What’s not likable about Golden Retrievers, right? They are large, athletic canines draped in gold fur and fond of wagging their tails cheerfully. They are good with everyone — children, strangers, other pets — and can adapt to every lifestyle. Their growling is welcoming and not frightening. Whether it’s a fetch game or a brisk walk or run, a Golden Retriever can accompany you in any outdoor activity.
Despite all their endearing characteristics, Golden Retrievers exhibit one weakness i. e. they are vulnerable to allergies. Pups are pretty similar to infants. They communicate their inconvenience through their physical reactions and behavioral changes. It’s the job of owners to remain diligent about the wellbeing of their retrievers.
Some of the Most Common Golden Retriever Allergies
Skin allergies are as common in pets as they are in humans. However, Golden Retrievers are more prone to allergies in comparison to other breeds. Here, we are going to discuss some of the common allergies that can bother your golden pooch.
It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of these allergies so that you can identify them at the onset and can take your pooch to the vet in time.
Atopic Dermatitis is one of the most common allergies among canines in general and Golden Retriever in particular. Just like humans, atopic dermatitis in dogs is also the consequence of inflammatory reactions.
Unfortunately, atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition highlighted by the constant need for itching. This means you have to take constant care of your dog. Regular grooming, bathing, and using prescription medicines are some of the measures that you can take up to mitigate this skin condition.
Signs of Atopic Allergy
These are the signs that you should look for in your Golden Retriever if you suspect that it is suffering from this chronic skin condition.
- They constantly and excessively start licking, rubbing, and scratching their abdomen, paws, and hindquarters.
- Another way to determine if atopic dermatitis has set in your retriever is to inspect its ears. If they are hot and red, then you should take it to the vet for further examination.
- In some acute cases of atopic dermatitis, your Golden Retriever might get redness in the groin, armpits or between the paws.
Golden Retrievers can acquire atopic dermatitis in the puppy age ( 3-6 months). However, the aforementioned signs only become visible and require clinical aid when they enter the third year.
What Causes Atopic Dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis in Golden Retrievers aggravates in a gradual manner. The initial onset of the disease is usually attributed to genetics. However, there are some allergens that can cause the condition even in retrievers with no family history of atopic dermatitis. These allergens are:
- Airborne animal dander
- Airborne pollens emanating from grass, trees, and shrubs around the house
- Presence of mold spores in the interior can also set off atopic dermatitis
- The dust mite is another potent allergen for atopic dermatitis in case of Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers already suffering from borderline atopic dermatitis ( that remain invisible) are more vulnerable to the effects of these allergens.
Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis
It depends on the degree and causes due to which dermatitis is happening in the first place. However, there are two standard methods that veterinarians use to treat atopic dermatitis in Golden Retrievers.
In severe cases of dermatitis, vets usually prescribe hyposensitization therapy for retrievers. This treatment entails the intravenous administration of allergens to which your dog is sensitive. It is an effective dermatitis treatment and usually helps in reducing itchiness in around 80% of cases.
Nevertheless, hyposensitization therapy kicks in slowly. It usually takes more than four months to witness the mitigation of symptoms.
Medications for Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition. So, some vets might try to deal with it through an extended medication routine. Antihistamine and corticosteroids are the class of drugs that are normally used to alleviate the itching and redness of the skin.
Cyclosporine is one of the most effective drugs that are used to treat protracted skin cases allergies. So, your vet might prescribe this medication (usually come in capsules). Another of its variant Atopica is also used to treat itchiness and redness of the skin.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
It is also one of the common Golden Retriever allergies caused by the salivating fleas latched on to the dog’s skin. The skin of Golden Retrievers is extremely sensitive to flea saliva, leading to the development of dermatitis. In most of the cases, the retrieves contract flea allergy dermatitis between the age of 1 and 5.
Signs of Flea Allergy Dermatitis
The primary cause of flea allergy dermatitis is pretty simple to understand i.e. the bites and saliva of this parasitic pest on the retriever’s skin cause inflammatory conditions. However, it is important to be aware of the exact signs and symptoms of dog flea dermatitis to differentiate from other atopic skin conditions.
- Multiple flea bites can set off severe itching in canines. In medical terms, it is called pruritus and often affect breeds with sensitive skin ( like Golden Retrievers) . Pruritis is a condition that continues to exist even after you have used any flea control treatment on your dog. So, be patient with its results and continue the treatment without panicking.
- Many owners ignore the initial symptoms of flea allergy dermatitis because they appear in an episodic manner i.e. one day the dog looks distressed and itching, the other day it appears calm and unruffled. When flea dermatitis protracts, it worsens into a condition called neurodermatitis, highlighted by behavioral anomalies in your dog. Immediate veterinary care is required if the allergy has been aggravated into neurodermatitis.
- Hair loss in patches and scabs are also the telltale signs that your Golden Retriever is suffering from flea allergy dermatitis. However, these signs might not appear in every affected retriever.
- Generally, the skin rashes, scabs and itching turn out on the back half of the body. However, retrievers with a genetic history of skin sensitivity might experience lesions all over their body.
