctivitis, and it’s a serious side effect. The most common cause of allergic conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction to something called pollens or another foreign object.

If your dog’s eyes are also watering frequently and she’s experiencing pain or irritation, contact your vet immediately.

How to Treat Dog Eye Allergies

Once you’ve made the diagnosis, your next step is to treat the allergic reaction. If you believe your dog has an allergic reaction, you’ll want to treat the itching, and inflammation as soon as possible.

So what can you do to treat the swelling and irritation that your dog’s eyes are experiencing? You can use over-the-counter like eye drops, eyewash, sprays, and ointment.

If your dog is also sneezing frequently, she may be sensitive to certain airborne allergens. You may wish to have your home treated for any allergies or consider keeping your pet indoors for a few days to protect her and reduce airborne allergens around her.

If your dog is also exhibiting any signs of discomfort, it’s time to take her to the vet to make sure that everything is okay. It’s possible that your pet has a life-threatening condition causing an allergic reaction.

Prevent The Allergens

Dust, pollen, or other allergens are impossible to avoid. The most important thing is to prevent tracking them into your home. After a walk, or a trip to the dog park irritating particles make their way into your home and only prolong allergic reactions for your pup. The best way to prevent this is to wipe down your dog’s fur and paws once you get home! Here are a couple of our favorite products:

Dog Grooming Wipes

Grooming wipes look like makeup remover wipes for pets. They are a simple and effective way to wipe away any pollen from your time outside! They prevent the need for baths, which can cause dry skin if done too frequently.

Walkee Paws Outdoor Leggings

Walkee Paws leggings protect your pup outside and in! When worn outside, the silicone bootie protects your pet's paws from hot pavement, lawn chemicals, or those annoying burrs. Once you're done with your adventures outside, just slip the leggings off before you enter your home and rinse them off! This is the easiest way to prevent your pet from tracking in unwanted outdoor particles.

Medication for Dog Eye Allergies

Once your pet is diagnosed with an allergic reaction, your vet can prescribe medication to help reduce the inflammation. This medication can be administered via eye drops, ointments, or tablets. Dog owners can also ask if there are home remedies for common eye conditions.

Your vet will recommend what type of medication to use based on your dog’s breed, age, and health. Your dog may also be prescribed an antihistamine to calm down any itching.

If your dog is currently taking medications for eye disease, you should have your dog’s medication refilled after the allergic reaction is resolved. Otherwise, the medication may not be effective and could result in a serious health condition.

FAQ

How can I treat my dog's eye allergies?

If your pet is showing signs of allergies, it’s important to get him to the vet to make sure there’s not a serious underlying issue. In some cases, your dog may need to be hospitalized to treat his eye condition.

The most common symptoms of eye allergies are swelling, and irritation around his eyes. Your vet will perform a corneal reflex test to determine if there is any underlying eye disease that’s causing the reaction.

If your pet is diagnosed with an eye disease, your vet will also prescribe medications for the treatment to help reduce inflammation and pain in the eyes. He will also suggest eye care treatment or home remedies heal the inflamed eyes of the animal.

Can dogs have seasonal allergies?

Yes. Allergies are a common condition in humans and other pets. Most often, it’s in the spring when pollen is released from various plants and trees. This is when people and dogs experience the most common seasonal allergies.

Even if your dog is less likely to be allergic to grass or other seasonal allergens, he’s still likely to experience nose bleeds and contacts. They can also be allergic if they made direct contact with dust or certain fabrics.

Conclusion

Allergies, whether to food or to substances in the air, can be frustrating for both humans and dogs. If your dog is showing any of the above symptoms and he has a history of seasonal allergies, it’s worth contacting your vet as soon as possible.

It’s important to rule out the possibility that your dog is suffering from an eye infection or other injury. If your dog does have an eye infection, it’s important to follow your vet’s advice on when it’s safe to return your dog back to normal activities or whether lifestyle changes are needed.