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Allergies

Beagle Allergies

Overview

Beagles and other dogs are quite similar to humans in that they can have indoor or seasonal outdoor allergies. In addition, dogs can have a food intolerance or can even suffer from contact allergies in which the trigger will be an element that comes into contact with the body and sets off a reaction. 

When a dog has allergies, symptoms can be baffling. They will not just sneeze or have itchy eyes as many of us do. The symptoms can range from mild to quite severe. This can affect everything from breathing to skin and fur. 
This problem can be a seasonal issue, most often seen during the spring and summer as certain grasses and pollen grow or during the wintertime when there are higher incidences of dust mites and other contaminants that are easily trapped in closed off houses. 

For others, allergies can be a year-round problem until proper treatment is found. 

It is important to take notice of the signs of this and then an owner can determine which type of allergy their Beagle has and work toward resolving the issue.  

Symptoms

Over 20% of dogs have allergy health conditions; unfortunately many are not given relief due to misdiagnosis or dismissal of symptoms by the owner. 

When a Beagle has allergies, the symptoms can be misleading. Signs will be different depending on whether the allergy manifests internally or externally.  In addition, allergy symptoms can cross over. For example, itching is a sign for both seasonal and food allergies.

You will want to take notice if your Beagle:
  • Has hair loss, thinning fur- This is usually in patches where the coat will either thin out or in severe cases, completely fall out in areas.
  • Dry, itchy skin and/or rash - You may notice dry skin or rash on your Beagle's belly; however, in most cases it is the skin under the coat which itches. The Beagle will scratch or lick compulsively to relieve his discomfort.
  • Ear inflammations - While this can be a sign of a canine ear infections, dogs that are allergic to something may also have ear problems.
  • Chewing on self - This is a reaction to the above itching sensation and a Beagle may actually chew the fur right off of his coat if the allergy persists and is severe.
  • A dulling of the coat - This health condition can cause affects all over the dog's body, including a dulling of the coat, you may notice that it is not as shiny as usual and/or appears to be very coarse.
  • Upset stomach- Most commonly a sign of a food intolerance, a Beagle will show that he has an upset stomach by eating less, vomiting, dry heaving, diarrhea, or not wanting to run around as usual.
  • Excessive eye discharge/ irritated bloodshot eyes - This is not often shown on dog allergy symptom lists; however this can be a clear sign of an allergy, most often seasonal or contact.
  • Coughing - While many canine health issues can cause a dog to cough, kennel cough, dog flu and upper Respiratory Infection being among them, this can also be a sign of allergies.
  • Shortness of breath - This can happen when exercising or even when at rest.
  • Wheezing noises - As the lungs and nasal passages fill up, this can cause a wheezing sound, similar to asthma.

Food Allergies

While this is indeed referred to as food allergies, with most dogs with this issue will be allergic to triggers that are mixed into the food. The biggest culprits are artificial chemical additives such as coloring or flavoring. And the symptoms of this can be quite bad, since a Beagle will be ingesting the allergen daily. 

This said, a smaller number of Beagles will have intolerance for an actual food ingredient. Dogs can be allergic to anything from milk products to wheat to soy, and in some cases even a certain meat such as chicken. 

Ingesting the ingredient each day causes a never-ending reaction, most commonly an upset stomach (vomiting and/or diarrhea) and skin reactions that include dry, itchy skin, rash and/or fur loss due to the irritated skin. 

Treatment When a Beagle is Allergic to a Food Ingredient

If you suspect food allergies with your Beagle, it is recommended to have this confirmed with your Beagle's veterinarian. Once confirmed, action can be immediately taken. 

If the allergy is triggered by chemical additives, you will want to completely remove these from your Beagle's diet. 

This is done by looking at both his main kibble and all the snacks that are given to him. You'll want to choose a high quality food for main meals that is all natural, can contains zero artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives.  

One of the best foods for a Beagle, and particularly for one suffering from an allergy to additives, is Wellness Core's Natural Grain Free dry dog food, which is a 5-star food that contains no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.  In addition, it contains a fish and flax omega blend which helps to reverse damage to both skin and coat. 
If the allergy is triggered by a certain food, wheat and soy are among the top offenders. However, as stated earlier, even a certain meat can be at the route of the problem.

You have two choices: You can make a switch to home cooking (more ahead) or change to a different dog food. You'll want to choose one that contains no grains, soy, or corn. And, if you suspect that a certain meat is to blame, you can switch to a different main protein source.

