What are Parabens Allergies?
Parabens are well known for being an ingredient in many human cosmetics due to its antimicrobial preservative properties. These properties are what lead to parabens becoming a product in some dog shampoos and foods. Studies have shown parabens are practically non-toxic and usually do not cause side effects in healthy beings. However, if your dog has an underlying health issue or sensitive skin, he may be more likely to develop an allergic response to it. Typically, if your dog is allergic to parabens, it will show up as a type of contact dermatitis. While uncomfortable to your dog, it is rarely, if ever, life threatening and prognosis of a full recovery is good.
Parabens are sometimes found in dog foods and commonly in dog shampoos as a preservative ingredient. While it may have good preservative qualities, your dog may be allergic to it. If you believe your dog is allergic to parabens, discuss it with your veterinarian.
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Symptoms of Parabens Allergies in Dogs
Your dog may experience one, two, or many of the allergic symptoms listed. Symptoms may include:
- Skin rash
- Skin irritation
- Itchy skin
- Small red bumps on the skin
- Dry flaky skin
- Poor hair coat
- Loss of hair
Your dog may develop a rare but serious allergic reaction to parabens and may experience:
- Breathing difficulties
- Cardiac issues
Parabens used in dog shampoos and some foods include methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl and butyl parabens. Parabens are used as an antifungal and antibacterial property in products. Parabens keep the item preserved without being a major health issue to the average consumer.
Causes of Parabens Allergies in Dogs
Parabens commonly cause contact dermatitis when the product comes into contact with the dog. While this is not life threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable for your dog. For dogs that are extra sensitive, they may have a more severe reaction and may need more serious medical attention than those with a milder reaction.
Diagnosis of Parabens Allergies in Dogs
When you first arrive at the veterinary clinic, the veterinarian will start with a physical examination, including eyes, ears, and nasal passages. Your pet’s skin will be carefully examined as well. The veterinarian may take a skin scraping to view the cells under the microscope to check for bacteria, yeast or mites. At this time you can also discuss symptoms and the medical history of your dog.
Blood work may be performed if she suspects a cause other than the product you used on your dog that lead to the reaction. The blood work will give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are functioning and to rule out other possible causes of his symptoms. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment. If your veterinarian feels it is necessary, she may also perform a urinalysis for further evaluation of kidney function.
Bicom testing , a serum allergy test, and intradermal testing are three methods of investigation that the veterinarian may discuss with you. Cessation of the product and remarking on the results may be the first course of action if you and the veterinarian feel that the parabens are the problem. If the cause is not suspected, then the investigative tools may be needed.
Treatment of Parabens Allergies in Dogs
If your dog is experiencing only a mild reaction, your dog may not need any medical attention or may only need supportive therapies. Your veterinarian may recommend you washing your dog with a mild soap or dish detergent to remove any remnants of the product that caused the reaction in the first place. If it was an ingredient in your dog’s food, you simply stop feeding it to him. One the paraben ingredients are out of his system, he should return to his normal symptom free self.
If your dog has a more serious allergic reaction, he will need immediate veterinary attention. If your dog is not breathing well, he may be placed on oxygen either via flow-by or placed in an oxygen tank. If these options are not helpful, he may need to be intubated and kept on oxygen via intubation until stabilizes.
An antihistamine will likely be given in hospital to help with any skin reaction or itching. It is likely your veterinarian will have you continue to give an antihistamine at home for the next few days until your dog’s symptoms have stopped.
Recovery of Parabens Allergies in Dogs
While there have been no reported deaths of paraben related allergies in dogs, you should still be cautious; especially if your dog is more on the ‘sensitive’ side. If your dog has a severe allergic reaction, as long as he receives veterinary care relatively quickly, prognosis for a full recovery is good.
If you want to ensure your pet does not have a reaction to parabens, buy products without them. If a paraben is used in an item, it will be on the ingredient list. Since it is a very common ingredient in shampoos and related products, you might have to look for a more naturally made shampoo. While it may be a little higher in price, it will be paraben free.