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Boxer Dog Allergy Information


Allergies seen with canines is a rather common yet troubling issue. 

Some Boxers can have minimal symptoms, but others really suffer from all sorts of issues, with skin and coat problems at the top of that list, followed by gastrointestinal distress.

While solving allergies can be a bit tricky and does take some time and effort, you may be able to see drastic improvement if all applicable guidelines are followed. 

In some cases, this can be done from home; but, there are instances when your Boxer will need professional veterinary care for both narrowing down the triggers and for proper treatment. 

Types of Allergies - Signs and Treatment

Your Boxer, if suffering from allergies, may show extreme signs of despair. These can be broken down into 3 categories and they each have their own most common triggers:

1. External: Your Boxer's skin may show a reaction. This can range from slight itching to very bothersome symptoms such as relentless itching that will cause your dog to scratch until he loses fur. Sores can develop; these can quickly become infected. Fur loss may also occur directly from the allergen itself.

Causes & Treatments of External Dog Allergies

Fleas - Fleas on a dog will cause itching. Fleas on a dog who is allergic to the saliva of a flea will cause terrible itching and lead to serious symptoms

Treatment - Fleas are not very hard to get rid of if you use a 3 punch plan.
  • Treat you dog with flea medication to get rid of fleas, both adult and larvae
  • Treat your entire home with flea bombs 
  • Use a soothing medication on your dog to begin the healing process of sores and lesions. Deep sores or lesions may need the help of an antibiotic medication, which can be given to you by your dog's veterinarian. 
Chemicals - A Boxer may have a reaction to the cleaning solution on your carpeting, the detergent used to clean your bed sheets or their dog bed, the shampoo that is used to groom them...any powder or fluid that they come into contact with. 

Treatment - A dog owner must experiment to determine the cause. Take away 1 element at a time. Since the symptoms can linger for a week or more, allow at least 7 days to see if the element taken out of the picture reduces symptoms. If so, find a permanent alternative. Any deep sores may need an antibiotic treatment, prescribed by your dog's veterinarian.

2. Internal: This type will cause symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea. It is not normal for a dog to have either of these symptoms, at any time. If your dog is getting sick in this way, it is best to have them checked out by their veterinarian. Most likely, the cause will be something that was ingested. 

This is a serious condition that can quickly cause weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration to your Boxer dog. Secondary symptoms such as itching and respiratory issues can develop as well.

Causes & Treatments for Internal Dog Allergies

Dog Food - A Boxer may become allergic to an ingredient in his dog food that he had previously eaten without any problem, sometimes for years. The Boxer breed is especially sensitive to dog food with a high grain content, particularly those including corn or wheat.

Treatment - The process of determining the cause of your dog's allergy may take months. Currently, clinical testing is very unreliable for canines. Elimination testing, done at home, is the common way to help your dog. Each day is a step toward recovery.

The dog must be fed a strictly 100% hypo-allergenic diet. If the dog is given even a small amount of food that was previously in his or her meals, the test will be corrupted and an owner must begin again from the beginning. 

Your veterinarian may prescribe a hypo-allergenic dog food or you may offer a simple homemade diet of plain, well cooked white chicken breast and plain, white rice.

Note: There is no need to change the daily vitamin and supplement; though changing heart worm medication may be needed as some dogs are allergic to chewables.

Starting off with simple home cooking will help you determine the trigger... And in some cases, you will find that your dog is fine with all foods because it was the artificial coloring, chemical preservatives or artificial flavorings in commercial food that was causing the reaction. 

After your Boxer is fed this basic meal of chicken and rice for 2 weeks, every week or 2 a food element is added, one customarily found in normal food or treats. For example, you may want to begin with sweet potatoes mixed in.

If your Boxer seems fine, add green beans the following week and so on. Keeping this strict diet for your Boxer and keeping a close eye on his reaction will show you what specific food ingredient your dog is allergic to. You may wish to read more detailed information regarding home cooking for the Boxer dog.
3. Inhaled: There will be respiratory symptoms that include coughing, sneezing, wheezing and sometimes choking sounds. This can range from mild to quite severe. Dogs with this type of allergic response can sometimes literally be struggling to be able to breathe. 

In many cases, this will be alongside quite severe itching.  This may lead to hot spots (areas of bright red skin with intense itching). A Boxer may have such an uncontrollable urge to ease the itch that he or she licks, bite or scratches excessively and to the point of ripping out fur. These types of reactions more often strike female Boxers and begin to occur between the ages of 1-4 years old. However, a Boxer of either gender may have this at any age.

With many dogs, there may also be irritated puffy eyes and/or gum and interior mouth tissue may become red and slightly swollen. 

Causes & Treatments for Respiratory Dog Allergies

Tobacco smoke - Your boxer may be allergic to cigarettes or cigar smoke in your home. Not only can this cause an allergic reaction in dogs, it is proven to cause cancer.

Treatment - For the sake of your Boxer's health, all smoking should be done outside. Limiting smoking to 1 room is not very helpful, as natural air currents in your home will quickly spread the smoke to the rest of the home.

Trees, Weeds, Pollen and Other - Just as a human may be have seasonal allergies, so may a dog. A Boxer can be allergic to outside elements each spring and fall or all year long. Indoor triggers such as dust mites (tiny microscopic bugs), can be present indefinitely if they are not purposefully eliminated.

Treatment - 

1) More frequent baths will help remove allergens from the coat and skin

2) Running an A/C or a central fan with high quality HEPA filters (Those that catch particles as small as 2 microns and remove 99.7% of all particles in the air) will greatly help remove allergens from the air

3) Stay up-to-date on pollen counts (usually broadcast alongside weather reports) and on high pollen days, limit outdoor play time.

4) Rinse off your Boxer's paws any time he comes back into the house after being outside

5) Vacuum frequently with a machine that has a HEPA filter.

6) Wash your Boxer's bedding frequently

7) Dust mites can be eliminated by washing everything you possibly can in hot, sudsy water. The entire home must be dusted with a product that actually lifts the dust away and does not simply send it scattering into the air.  Carpeting must have a deep steam cleaning, usually done best by a professional. This type of over haul cleaning should be done every 4-5 months.

8) Medications such as antihistamines and/or corticosteroids may need to be prescribed. Often, once the allergy is under control, doses can be lowered in maintenance mode. 

Additional Treatment

For any of the allergies discussed above, while you are working to eliminate the cause or limit exposure, there are supplements and medications for Boxer dog allergies that can start to relieve symptoms. 
  • Fatty acids. Omega fatty acids, given as a supplement will get your dog on the road to recovery. This treatment must be consistent and can take 1-2 months to show full affect
  • Daily baths. These should be given with a very gentle hypo-allergenic dog shampoo. This will help get rid of the elements from the fur and skin and continuing baths will help keep them away.
  • Prescribed medication. Your dog's veterinarian will decide which medication is best for your Boxer. These may include: 
- Anti-Inflammatory medication - To help with itching and swelling

- Antihistamines - A quick way to help your dog, but may cause your Boxer to be quite drowsy

- Steroids - A last attempt if other medications do not work well

- Antibiotics - To help heal infected sores and lesions caused by non-stop scratching, gnawing and biting

- Allergy shots for your Boxer - To slowly try and make the immune system non-sensitive to the allergen. Other treatments are tried first, as this method is only effective 50% of the time.
Boxer walking
Marc, 22 months old 
Photo courtesy of owner Sunil Dutt
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