If you own a golden retriever and you’re worried that your dog might have allergies, then you’ve come to the right place.
One of the most common reasons people take their dogs to the vets is because of excessive scratching, so know you’re not alone.
Do golden retrievers have allergies? Yes, golden retrievers can suffer from allergies, mostly because of their beautiful, distinctive, long coat. The coats on golden retrievers result in them picking up mold, dirt, and other items that irritate the skin and creates allergies. Since many golden retrievers enjoy being outside, more time outdoors can also increase the allergies these dogs experience.
Since there isn’t a lot of information on the Internet today about golden retrievers and their allergies, we created this guide to help you out.
Below we’ll cover how you can recognize the signs of allergies, how to soothe your dog’s allergies, and causes and treatments. That way, you’ll be able to help out your best friend and get your dog feeling more comfortable.
Allergies in Golden Retrievers
Many dog owners wind up visiting the vet when they notice that their furry friend is scratching more than usual.
Unfortunately, no dog breed is entirely immune to allergies. If you have a golden retriever, you own a pet that’s far more susceptible to allergies.
One of the most beautiful things about golden retrievers is their long, thick, gorgeous coats. While the golden retriever coat is one of the most popular reasons why this dog breed is adopted, the golden retriever’s skin makes your dog more likely to have allergies.
Since your golden retriever’s coat is long and requires a decent amount of upkeep, your dog most likely picks up a lot of mold, dirt, and other items that can irritate the skin by merely playing outside.
Since golden retrievers enjoy spending many hours outside, most of their owners allow their dogs to have their fun in the sun.
Being outdoors more often can make your golden retriever experience more allergies over the long run. However, no pet owner wants to be cruel and lock a dog up that enjoys being outside.
At the same time, no pet owner wants to see his or her golden retriever scratching bald areas out of its fur because of allergies. So, what can you do?
Just like other types of diseases your dog might experience throughout its life, you’ll need to understand how allergies can impact your dog.
Since golden retrievers are more allergy-prone than many other types of dogs, you’ll need to start doing things to help reduce the allergies your dog is experiencing. To help you out, we’ll cover the causes of allergies in golden retrievers below.
Causes of Allergies in Golden Retrievers
If you’ve ever experienced allergies yourself, then you know how miserable the experience can feel. Your dog can be allergic to several of the same things with which you are also allergic.
Most golden retrievers start scratching more often when their skin gets exposed to dirt, mold, and other irritants.
Here are some of the things that cause allergies in golden retrievers:
Certain types of foods can cause allergies in your golden retriever. That’s especially true of processed pet food, which creates a lot of allergies in both dogs and cats. Several types of dog breeds have allergic reactions to different kinds of grains and proteins, and those are usually included in their processed pet food.
Dust and mold can also cause allergies in your golden retriever. Several common household allergens could be affecting your dog. Also, if you smoke around your dog, that could trigger an allergy.
Naturally-occurring allergens can also harm your golden retriever if your dog tends to play outside often. Most golden retrievers enjoy being outside, so they are regularly exposed to dander, pollens, and different types of things that can make them itch.
Cleaning products, fabrics, and some types of perfumes can also cause an allergic reaction in your dog. Certain types of dog shampoos can also create a problem in your golden retriever.
How to Recognize the Signs
While most of the time, it seems like it should be pretty obvious for you to recognize when your dog is experiencing an allergy; it won’t always be as easy to tell as you might think. At times, some of the signs will be simple to recognize.
For example, if your golden retriever is doing a lot of ear-biting, paw licking, or fur biting, then that could be a sign that your dog has allergies. While those indicators seem common and obvious, some other symptoms won’t be quite as clear.
You won’t be able to tell by looking at your dog that it has allergies. You also won’t be able to determine what the allergy is unless you are willing to investigate the issue over time and talk to your vet.
Scratching is the first real indicator that there could be a problem. If your dog tends to scratch the same areas of its body often, then you know there is probably something wrong, and that’s most likely an allergy.
