Greyhounds and Allergies

Greyhounds are great family companions characterized by their quiet dignity, independence, and grace. However, before bringing a greyhound into your home, you first have to determine whether this dog breed is right for you. While having the dog as part of your family is likely to be exciting, being a pet parent comes with a lot of responsibilities. You will not only have to make sure that you meet the various needs of your greyhound but also think about the safety and health of your other family members. Therefore it is important to learn as much as you can about greyhounds before getting one.

One of the factors you will need to pay keen attention to relates to greyhounds allergies. Greyhounds are delicate dogs that are prone to developing specific health problems, making it necessary to be prepared to handle such situations. Similarly, you will have to determine if the presence of the dog is likely to provoke allergic reactions in humans. Taking these factors into account will go a long way in ensuring every member of the family enjoys the new experience.

Are greyhounds hypoallergenic?

For some people, the temptation of owning a dog is kept at bay because they experience unpleasant allergic reactions whenever they get close to the canines. As a prospective pet owner, this is one of the issues you will have to think about seriously before bringing a four-legged companion into your home. If you are considering getting a greyhound, you should take time to learn the unique physical characteristics of the breed and whether they can trigger allergic reactions in humans. Learning all about greyhounds will help you make an informed decision, one that will promote the overall wellbeing of your loved ones. Here is what you need to know about greyhounds and allergies.

What does hypoallergenic mean?

To understand whether greyhounds are hypoallergenic, it is necessary to understand what this term means. While a lot of people think that this means a dog that will not cause an allergic reaction, a hypoallergenic dog is a dog that is less likely to cause a reaction. As such, a hypoallergenic dog is not entirely allergy safe. Generally, there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs since even a hairless breed can set off allergies. Unlike popular belief, the reactions that hypersensitive people develop are not actually as a result of the hair found on dogs.

So, are greyhounds hypoallergenic? The answer is No. While greyhounds are medium shedding dogs, they still shed and will trigger allergies. However, greyhounds’ coats are short and have a minimal undercoat, meaning that their skin produces less oil. With a greyhound, dog smell will not be an issue, and many people with allergies to dogs will not have a problem owning or being near a greyhound. Some greyhounds will affect people with allergies less than others. At the same time, just like with any other new allergen, such people will need some time to get used to and adjust to the new allergens in their home. In short, a greyhound is an option that allergy sufferers can consider.

What causes an allergic reaction?

If you are to understand the concept of greyhounds and allergies fully, you must understand where allergic reactions come from. Understanding the origin of allergies will help you determine whether a greyhound is right for you and your family. It will also enlighten you on the steps to take to minimize the health risks that allergens cause, especially to hypersensitive people.

Although many people assume that these allergic reactions are caused by a pet’s fur, this is because a good number of dogs that shed very little or no fur at all are usually marketed as hypoallergenic. However, the real culprits of the allergic reactions are specific proteins that dogs create. Although the proteins in question are concentrated in the dog’s saliva and urine, they are also present in dog dander. When dander sticks to the fur and the animal sheds their fur, the protein will be released into the air or settle on the floor. This is why fur is considered a potential threat to people with allergies.

Dander; tips to reduce dander

Dander refers to the dead, dried flakes from a pet’s skin that they shed away or slough off through a natural process. Excessive dander will not only be annoying and trigger allergic reactions but should also serve as an indication that your pet is not as healthy as he should be. Living in a house with less allergen-filled dander will help you to create a healthier environment for your family and visitors. Whether or not you are an allergy sufferer, below are some tips to help you reduce dander if you are planning to get a greyhound.

Some food and environmental allergies can make your greyhound itchy and increase dander. You may want to consult your vet to ensure that your dog is on the right diet. Brush your pet regularly to loosen and reduce dander, and use a pet vacuum to such any loose dander and hair off. This will keep dander from spreading all over the house. Apart from helping to eliminate loose hair and skin, regular baths will also ensure your dog smells good. You can also rely on certain supplements to soften the dog’s coat and minimize dander. If you are allergic to pets, you should avoid touching your mouth and eyes after petting your furry friend. You may also want to keep the greyhound away from your bed or furniture.

Greyhound Allergies

Apart from triggering allergic reactions in humans, dogs can themselves suffer from allergies. You must know the potential allergies that your furry companion can suffer from.

When your greyhound is exposed to allergens repeatedly or for extended periods, the dog’s immunity system can develop a severe reaction to the foreign substances. Dog allergies will not only reduce your pet’s quality of life but also pose challenges to you as the pet parent. Below are some types of greyhound allergies you should know about.

