Bull mastiffs are gentle and loyal large-breed dogs. However, they are also one of the most high-maintenance, as they are susceptible to a host of health problems, including allergies. But with a little work, you can provide your gentle giant with allergy relief.
Inhalant Allergy Relief
Inhalant allergies, also called atopy, occur when your dog suffers an allergic reaction to something she inhales. Usually, if your dog is experiencing this type of allergy, her skin will be red, she will chew or lick her feet, scratch or chew her skin, have recurrent ear infections or develop skin infections.
Your mastiff could be allergic to any number of pollutants in the environment, including dandelions, lettuce and ragweed. Typically, the best way to determine exactly what she is allergic to is to have your veterinarian send out a blood sample to a lab that will run an allergy screening. Once her allergenic culprits are determined, an injectable serum can be developed that will help fight her allergies and symptoms. This is the best, and most expensive, method in giving her relief.
If allergy screening is not feasible, you can try a combination of antihistamines, fatty-acid supplements and bathing treatments. There are a number of antihistamines that are available to treat your mastiff, but just as with humans, you may have to try a few until you find what works best. Chlorpheniramine, hydroxyzine, clemastine, Claritin and Benadryl are some of the most popular antihistamines. There are a few that you can buy over the counter, but many are only available by prescription.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements work in your pet's skin to develop a barrier between her and her allergens. They also work as an anti-inflammatory in the skin. Giving your mastiff baths with oatmeal-based shampoos in cool water can also provide relief. If oatmeal baths aren't strong enough, your veterinarian can provide a medicated shampoo.
Food Allergy Relief
There are many mastiffs who suffer from food allergies. This means that they are allergic to some component in their food. That could be a carbohydrate, an artificial additive or most likely, the protein. If your pet has chronic diarrhea or vomiting, ear infections or skin problems, he could have a food allergy.
The easiest way to determine what your dog is allergic to is by feeding him an all-natural elimination diet. This consists of feeding your mastiff food that contains a protein he has never had before. Try giving your pup a diet that contains either venison, rabbit or fish, instead of the usual chicken, lamb or beef. Feed him this and only this, that is, no treats or beef-based heartworm preventative, for about six weeks. If his symptoms disappear, it is likely that he has a food allergy. If you continue to feed him that special food, he will probably not suffer from this problem again. If you prefer, your veterinarian can also run tests to see what food your mastiff is allergic to. Just like the other allergy screening, this requires a blood sample.
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