Maltese Allergies

MalteseAllergies are common in all breeds of dogs and cause wide-ranging symptoms.  If you have noticed your little Maltese either scratching or biting his/her skin or paws more than normal; developing sores in certain raw areas due to scratching; losing patches of hair; vomiting or having diarrhea; coughing or wheezing,  it is likely your pup is suffering from allergies.

Allergens – the substances causing the allergies – come in countless forms and fall under the general categories of environmental, inhalant, bacterial, flea, or food.  Your first task is to identify which of these is affecting your pup, and then you can proceed with the appropriate treatment, either on your own or with your vet’s assistance.

Allergies cause inflammation and can make it difficult for your Maltese to breathe, resulting in a coughing or wheezing sound.  If you notice these symptoms, stop using your current cleaning products, dog shampoos, carpet cleaners, laundry detergents, and replace them with hypoallergenic products.  Change or discard his bedding, as he might be allergic to its material.  Also be sure to discontinue use of air fresheners, sprays, perfumes, and any other inhalant that your dog may be allergic to.  Your dog should also not be exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke.

Fleas are another cause of dog allergies.  The flea saliva is deposited under the dog’s skin and can cause your dog to severely scratch himself, sometimes to the point of breaking the skin, which then often leads to bacterial infections.  So, flea control is extremely important.  Otherwise, you will be forced to simply deal with the effects of the allergy, usually with hypoallergenic baths, antihistamines, and steroids.  These are the same treatments used for all of the allergies mentioned.

The most common indication of a food allergy in dogs will be digestive problems, resulting in diarrhea and/or vomiting. It is usually the protein in the meat in the dog food – whether turkey, chicken, beef, or pork – that causes the allergy.  Your first step should be to discontinue his current food and start your dog on hypoallergenic dog food.  After his system is cleaned of all the old food (usually 8-12 weeks), you can begin food testing by introducing one new type of food into his diet every 1-2 weeks.  This makes it easy to figure out what food your dog is allergic to, and then your simple solution is to eliminate all traces of that food from your Maltese’s diet, which should make for a much happier and healthier dog.