What are Greenies Allergies?
The most common symptom in any kind of allergy in your dog is dermatitis, which includes redness, inflammation, and severe itching. The skin is the largest organ on your dog’s body, and is what protects the body from the environment, making it most often the first place that shows signs of allergy. In the case of Greenies allergies in dogs, the first sign may be vomiting rather than itching. It is always recommended to observe your dog the first few times you feed them a new treat or food. Even if your dog really seems to like the food, the body may not agree, and continuous access to the source can quickly lead to anaphylaxis and death if not treated immediately. If at any time your dog seems to be having trouble breathing (rapid breathing, coughing, vomiting) after eating a meal or treat, you need to see a veterinary professional right away.
Many of the ingredients in Greenies products are healthy on their own for many dogs, but just like people, dogs can become allergic to one or more of these ingredients at any time. Food allergies are usually more irritating than dangerous, with vomiting, diarrhea, itching, and hives as symptoms. However, some dogs can have a severe reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. The symptoms of anaphylaxis are wheezing, gasping for breath, bluish tint to skin, rapid breathing, and collapse, and can quickly lead to death if not treated immediately. Some dogs may have an immediate and obvious reaction to treats or dental chews such as Greenies, or it can take several hours to days before any symptoms show.
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Symptoms of Greenies Allergies in Dogs
Although the most common symptom of allergy is epidermal irritation (skin itching, inflammation, and rash), with food allergies the first thing you may notice is vomiting. Sometimes, there may be runny discharge from the eyes or nose. Greenies allergy symptoms may vary, but the most common are:
- Bluish skin
- Ear inflammation and itching
- Excessive licking of any part of the body
- Licking and chewing feet
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid breathing
- Runny nose
- Severe itching anywhere on the body
- Shaking head
- Shock (cold feet, extreme tiredness, hyperventilation, respiratory failure, slow and faint pulse, weakness)
- Skin rash
- Swelling of the face and eyes
- Watery eyes
Greenies come in many different flavors and sizes, but the most common ingredients in the treats are:
- Apple Pomace
- Calcium Pantothenate
- Choline Chloride (salt)
- Copper Sulfate
- Cranberry Fiber
- Dehydrated Sweet Potato
- Dehydrated Tomato
- Ground Flaxseed
- Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate
- Lecithin (fat)
- Natural Poultry Flavor
- Pea Protein
- Potassium Sorbate (salt)
- Potato Protein
- Sodium Caseinate (milk protein)
- Wheat Protein Isolate
Causes of Greenies Allergies in Dogs
Determining whether your dog has an allergy or is just intolerant of dental chews or pill pockets like Greenies can be difficult to diagnose. An allergy affects the immune system and is usually triggered after your dog has eaten a product such as Greenies treats or dental chews before, because it is the previous and continued exposure that produces the allergic reaction. On the other hand, Greenies products intolerance affects the digestive system and will happen the first time (and every time) your dog eats Greenies.
Diagnosis of Greenies Allergies in Dogs
Allergies in dogs are difficult to diagnose, especially food allergies, due to the fact that almost all dog foods and treats have multiple ingredients. The first thing the veterinarian will do when attempting to diagnose your pet’s symptoms is a physical examination, checking your dog’s overall condition and demeanor. The veterinarian will check body weight, temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration rate, breath sounds, reflexes, skin condition, and a thorough examination of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Laboratory tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry profile, electrolyte and glucose levels, urinalysis, and fecal examination will be done to rule out any underlying disease or illness. The veterinarian may also want to examine a skin sample under a microscope to check for a bacterial or fungal infection.
To test for allergies, the most effective way is to use the elimination diet. For this you need to take away all foods and treats you normally feed your dog and replace them with new ones that your veterinarian suggests or prescribes. You will try each food for several weeks until the allergen is found. Your veterinarian may also prescribe a hydrolyzed diet, in which the protein is made into smaller sizes that can be absorbed so it does not set off an allergic reaction.
Treatment of Greenies Allergies in Dogs
Fluids and Medications
To prevent dehydration and flush the allergen through your dog’s system the veterinarian team will start your dog on intravenous fluids and electrolytes. Corticosteroid medication such as prednisone may be administered to ease the allergy symptoms and antibiotics will be given for infection.
Treating the Skin
To alleviate the itching and rash, a cortisone ointment will be used. The veterinarian may also prescribe a hypoallergenic shampoo to use at home. The swelling and itching should clear up within 7 to 10 days.
During the elimination diet you will need to be careful not to feed your dog any other food and make sure everyone else in your household does the same. This is not a quick fix and can take a few months to find the right dog food, but it will be worth it when you do. There are quite a few commercial dog foods on the market that have novel meats or limited ingredients so along with the guidance of your veterinarian, you should be able to find one that your dog likes that does not cause a reaction.
Recovery of Greenies Allergies in Dogs
Do not feed your dog any treats or people food while you are doing the elimination diet. Be careful to feed only the recommended and decided upon food source once you find one that works, because introducing new ingredients can trigger another reaction. Your veterinarian will be give you more detailed instructions and is available to answer any questions or concerns.