What are Leather Collar Allergies?
Leather is a popular material which is made primarily of the skin of a specific animal by tanning. Tanning is the modern-day procedure done in which the raw hide of the animal is softened and turned into leather. Tannic acid and other substances are used to keep the leather pliable and soft and to prevent decaying. Tanning also allows for leather to be water and liquid resistant and to be created into various items.
Leather making has been done for centuries and today is still a widely used substance for a plethora of items. One item which is quite popular, and can be made from leather, is the dog collar. Leather dog collars are usually more costly than nylon or other fabric collars, but they tend to last longer and be of better quality. However, some dogs have an allergy to leather, and wearing a leather collar can cause a variety of discomforting symptoms.
Leather collar allergies in dogs is a result of dogs having an allergic reaction to leather collars and other leather products. The symptoms of leather collar allergies are typically easily identified, as the irritation of the skin is namely around the neck area.
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Symptoms of Leather Collar Allergies in Dogs
If your dog is allergic to leather, he may not only have a reaction from his collar, but also from other items that he may have contact with. Leather couches, dog beds that are accentuated with leather, and other leather items may cause him to have the following symptoms.
- Irritation of the skin around the neck
- Loss of hair
- Change in pigmentation
- Raised, red bumps or a rash
- Itchy skin
- Scaly skin
- Discharge from lesions
Much of the leather that is used for dog collars come from cowhide, or beef hide. There are a variety of types of leather which may also be used for dog collars, couches, and dog beds. Types of leather can come from:
Causes of Leather Collar Allergies in Dogs
Leather collar allergies in dogs are a result of contact dermatitis. This inflammation of the skin is specifically caused by:
- The exposure of the skin to leather
- The overreaction of the skin to the allergens of the leather
- An excessive amount of antibodies being produced causing a reaction
Diagnosis of Leather Collar Allergies in Dogs
If your dog has started wearing a leather dog collar and is exhibiting the symptoms of an allergic reaction, remove the dog collar and make an appointment with your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. Once you take your dog to the veterinarian, he will ask you questions pertaining to the type of dog collar that was used and if he exhibited any other symptoms from other leather products that he may have had contact with. Your veterinarian will then look at his skin and fur, or possibly absence of fur around the affected area.
If for some reason your dog is having an allergic reaction in other areas of his body besides the neck area where the collar was being worn, the veterinarian may have to perform a few tests to be sure it is a leather collar allergy. Tests for contact dermatitis include skin-scraping, or the veterinarian will take off a small portion of the affected area and send it to the laboratory and a cytologic analysis which will further investigate the cells to see what is causing the inflammation.
Treatment of Leather Collar Allergies in Dogs
Once your veterinarian has ruled out any other allergies at this time, he will decide on a few methods of treatment to help your dog’s skin heal. The main method of treatment for the leather collar allergy will be the removal of the collar and to halt any future wearing of the leather collar. Treatment methods for contact dermatitis due to the leather allergy include:
Your veterinarian will cleanse your dog using a mild detergent or solution, followed by a thorough rinse. Cleansing your dog, especially in the affected areas, will keep them clean and possibly prevent any infection from occurring.
Medications may be given to relieve your dog of any itching or burning sensations. Topical ointment or antihistamine may be administered; if this is done, your dog may need to wear a “cone” surrounding his face so he does not try to scratch or further irritate the area. If medication is given specifically in the neck area, he may not need to wear one. However, your dog will have to be monitored so he does not scratch where the ointment was applied.
The most important method of treatment will be to avoid leather collars and other leather -containing objects, such as bedding or a couch. Eliminating the allergen from the dog’s environment is key to successful treatment.
Recovery of Leather Collar Allergies in Dogs
In terms of recovery and management, once leather is removed and no longer contacting the dog’s skin, your dog will recover just fine. Once you take your dog home, your veterinarian may give you or suggest a specific type of cleansing agent to use during baths, at least temporarily. If your dog was given any medications or ointment, the veterinarian will give you instructions on how much to apply at a given time and how often to apply the medication. Normally, when medication is given, it is used until your dog’s symptoms subside.