If your dog keeps repeatedly scratching in the same areas, eventually, it might suffer from redness, scabs, and hair loss. Those issues can create other problems like infection and skin damage.
Besides the symptom of repeated scratching, there are a few other signs that you might want to watch out for if you are trying to figure out your dog’s allergy situation. Here are a few other symptoms your dog could be experiencing:
- Itchy ears
- Scratching the tail or back often
- Ear infections
- Runny nose
- Swollen paws
- Hair loss and scabs
If you are noticing any of these symptoms in your dog, you should contact your vet as soon as possible and handle the situation to get your dog back on track. You want to deal with canine allergies as early as possible because you don’t want to wind up with a miserable golden retriever.
What Are Dogs Allergic To?
Dogs are allergic to many of the same things that trigger people’s allergies. Commonly, dogs are allergic to dust and mold as well as cigarette smoke if they live with a smoker.
Many different types of household products we bring into our homes and use can also create allergies in dogs. Your dog might even be allergic to the perfume you are wearing.
Dogs are allergic to naturally occurring allergens, as well. That includes things like dander and pollen. Sometimes, even the shampoo or flea products you use on your dog create allergic reactions.
Your dog’s food could also be another problem. Many dogs are allergic to the proteins and grains found in proceeded dog foods.
So, how do you know if your dog is suffering from an allergy? We’ll clue you in on that one below.
How Do I Know If It’s an Allergy?
Now that we’ve talked about what golden retrievers are allergic too, we’ll cover how you can tell if your dog is suffering from an allergy. Just like any other issue, you may think your dog is suffering from, the first step in the process is to talk to your vet.
Visit Your Vet
Whenever you suspect that your dog might be experiencing a medical issue, you should visit your vet. If you suspect allergies, then you’ll need to go over all of your dog’s symptoms with your vet.
Also, be prepared to review your dog’s diet with your vet. Your vet might be able to identify the cause, and if not, he or she can do tests to figure out what is making your dog suffer so much.
If your vet can’t make an educated guess about what’s affecting your golden retriever’s allergies, your dog will likely get an allergy test. Your vet will either do a blood or skin test to figure out what is causing the issues.
If you opt for a skin test, which is the more reliable option, your dog’s coat will be shaved and a bevy of allergens injected under the skin. Then, your vet can pinpoint the specific items setting off your dog’s allergies.
Your dog will most likely be sedated during the allergy test. Also, while allergy tests provide real results about what your dog is suffering from, they can cost as much as $300, if not more, for the entire process.
So, if this amount of money isn’t in your budget, don’t worry. There are other things you can do to try to pinpoint the allergy.
While we all want to be able to give our pets the best care, don’t feel like you are a terrible dog owner if you can’t afford the $300 for the allergy tests.
There are other things you can do as your dog’s owner to help figure out the causes of your golden retriever’s skin allergies.
Start by trying to take away potential allergic triggers from your golden retriever’s living space. By slowly removing certain things, you might be able to figure out the issue through a process of elimination. If you decide to do this, you’ll need to address each item one at a time through a process of elimination.
If you’re thinking that environmental allergies could be creating the issue, then you’ll need to think about a few things.
If you live in a colder climate during the winter, and you only notice allergic reactions when the weather is warm, your dog could be suffering from a skin allergy.
You should slowly remove specific allergy triggers from your dog’s environment, like mold, pollen, and dust. Clean your home and make sure the areas where your dog hangs out are thoroughly cleaned.
Wash your dog’s bed, blankets, and rugs at least once a week, then see if you notice your dog’s allergies improving.
Another thing to try with your dog is switching out grooming products. You can switch your shampoos, sprays, or other products you use on your dog.
Changing your household cleaners might also help. Also, keep an eye on the grooming products you use, as dogs can be allergic to perfumes.
It might take some time and a lot of trial and error to figure out what’s causing your golden retriever’s issues, but by slowly removing some triggers from the scene, you may be able to find out what is affecting your dog. We’ll discuss the process of elimination in more detail below.
How to Soothe: The Process of Elimination
When you start trying the process of elimination to soothe your dog, you’ll need to take a look at a few issues and deal with a lot of trial and error.
