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Allergies

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Pomeranian Allergies

Overview

There are 3 main types of allergies with dogs.

1) Contact allergy - This means a Pomeranian may be allergic to an element outside of his body that he comes into contact with. 

This can include shampoo, carpet cleaner, laundry detergent that is used to clean his bedding, or even the material of his dinner dish.

2) Environmental allergy - This will be an allergic reaction to an element that is inhaled. This includes grasses, weeds, and pollen. 

These elements - while having a high count outside - may also be found inside the home. 
This happens via normal air transfer but also pollen and other triggers can be tracked into the home after a dog has been outside. 

Environmental allergies also includes dust mites and other inhaled triggers inside the house.

3) Food allergy - While this is called a food allergy, many toy breeds including the Pomeranian more often than not are allergic to a food additive. This includes artificial coloring, preservatives, flavorings, or other chemicals that can be found in manufactured dog food.
* Other - In some cases, a dog can have a dangerous allergic reaction to bees, wasps and other stinging insects. While some reactions can be mild and treated with baking soda for the pain and Benedryl for mild reactions, a Pomeranian that is allergic could go into anaphylactic shock. Read more about: What to Do if a Pomeranian is Stung by a Bee.

Signs & Symptoms of Allergies with Pomeranians

Recognizing the signs of an allergic reaction can be tricky since it can manifest in so many different ways. 

The top symptoms will be:
  • Itching - All 3 types of allergy problems can cause moderate to severe itching. This in turn leads to some of the other signs.
  • Irritated skin - This can appear as a rash of itchy bumps or larger spots often referred to as 'hot spots'. The skin may be pink or red.  Hair may thin in those areas. If a Pomeranian chews on that area or licks at it compulsively, the skin may break open which leaves it vulnerable to infection.
  • Hair loss - Since the coat depends on healthy skin, chronic allergies can cause a Pom's coat to thin out.
  • Watery eyes / discharge- This is most common with contact or inhaled allergies. Eyes may have a watery discharge of varying thickness.  For some Pomeranians, eye discharge will be thick, often accumulating at night with the puppy or dog waking up with 'eye gook' that can appear crusted.
  • Red, bloodshot eyes - Along with the discharge above, eyes may visibly appear to be red and irritated. While this can happen due to a scratch or other acute issue, ongoing chronic bloodshot eyes is a common symptoms of allergies. 
  • Nasal discharge - While this is not as common as many of the other signs, it does happen to some Pomeranians, particularly those with seasonal allergies.
  • Changes in bowel movements - Mainly seen with food allergies, there will be a disturbance in the intestinal tract which can cause loose or runny stools.
  • Upset stomach - As with runny stools, having an upset stomach - with or without vomiting- often points to the Pom having an allergic reaction to something that he ingested.
  • Breathing issues - This can include shortness of breath and wheezing. This may appear to be worse on high pollen count days if the Pom has seasonal allergies but if enough air pollutants enter the house and are not filtered out, it may be around-the-clock.

Diagnosing Allergies

Professional Allergy Testing

When allergies are chronic, it is best to have an experienced and reputable veterinarian run tests to see if the triggers(s) can be identified. Some Pomeranians are allergic to more than one element and knowing exactly what bothers your Pom can - of course-  help you remove or limit the exposure to the triggers. 

Blood testing (ELISA) or intradermal skin allergy testing can be performed. Do keep in mind that these test are not always accurate and do not test for every known trigger; they test for the most common allergens that canines suffer from. 

Of the two, intradermal skin testing seems to be the more accurate; though, with this test a dog must be lightly sedated. 

Diagnosing Food Allergies at Home

1) Rule out additives: If you highly suspect that your Pomeranian is allergic to something in his food, first be sure that you are feeding him a diet that is free of common triggers. This includes artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.

And this must include rechecking any snacks and treats given to him as well. 

2) Treat skin/coat symptoms: If those were indeed the culprits, symptoms should less within 2 weeks. However, do note that you may need to treat the skin and/or coat for sores, hot spots, dry skin, itchiness, and/or peeling that was a result of the allergen. 

Even if the trigger has been eliminated, those sorts of issues can be on-going some attention being given to them. 

Ahead, we will discuss what sort of products can help with various skin and coat ailments caused by allergies. 

3) Rule out food ingredients. If you are not sure if your Pomeranian is allergic to a food additive or an actual food, you can use an approach that is similar to when a dog has an upset stomach, which includes offering a very bland diet. The goal is to give the dog's body a rest and allow the symptoms to fade before testing to see what is causing the reaction. 

A very bland diet of only de-boned white chicken meat (no skin, no seasoning -baked or broiled) and either white rice or sweet potato is given for 2 weeks. There should be no seasoning or additions of any kind other than a dash of salt. 

Once 2 weeks have passed, allergy symptoms should be gone.  It is at this time that 1 new food ingredient can be added.  