Flea allergy

One of the common allergies that your greyhound can suffer from is a reaction to flea bites. Dogs will mostly develop an allergic reaction, which is known as Flea allergy dermatitis, in the summer or during prolonged periods of warm weather. When fleas bite your pet, they will inject saliva into the host. The saliva contains compounds that your dog can react to, leading to skin irritation and itching. Flea allergy can affect the whole body, with the severity depending on the individual’s immune response and the level of exposure to the compounds in fleas’ saliva.

Seasonal allergies

Your greyhound is also likely to suffer from seasonal allergies. They are a result of exposure to airborne substances that are present at certain times of the year. Since seasonal allergies can significantly affect your greyhound’s quality of life, it is important to learn the common symptoms that the pet will display. You may also want to familiarize yourself with the best treatments for allergies.

Food allergies

Your dog can also react to certain human foods as well as dog foods. In the event that your dog’s body mistakenly considers a certain human food to be harmful, it will produce antibodies that will result in a wide range of symptoms. When it comes to dog food, the reaction that your greyhound develops will be to a specific ingredient in the food. A food allergy develops due to a reaction of the dog’s unique immune system response rather than the brand or type of food.

Airborne allergens

Generally, it is never easy to establish whether a dog allergy is as a result of airborne allergens or other factors. Therefore, it is advisable for dog owners to keep a log of when the allergic reactions tend to occur. It is also important to visit a veterinarian for an allergy test that will help you find out the exact cause of the reaction. Some of the allergens that can cause airborne allergies in dogs are pollen, dust, and mold, among other inhalants.

Environmental allergies

There are many environmental irritants that your greyhound can react to. This is particularly true considering that this breed of dog loves running and chasing moving objects and animals. Environmental agents that can trigger allergic reactions include grasses, ragweed, daylily plants, male juniper bushes, and Bermuda grass. Once you notice that your greyhound is having a reaction, you should visit your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Identification of the responsible environmental agent will also help you know how to handle the animal.

Home allergies

There are several substances in your home that can set off an unpleasant immune system reaction in dogs. These include perfumes, cleaning products, cigarette smoke, rubber, fabrics, and plastic. Since it can be tough to determine the specific substance causing the reaction, you should closely monitor when the reactions occur, taking time to look at the elements the dog may have come into contact with immediately before experiencing the symptoms. This will include the substances that your greyhound may have inhaled. By doing this, you will be in a position to narrow down to the likely culprits.

Prescription drugs

Allergies are usually unpredictable. As such, you would not expect your greyhound to react to something that is supposed to help them. While drug allergies are not as common as other types of allergies, you should consider them when trying to figure out the cause of the allergy. Apart from prescription drugs, over-vaccination can also set off an inappropriate immune response. You should always keep a record of the medication that your dog is taken, making sure you pay attention to any unusual reaction that the animal shows.

Medicated shampoo

Some individual greyhounds can react to medicated shampoos, with their immune systems releasing histamine. Although the common symptom is skin irritation, the dog may experience other severe reactions. In most cases, the reactions will occur just after exposure and get worse with repeated exposure.

Allergy indications/ symptoms

Managing dog allergies requires that you keenly observe your pet right from the time symptoms begin to manifest. This will make it easier to identify the potential trigger as well as seek professional treatment that will offer relief. 

Below are some of the common allergy symptoms you should watch out for:

1. Itchiness

One of the most common symptoms of allergy in your greyhound is itchiness. Pet parents will notice that their furry friends scratch or bite themselves in an attempt to relieve the itching. If the cause of your greyhound scratching is pollen, grass, or trees, you can wash them off using shampoo to offer your dog temporary relief. In case the situation is intense, consider taking him to the vet.

2. Inflamed and infected skin

Skin infection is a severe side effect of allergies that pet parents should never ignore. While inflamed and infected skin is less common, you should take your greyhound to the veterinarian as soon as you notice red and itchy skin. In the meantime, you can use mild cleaning products to soothe and dry the skin.

3. Excessive shedding

Another sign that your greyhound may be suffering from an allergic reaction is hair loss and increased shedding. The reaction will cause the skin to dry out, while increased scratching will result in more shedding and hair loss. Since greyhounds have little fur and shed lightly, it may be pretty easy to notice when there is excessive shedding.

4. Paw licking

After your dog has been exposed to allergens for some time, you are likely to notice compulsive paw licking. When allergies occur, dogs tend to push out the histamines in their immune system to areas like the paws, face, ears, and bum region. Make sure you can differentiate this type of licking from the one that is usually part of their grooming routine.