You’ll need to assess if your dog has a food allergy, reduce your dog’s exposure to allergies, bathe your dog, and address a few other issues.
Figuring out Food Allergies
Golden retrievers, much like people, can be allergic to certain types of foods. So, you’ll want to know how to approach food allergies if you suspect your dog has one.
Since food very commonly causes allergic reactions in golden retrievers, you’ll need to use a process of elimination to figure out what type of food is causing the allergy in your dog.
Unfortunately, it can be a complicated process to figure out a good allergy in your dog. If you’re not sure what food might be doing it, try to use a process of elimination. Remove different types of food one by one until you can tell which food created the problem in your dog.
The grain in dog food is a common reason why golden retrievers have allergic reactions to processed dog food. One of the first things you should try is removing grain from your dog’s diet. Instead, purchase grain-free dog food and see if that helps your pet.
Changing Your Dog’s Diet
After you’ve pinpointed the type of food that is causing your dog’s food allergy, it’s a good idea to talk to your vet about altering your dog’s diet.
When golden retrievers experience allergies, it’s vital for you to follow the diet recommended by your vet to get rid of the allergens until your dog becomes healthy again.
Also, using healthy fats and omega-3 vitamins for dogs in your dog’s diet can help curb the discomfort your dog is experiencing.
Also, it’s a good idea to make sure your dog is getting the right types of protein. Often, dogs that are allergic to the protein in processed dog food handle protein fine when they eat regular beef, fish, or lamb. So, you may need to replace your dog’s protein and use a different type of food.
However, you need to remember you’ll only be introducing new food products one at a time. You want to make sure the fresh food you are giving your golden retriever won’t make its food allergies worse.
When you switch out your dog’s processed food, look for processed food that is not only grain-free, but that also has as few ingredients as possible.
The more natural the food, the better for a dog that is having food allergies stick with the new feed for twelve weeks and also don’t give your dog treats or human food during the trial period.
If things improve and you haven’t figured out what caused the allergy, you’re still ahead of the game. Once your dog seems allergy-free, you can reintroduce treats and other food one at a time, slowly, to pinpoint the allergy.
If you wind up involving your vet in the process of figuring out your dog’s allergy problem, your vet will most likely put your golden retriever on a strict prescription diet that offers hydrolyzed proteins.
This type of diet gets rid of almost all possible allergens in food. After your dog completes twelve weeks of this diet, it should be allergy-free. Once that happens, you can reintroduce food one at a time.
Reduce Your Dog’s Exposure to Allergens
Food allergies might not be the only culprit when your golden retriever is suffering from allergies. You’ll need to factor in your dog’s environment as well.
When trying to figure out what is causing your golden retriever’s allergy, you’ll need to do everything you can do to keep your dog from being exposed to allergens.
Clean Your House
If you don’t keep your house excessively clean, you may need to start doing a better job of cleaning to help your pooch out. That’s because mold and dust found in people’s homes are naturally occurring allergens, and those could be affecting your dog’s health.
If you suspect that your dog is allergic to allergens found inside of your home, you’ll need to start by reducing the humidity in the air.
Using dehumidifiers in the house can help. Also, make sure you keep the dehumidifiers clean so that they work as well as possible and help eliminate allergies in the air for your pup.
Another way to reduce mold is to avoid putting out houseplants. If you have a hard time living without houseplants, then you should add activated charcoal to the soil of your plants so that you don’t wind up with more mold in your home from the plants.
Monitor Your Dog’s Outside Time
If you own a golden retriever, then you already know that you’ve got a dog that loves to romp around outside.
However, your dog might be exposing its skin to excessive allergens in the environment every time he or she plays outside.
When you know, there is a lot of pollen outside, and when your dog might be scratching, it’s best to try to keep your pup inside during this time.
We understand that you cannot remove all outside time from your golden retriever. Monitor it. Also, when your dog goes outside, make sure to wipe off its fur and skin with a wet cloth before your pup comes inside to get rid of pollen or dust your pooch might have on its coat.
