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Eye Allergies in Dogs

| Updated September 26, 2017

Ocular discharge from your dog's eyes is a symptom of allergies. There are also eye infections your dog can contract that are related to allergies. If you notice anything unusual about your dog's eyes, make an appointment with a veterinarian right away. Most veterinarians prioritize calls about eyes because what you assume might be harmless allergies could be an infection or a disease like glaucoma.

Inhalant Allergies

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Your dog's eye symptoms are most likely caused by allergies. The most common form of dog allergy is the inhalant type. Dogs can be allergic to the same allergens that affect people, including tree, grass, and weed pollens, as well as molds, mildew, and dust mites. Most of the pollen allergies occur seasonally, but mold, mildew and dust mites are present year-round.

Food Allergies

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The second most prevalent allergy for dogs is food allergies. Dogs develop food allergies within their first year or after they turn 5. Test for food allergies by feeding your dog a special diet for at least eight to 12 weeks. Your vet will advise you. Remember, if the diet is not followed to the letter it will render the results meaningless.


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If your veterinarian has diagnosed your dog with allergies you have several treatment options depending on the allergy. Air purifiers are very helpful for dogs with inhalant allergies as is altering your dog's the diet, especially if your dog has a food allergy.

You can give your dog over-the-counter antihistamines. According to the Nelson Animal Hospital, Benadryl is used most commonly. Give your dog 1 mg per pound of body weight two or three times a day, but only after consulting your veterinarian. It takes about 14 days before the drug will have an effect.

Follicular Conjunctivitis

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If your dog is squinting and has red itchy eyes that produce a watery discharge he might have follicular conjunctivitis, which is usually related to allergies. Allergy-related conjunctivitis in dogs is common and the majority of cases are associated with inhalant allergies. Symptoms of conjunctivitis are usually in both eyes but you should also look out for other symptoms like coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, lethargy, fever and decreased appetite.


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Even if you think that your dog is exhibiting all the symptoms of an allergy or even follicular conjunctivitis don't assume you know what's wrong or how to treat it. Glaucoma is the most common eye condition that fools dog owners into delaying an eye exam. If your dog has glaucoma delaying a veterinarian appointment for even a day or two can result in permanent blindness. Glaucoma exhibits almost the exact same symptoms as conjunctivitis, so if your dog's eyes are exhibiting any unusual symptoms call your veterinarian immediately.