Some good options are Wellness Core's Grain-Free Wild Game Duck, Turkey, Boar & Rabbit which is very well received by most dogs, or Wellness Core's Grain-Free Ocean Whitefish, Herring & Salmon; and both of these, like the original formula, are free from chemical additives. 

Ahead, we will cover other immediate actions to take, as many will be the same whether the allergy is food, pollen or other. 

Contact and Environmental Allergies

If a Beagle has contact allergies this is a reaction to an element that the dog has contact with. These can include:
  • Fleas - It is amazing how just one flea can cause such havoc to a Beagle
  • Dog shampoo and grooming solutions - Inferior products can wreak havoc to skin and coat.
  • Home products - This can range from the laundry detergent that you use, the carpet cleaner, the air freshener and so much more. 
A dog can also have a reaction to elements which are inhaled, such as:
  • Ragweed, grasses and tree pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • 2nd hand smoke
As shown above symptoms can include eye discharge, itching, loss of coat, red eyes, nasal discharge, wheezing coughing, breathing issues, and other signs that the body is having a reaction to a trigger.  

Skin and coat may be exceedingly dry, itchy, red, and/or have a rash. For Beagles, elbows can become especially dry.  The coat may be dry and brittle or even thinning in some spots. 

Offering Immediate Relief for Allergies

It is recommended to have your Beagle tested to see exactly what he is allergic to, and we'll cover this ahead along with commonly prescribed medications. However, in the meantime, there are some steps you can take right away to offer relief and help remove some of the discomfort that a puppy or dog is having. 
Bathe your Beagle with a quality shampoo that is effective for relieving itching and dryness. Moosh Anti-Itch - Concentrated-Organic is a top choice. Moosh is 100% organic, has no sulfates or chemicals and is hypoallergenic. 

It contains soothing bentonite clay, which heals skin and coat, and neem and argan oil, which are rich in emollients that moisturize, and aloe and shea butter which are great for providing soothing relief as well
If there are hot spots on your Beagle, use a hot spot, anti-itch spray that will provide immediate relief for areas that are severely irritated. Vet Organic's Hot Spot Anti Itch Spray is a top recommended allergy spray that calms and soothes irritated, itchy skin. 

It is also dispersed with a fine mist, which is great because you do not need to touch the areas on your Beagle that are sore, and dogs appreciate that.
Remove allergens from your Beagle and the house:

1) Prevent allergens from being tracked into the house by washing your Beagle's paws as soon as he enters back into the house and having a rule that everyone removes their shoes right away.

2) Wipe over your Beagle's coat with a grooming wipe once he comes in from outside, to remove pollen or other allergens.
3) Clean the air in your home. Use HEPA certified filters if you have central AC; even if you are not using the AC, run the fan with these filters, which remove 99.97 percent of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.

If you do not have a central system, consider obtaining a home purifier for allergies that has a certified HEPA filter to remove airborne particles. These are generally about the size of a computer tower and can cover rooms ranging from 100 to 600 square feet.

Veterinary Treatment Options

Treatment includes several options, depending on what signs your Beagle is showing: 

Symptomatic Therapy - This is direct treatment for the symptoms while the trigger for what is causing them is being discovered. Cool baths with colloidal oatmeal, Epsom salts, or medicated shampoos helps to relieve dry, itchy, sore skin. This can be done frequently but provides only temporary relief. 

Immunotherapy - This is the term used to describe allergy shots, a slow & steady process in which the Beagle is exposed to the trigger. 
This option can take quite a while. On average, it will be 6 to 12 months to see major improvement. Success rate is 75%. 

Corticosteroids - These topical medications help to reduce swelling and itching. Unfortunately, they also affect every organ in the body. Steroids should be considered only when the allergy season is short (for example if your Beagle is allergic to ragweed), the amount of medication required is small or as a last resort to relieve a dog in extreme discomfort. Side effects can include:
  • Increased thirst and appetite
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Behavioral changes
Long term use can result in:
  • Diabetes
  • Decreased resistance to infection
Antihistamines - This type of medication is safe for just about any dog. The only negative side effect is drowsiness. In many cases, more than 1 type must be tried before finding the one that helps for a certain Beagle. 
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids - These fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatory agents. They have no side effects. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oils (especially krill and cod) and omega-6 fatty acids are derived from plants containing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), such as oil from the evening primrose. 

These supplements are different from those sold to produce a glossy coat.
Consider a liquid Omega 3, 6 for dogs that comes in a handy pump , which makes it very easy to add to a meal. As a side note, dogs love the taste of fish oil. 
Beagle outside on a tractor
Ginger, 4 months old
Photo courtesy of owners: Tom & Melissa G.
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