Bathing Your Pooch
You’ll also need to start paying more attention to shampoos and bathing your dog if you notice your golden retriever is suffering from allergies.
Regular bathing will not only help make your dog look cuter, but it will also help keep the allergens from sitting on its fur and skin.
If you notice your dog is often itching, bathing your dog once a week or every other week can make a huge difference.
The simple process of washing more often and removing allergens from the skin can cut back on your dog’s itching.
If you do plan on bathing your dog more often, don’t wash it more than once a week. If you bathe your dog too often, you’ll wind up removing essential oils on their skin. That will dry out your dog’s skin and make it more likely for your dog to experience skin damage.
Your vet may suggest that you apply certain topical anti-inflammatory products on your pet’s itchy skin areas. Pay attention to areas on your dog’s coat that seem sensitive when you pet your pooch.
Apply conditioner or medicated shampoo
When you bathe your pet, consider getting a medicated, pet-specific shampoo product that can help heal your dog. Some dog shampoos are antifungal and antimicrobial, which helps to remove the allergens from your dog’s coat.
Also, shampoos and conditioners made for your pup will add extra essential fatty acids to your dog’s coat so that your dog doesn’t experience dry skin.
We also recommend you condition your dog’s coat after bathing because a good conditioner can act as a barrier and help your dog repel allergens.
Remember, when bathing your dog, make sure you’ve purchased a product that is pet-safe for a shampoo and conditioner.
Follow the product’s directions, and if you are worried or you have any concerns about the bathing product, you can contact your vet.
Keep Your Golden Retriever Comfortable
When you are in the process of trying to discover why your dog is scratching so often, you’ll want to do what you can to alleviate the symptoms your dog is experiencing. You can use medications your vet gives you and also use avoidance strategies to keep your dog happy.
It’s a good idea to vacuum your house often so that your golden retriever isn’t exposed to dust regularly. Also, use the air conditioner to keep your dog comfortable when it is hot outside. You can also put a plastic cover over your dog’s bed.
Try to keep your dog away from the carpet, too, if possible. All of these actions can help alleviate some of the symptoms your dog is experiencing.
Use Medications When Advised
If you do decide to take your dog to the vet, your vet may prescribe some medications to help aid your dog during the process.
Any medications prescribed by your vet when your dog experiences discomfort should alleviate some pain. You’ll need to follow the instructions on the label accurately.
You may want to talk to your vet about whether or not your golden retriever needs steroids. Steroids can help to decrease your dog’s inflammation so that your dog scratches less.
Steroids are usually used in the short-term to help give your dog some relief. Most likely, you won’t use steroids over the long-term because of the side effects they can cause.
The side effects of using steroids in the long term include a weakened immune system, liver enlargement, and higher blood pressure. If your dog does need to take steroids over the long-term, then you’ll wind up giving your dog low doses of steroids.
Anti-histamines are used often to treat canine allergies. Anti-histamines help block the release of histamine from the parts of the body, experiencing an allergic reaction. If your dog has mild or seasonal skin allergies, histamines can help solve the problem.
Another type of medicine commonly given to dogs with allergies is a non-steroidal drug known as cyclosporine. This type of medication would be delivered to your dog every day for four to six weeks. This type of treatment is usually expensive, but it is safe for long-term use.
Your dog can also undergo Allergen Specific Immunotherapy (ASIT). This medicine is probably the best way to treat your dog’s allergies in the long run.
This type of treatment will slowly desensitize your dog’s immune system to the allergens that are creating its problems. This type of therapy is usually administered using an injection and can help decrease your dog’s allergic sufferings.
Now that we’ve answered your questions about your golden retriever’s allergies, it’s time for you to start figuring out how you can help your pooch.
Start by either talking to your vet or using the trial and error method of slowly removing the potential allergens from the environment until your dog stops having problems.
If you still can’t tell what caused the allergic reaction, you can slowly reintroduce items, one by one, to your dog so you can figure out the culprit. Remember, talk to your vet during this process if you wind up having any questions.