By Kim Rain
Published: 04/26/2021, edited: 11/17/2021
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Have you noticed your dog scratching a lot? Do they have patches of reddened, irritated skin? If these symptoms continue, you may start to wonder what is causing all the itchiness in your best furiend. Is it fleas? Do they have an allergy?
Allergies are actually quite common in dogs, and can be triggered by several things. From certain foods or pollen, to dust mites or flea bites, an allergic reaction to these factors can cause symptoms centered in the skin, and in the respiratory and digestive tracts. Some dogs can even be allergic to certain materials in fabrics, including those in their beds and blankets.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at why your dog could be allergic to their blanket, and what to do to alleviate their symptoms. But first, let’s explore what a blanket allergy looks like.
What is My Dog Allergic To?
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakes a common, non-threatening thing as a dangerous invader, and mounts an attack to destroy it that ends up creating all the symptoms of an allergy attack. Signs can vary in an allergic reaction, and may include skin issues, respiratory complaints like sneezing and coughing, or digestive issues such as diarrhea, changes in appetite, and vomiting.
You’ll need to speak with your veterinarian about possible allergens that may be causing your dog’s issues, and they may try a few things to eliminate some possibilities. These could include checking for fleas and adding a monthly flea preventative to your dog’s routine, changing their diet, or putting them on an antihistamine or other medications. It may take some work before you look into the fabrics they are exposed to as the culprit.
However, if you dog is allergic to the fabric of their blanket, you’ll likely see the signs of a contact allergy, a type of environmental allergy that occurs when they come into direct bodily contact with the offending allergen. Symptoms of a contact allergy can appear within minutes to days after exposure, and are generally centered in areas that had direct contact with the fabric.
Signs of a contact allergy include:
- Excessively scratching or licking certain areas of the body
- Reddened, irritated patches of skin
- Hair loss
- Skin thickening
- Dry skin
- Skin cuts, abrasions or blisters
- Discharge from affected areas
- Bacterial skin infections
- Runny nose or eyes
Fabrics That Can Cause Allergies
While not as common as a flea or pollen allergy, dogs can be allergic to certain materials used in their beds or blankets. The biggest sign that a blanket is causing your dog’s issues will be if the itchiness and skin irritation occurs soon after they touch the blanket, and usually in areas that had the most direct contact, such as their stomach, face or paws.
Sometimes, you can tell what a blanket is made of, or have a tag that tells you, but in many cases, you’ll need to do some detective work to figure out what material your dog is reacting too. Blankets can also be made from blends of different materials, making your job even harder. In addition, the allergen can also be the laundry detergent or fabric softener you use, or the chemicals used to treat the fabric itself.
Synthetic materials are commonly the cause of fabric allergies, while cotton and hemp cause less allergic reactions, but it is possible for any type of material to become an allergen.
Blanket materials that can cause an allergy in dogs include:
- Synthetic materials
- Micro fibers
- Faux furs
How to Treat a Fabric Allergy in Your Dog
Once you know your dog is allergic to their blanket, you can help them recover and keep future allergy attacks from happening with these easy tips.
#1 Identify the allergic material in the blanket.
#2 Eliminate any blankets, beds or fabrics with that material from your dog’s environment, including in blankets, beds, collars and clothing.
#3 Research new blankets and bedding with different materials to replace them with, and watch for any allergic responses, removing any that cause a reaction.
#4 Avoid any chemically treated fabrics.
#5 Treat your dog’s irritated skin and other allergy symptoms through medications from your veterinarian, oatmeal or medicated baths to soothe their skin, and supplements that calm the immune response.
#6 Regularly wash your dog’s blanket and bedding to keep dust mites, fleas, pollen, and any other possible allergens out. This will help you to diagnose an allergy to different materials rather than to another kind of allergen.
#7 Use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent, preferably without any artificial dyes or scents, and completely avoid using fabric softener.
#8 Keep a running log of symptoms and recent fabric exposures to help identify future allergies.
With your help, your dog will soon be feeling great and back to their playful self. Be prepared for all the licks of appreciation!