Jack Russell allergies and hayfever

Allergies afflict Jack Russells just like humans

Jack Russell terriers can develop allergic reactions to pollen, dust, types of food, insect bites, and more. It's not a pleasant experience for the dog, and there are quite a few causes for these allergies.

Sadly, there aren't really any cures for these allergies, and all we can do is simply help our Jack Russell deal with the symptoms and try to mitigate them.

Food allergies

Like humans, most Jack Russells are not born with food allergies, but they are developed over time due to their diet.

An allergic reaction to eating a certain type of food can manifest itself as itching, digestive problems, and coughing or wheezing.

The best way to tell what your dog is allergic to is to try to be scientific in how you feed your dog. Take things out of his diet for short periods and reintroduce others in a controlled fashion. Write down the results in a diary and show them to your vet.

Obviously this means he can't receive food from other people during the diet period, which is a shame, but best for him in the long run. Here is a list of things you should never feed your Jack Russell.

Inhalant allergies

Pollen, dust, mildew, and mold are the most common things that cause an allergic reaction in dogs.

Check to see if the area around his bed is clean and tidy, and whether or not other human members of your family are experiencing respiratory stress too.

When it comes to pollen however, this can be more difficult. Dogs love being outside, and during the summer, dogs suffering from hayfever won't have a nice time. The best thing to do is limit his outdoors time.

Contact allergies

This is simply where part of the Jack Russell's skin will become irritated, thickened, and discoloured, due to touching something he's allergic to.

What can we do to help?

Fortunately there are a few medical options that your vet can provide to help make our allergic dog happier:

  • Having your dog's blood tested
  • Steroids, which suppress the immune system to make the allergic reaction less severe. Although, side-effects may include increased aggression and weight gain
  • Immunotherapy, where your dog is given small doses of his allergen via vaccine over a long period of time. It gradually desensitises the Jack Russell to the allergen, but takes the longest amount of time
  • Antihistamines block chemicals called histamines released by the dog's nervous system in an allergic reaction. They're effective but can make your dog lethargic and sluggish

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