Two weeks should pass with that new food being ingested to see if it triggers any allergic reactions.  A new food is mixed in every 2 weeks in this manner to try and identity the trigger. 

Allergy Treatments

At-home Treatment and Remedies for Allergies

The goal is to take steps to decrease or eliminate the trigger while treating skin and coat problems that very common when a dog is suffering with allergies. 

1) Always rinse off your Pom’s paws when entering back into the home. This is best done by rinsing his paws under the tap of the kitchen sink. If possible, carry him there so that his paws do not leave any allergens on the flooring.

2) Wipe the coat down when entering back inside the house. Use a good sized quality canine wipe such as and wipe down the coat from head to paw. 
3) Use a quality medicated oatmeal anti-itch shampoo. Poms with severely dried skin may benefit from 1 time per week baths with the right products. 

4) For ‘hot spots’, which are tender, sore areas, use a ‘rescue lotion’. We recommend DERMagic Hot Spot Salve.

5) Giving your Pom an Omega 3 or Omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acid canine supplement can speed up the healing process.

6) Watch for skin irritations that have developed into sores and/or open leaking scabs. This will be a sign that an infection has developed. A veterinarian must treat this with antibiotics. Ahead we will discuss prescribed treatments for allergies. 
Veterinary Treatment for Allergies

The veterinarian can treat your Pomeranian with a variety of medication that will control allergy symptoms while the culprit is being identified. This includes:
  • Antihistamines - This includes Benadryl, and while you can give OTC Benadryl at home, if allergies are severe, the vet will need to determine if this, or if another stronger formula is needed.
  • Corticosteroids - These are given for short term use to help with moderate to severe cases of itching and swelling.
  • Topical treatments - This is often given to dogs that are having bad skin reactions to the allergen.
  • Eye drops - To help clear up irritated eyes. 
  • Antibiotics - This will be given if any skin sores have cracked open and may have developed an infection.
Allergy shot treatment for Pomeranians - If it has been determined that a dog is allergic to certain elements in the environment that cannot be controlled by the owner, this treatment can often offer relief to a Pom that is suffering.  

Essentially, very small doses of the allergen(s) are injected into the dog over a long period of time. This allows the body to build up a natural tolerance, and in turn many dogs are allergy free once the course is done. 
merle Pomeranian dog
Pumba, photo courtesy of Laura Montanez 

Helping to Control Allergies at Home

For inhaled / airborne allergies:

There are many things that owners can do to help clean up the Pomeranian's environment and to limit exposure to elements that may be triggering an allergic reaction. 

This includes:

1) Time your walks. On high pollen count days (you can find this information on weather reports), switch out the morning walk for an afternoon or late evening walk, since morning is usually the worst time. 

On severe high pollen count days, you may wish to skip the walk all together and provide indoor exercise.
2) Before you bring your Pomeranian back into the house, wash off his paws. During warm weather this can be done with a garden hose. On cooler days, you may wish to carry him to the sink.

3) Wipe your Pom down with canine body wipes to help remove find particles from the coat. 

4) Do not keep windows open; it's better to run ceiling fans to have air flow.

5) Do run your AC or central air conditioning unit. You'll want to make sure that the filters are HEPA certified of the highest class possible. This will trap very small microbes that would otherwise remain in the air.

6) Vacuum the house on a regular basis using HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners. This will pull out and trap both allergen particles on the floor and in the air.  Use the attachment to go over curtains and furniture. 

7) Everyone should remove their shoes before entering the house. Pollen and other triggers can be tracked inside. 

For contact allergies:

1) Use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent to wash all bedding, clothing (all human's and your Pom's if he has any), washable pillows, your Pomeranian's bed cushion covers, blankets, pillowcases, etc. 

2) Take note of any certain toys. You won't find this issue with carefully chosen quality toys; however, we know of a Pom that had troubling allergy symptoms for months and as soon as a certain stuffed toy was removed, his issues cleared right up.

3) Never use plastic bowls for food or water.  Stainless steel bowls are best and ceramic is another alternative.  Not only can a Pomeranian be allergic to the plastic, heavy colored bowls can also cause staining to the facial fur. 

4) Stop using any carpet cleaner powder - Your HEPA vacuum (as discussed above) will be all that is needed to clean the floors.

5) Take note of what you are using for baths and coat products.  Reassess the all of your Pomeranian's grooming products. 

Often inexpensive shampoos, conditioners and leave-in products can be the cause of allergies and skin reactions. Quality shampoo and other bath products can not only relieve any problems, they will improve your Pom's skin and coat health.  

6) A Pom have have a sensitivity to lawn care chemicals and if so, symptoms such as itchy skin may occur only on the paws, legs and tummy (if the grass reaches the dog's underbelly). If you suspect this, keep him off any lawns that may be treated with weed killers or other treatments.
Popular Pages:

Choosing the Right Supplies for a Pomeranian - A great list of what's needed for optimal care. 
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