5. Licking the bum region

Unpleasant itchiness in the bum region can cause your greyhound to scoot or lick their rear end. Histamine reactions will have different symptoms, making it important to proceed with caution when it comes to administering medication. The best step to take would be to consult your veterinarian.

6. Swelling of the face

Other common symptoms of allergies in dogs are swelling of the face, lips, earflaps, eyelids, and ears. The ears may also be itchy, and the eye could be itchy and runny, symptoms that are likely to be accompanied by discomfort.

7. Chronic ear infections

Ear infections are a common sign of allergies in dogs, especially if the condition keeps recurring. Some of the indicators you should be aware of are red, waxy ears, as well as shaking of the head. Chronic ear infections can be both painful and uncomfortable. This is why you should take your dog to see a medical professional in case of such problems.

8. Respiratory problems

While this is not a common symptom, you may realize that your dog has respiratory issues after exposure to environmental agents. You may notice problems such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, constant sneezing, and coughing. In case of any respiratory problems, see your vet immediately to help you determine if they are linked to more severe health problems.

9. Other indications

There are several other indicators that will help you figure out if your greyhound is suffering from an allergic reaction. These include hives, diarrhea, vomiting, runny nose, lethargy, depression, and loss of appetite. Understanding the unique personality and behavior of your dog will help you identify these signs early enough.

What should you do when your greyhound is exposed to an allergy?

Like all pets, your greyhound looks up to you for care and protection. This is why it can be frustrating when you learn that your dog has an allergy. As a pet parent, you should be aware of the steps you can take to help relieve pain and discomfort in such situations. However, the treatment for allergic reactions will depend on the type of allergy, as well as the symptoms that develop. This means interventions taken for an itchy greyhound will be different from those administered on a vomiting one.

Target the triggers

Food and environmental agents are a problem for many dogs. In order to treat your greyhound, you should first know what causes allergies. This may require that you get your veterinarian’s help. Identifying the triggers will enable you to come up with an effective allergy prevention program. This may include using flea-control products, washing the pet bedding, and vacuuming pet areas frequently. You may also want to work on reducing the number of irritants in your home. These will include dust, smoke, and pollen.  

Regular bathes

Once you learn that your greyhound is prone to allergic reactions, you should take measures to limit the chances of a reaction. This will involve reducing their exposure to potential allergens. Since it is difficult to determine the exact cause of an immune system reaction, experts recommend bathing your greyhound at least once every week. If you own an at-risk allergic greyhound, you should consider bathing them every day, especially during the spring and summer. Regular bathing will help to wash off potential allergens from the skin and coat before they set off a reaction.

Check your dog’s diet.

It is already clear that food allergy is a problem that a good number of dogs are likely to experience. In most cases, allergic reactions to pet food will be a result of proteins in foods such as milk, beef, egg, fish, or soy. If you suspect a case of food allergy, you should consult your veterinarian to help you find the culprit and recommend a diet that will not set off such reactions. The good news is that advanced veterinary options have made it easier to manage allergies in dogs, a factor that will ensure both you and your pet live happy lives.

Natural homemade remedies

There are different home remedies that you can rely on to treat allergic reactions in dogs. The natural treatment will protect your greyhound’s immune system and soothe their itchiness. However, before using any of the options, you should do some research on them and discuss them with an expert. This way, you will determine if they are right for your dog and whether they will help in alleviating the symptoms. Some of the remedies you can consider include oat baths, apple cider vinegar, chickweed gel, and coconut oil.

Try stronger treatments

If the methods above do not help with your greyhound’s allergic response, you may need more powerful treatments. In order to minimize the risk of drug allergies, you will have to consult your vet prior to administering the medication. Today, there is a wide range of treatment options that vets can prescribe to help deal with the discomfort. Most dogs will respond well to injections or medications that work by calming the cells that activate the allergic reaction.

Schedule a visit to the vet

In case you try all these interventions without any significant improvement, it may be time to make a trip to your vet. The expert will examine and conduct tests on your greyhound before making a proper diagnosis. This will allow them to prescribe the drugs needed to alleviate the symptoms and address the root cause of the allergic reaction. The veterinarian will also advise you on what to do in order to reduce the level of exposure of the dog to potential triggers.

Greyhounds are affectionate, gentle, and born companions. However, the responsibility of protecting and taking care of this breed of dog can be enormous. This is especially true due to their fragile nature as well as the range of diseases they are prone to suffer from. As such, you must ensure you fully understand the responsibility ahead of you before making a greyhound part of your family. It essential to have an experienced veterinarian by your side when issues such as allergic reactions arise. This way, both you and your greyhound will enjoy not only a healthy relationship but healthy lives.

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