Diagnosis of Flea Dermatitis is Crucial
Since flea dermatitis can imitate the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, therefore it is really important for owners to proactively diagnosis the presence of flea on their retrievers if they are suffering an allergic skin condition.
The simplest way to find if your dog is infested with fleas is to carefully comb its fur. Fleas usually reside in hind legs, belly, upper thighs and lower back of the retriever. So, inspect theses areas through special dog flea combs. However, it’s not the sure-shot way to detect the presence of fleas on your retriever.
Sometimes, adult fleas fall off the skin. In some cases, dogs chew them off and swallow. In these cases, you can’t detect fleas through combing. If the symptoms are there but you can’t find fleas on the skin, then it is better to consult your vet. Skin tests are then used to detect the presence of these parasites.
Treatments for Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Generally, topical and oral treatments are used to deal with flea allergy dermatitis.
Topical treatments are more popular since they don’t require veterinary prescriptions. Flea control powders and other topical substances are applied to the affected skin parts of the retriever to exterminate flea population. There are, however, two major issues with topical treatments.
- Topical treatments have to be administered for a long time otherwise the infestation can rebound. Even a few remaining eggs on the dog skin can lead to full-fledged flea allergy dermatitis after a while.
- Topicals are only effective in small areas. These are usually those areas where dogs can’t lick them off, like the top back of the neck.
Chewable tablets and other oral treatments are more effective in their action against flea allergy dermatitis. They actually exterminate fleas before they start laying eggs, thus terminating their lifecycle resulting in more rapid control. NexGard Chewable Tablets, for instance, are one of the most effective oral treatments to get rid of fleas and the allergy they are causing. But to get oral treatment for your Golden Retriever, you have to get a prescription from a certified vet.
Are Dog Flea Shampoos Effective?
Dog flea shampoos may or may not be effective against this common Golden Retriever allergy. So, don’t just rely on bathing your Golden Retriever with such shampoos. These products usually don’t work when dogs are more prone to flea allergies.
Common Food Allergies for Golden Retrievers
Food allergies are the trickiest medical condition that you can encounter in your Golden Retriever. Your dog is shaking its head and crazily itching and your vet might tell you that it is due to an allergic reaction to food. According to veterinary data, nearly 10 percent of all canine allergies are actually food allergies. Besides Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels and Dachshunds are more vulnerable to food allergies than the rest of the breeds.
Causes of Food Allergies in Golden Retrievers
Scientists still don’t know that exact cause of canine food allergies. However, it has been studied that Golden Retrievers with a genetic predisposition for allergic reactions can experience adverse reactions to some foods and other substances.
From environmental triggers like pollen and mold spores to dietary allergens, there are many triggers that can set off food allergies in Golden Retrievers. Lamb, pork, soy, beef, egg, chicken, and dairy products are some of the common food allergens for Golden Retrievers.
Signs of Food Allergies in Golden Retrievers
The symptoms of food allergies are really diverse among canines. This dissimilarity also makes this common Golden Retriever allergy hard to detect.
The most common and obvious sign of food allergies is gastrointestinal problems including chronic gas and chronic diarrhea. However, not all dogs experience these obvious symptoms. For instance, some retrievers affected by food allergy start licking their paws. Some Golden Retrievers experience severe itching in the rear end when their body adversely reacts to certain foods. Dogs suffering from food allergies also experience chronic ear inflammation.
Diagnosis of Food Allergies: The Most Challenging Part
It’s not easy to pin down what factors are triggering food allergies in your Golden Retriever. The vets usually employ ‘elimination diet and challenge’ regimen to identify the culprit diet causing allergies. During this process, the vet takes the retriever off all the food it’s consuming and put it on an entirely unique diet that it hasn’t had before. Then they start re-adding the previous foods one by one with an interval of one to two weeks to see what dietary item was actually causing the allergy.
Treatments for Food Allergies
Besides using certain medical products to alleviate the symptoms of food allergies, the basic treatment for food allergy is to throw the trigger food out of your retriever’s diet.
Common Measures to Take for Dog Allergies
Regardless of the allergic reaction you are retriever is suffering from and the treatment you have started, it is important to take care of these regular things to provide relief to your troubled pooch.
Cut down your retriever’s outdoor time: From pollens to fleas, outdoors can expose your retriever to further irritants. So try to limit its time outside and whenever you take it outside, sweep its fur with a wet cloth.
Minimize dust exposure: Exposure to dust and dust mites also exacerbate the allergic condition in retrievers. Make sure you diligently take care of vacuuming in the house if your dog is already suffering from an allergy.
Dehumidify the space: Mold spores are a common trigger of atopic dermatitis. By keeping the humidity levels in your house at minimal levels, you can significantly cut down the growth of mold spores.
Our Final Thoughts
The regular bathing, grooming and only using quality pet products are also some of the preventive measures that might help in cutting down the prevalence of common Golden Retriever allergies. Now that you know the types of allergies your Golden Retriever could possibly have, you’ll be more aware of possible signs. You’ll also be able to do a better job of preventing many of these allergies from happening.