This is the second most common allergy seen with canines, with only food allergies being more prevalent with the Poodle breed. Poodles can be allergic to any of the inhaled allergens that we can. Most common is:
- Tree pollen
- Grass pollen
- Weed pollen
- Mold/ mildew
- Dust mites
- 2nd hand cigarette smoke
Although humans and Poodles can be allergic to the same triggers, the symptoms are quite different. Symptoms include:
- Itching - This is the #1 symptom and can be quite severe in many cases, leading to scratching, which can lead to sores and then ultimately infection of those sores
- Eye and/or nasal discharge - As with contact allergies, these symptoms can be overlooked. Many Poodles quickly lick nasal discharge before an owner can notice it and eye discharge may occur intermittently and be chalked up to normal eye discharge.
- Breathing difficulties, wheezing, coughing
In some cases, the trigger will be seasonal or a Poodle will only be exposed for a few weeks, therefore the puppy or dog will not show strong enough symptoms that call for treatment. However, in many cases, such as when a Poodle is allergic to molds, mildew, dust mites, cigarette smoke or sprayed air freshener, allergic reactions can be all year round.
Treatment - If you suspect that your Poodle is allergic to 2nd hand smoke, it is very important to limit any family members to smoking outdoors or at the very least in a separate and closed off room in which smoke will not drift into the main area of the home. Also, when all triggers have been eliminated as culprits, it is usually then that an owner will realize it is something simple such as the air freshener that is sprayed into the home...an easy fix to eliminate.
When a Poodle is allergic to other elements such as pollen or molds, treatment will depend on the length of time that a Poodle is showing symptoms and involves 3 main elements:
Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications are usually given, these stop allergic reactions with most Poodles. If a puppy or dog has intense itching, steroids may be given. Antihistamines work with canines when given in conjunction with steroids, if so, in many cases steroid amounts can be decreased while antihistamines can be increased. Offering Fatty Acid supplements to your Poodle has been shown to work in many cases.
Shampoo Therapy: Washing your Poodle more often with hypoallergenic, oatmeal based canine shampoo can help simply because it washes away the microscopic triggers.
Hyposensitization: If your Poodle's veterinarian can identify the exact trigger, hyposensitization can begin, this is similar to what many humans do...it is the process of slowly and steadily allowing the body to become accustomed to the trigger, thus allowing the immune system to stop responding as if it is being attacked. This is a long process, often taking several years and does not guarantee complete immunity, only roughly 50% of dogs respond very well to this type of treatment. This is not recommend for older Poodles.