Is your Staffy itching and scratching excessively? While Staffies are generally a pretty healthy dog breed, your Staffy is highly likely allergic to something. So we’ll be looking at the 3 most common Staffordshire Bull Terrier allergies.
Estimates suggest that over 20% of dogs suffer from allergies, and that percentage worsens yearly. Allergies in dogs are nearly as common as they are in humans.
Allergies are equally as uncomfortable, annoying, and often painful for dogs, just like they are in humans. In addition, when a dog is constantly scratching and licking at its skin, it can result in secondary infections that cause more scratching and licking.
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Staffordshire Bull Terrier allergies occur when they suffer multiple exposures to an allergenic substance. The Staffy’s white blood cells remember the allergen. The more the animal comes into contact with the allergen, the more histamines (chemical compounds involved in immune responses) are released. Your Staffy will start to experience severe itching.
It’s crucial to point out that once a Staffy becomes allergic to various allergens, there is no cure, only management.
Are Staffies Prone to Allergies?
All dogs are prone to allergies, and the Staffy is no exception.
Some of the common allergens that can affect your Staffy include:
- Food (especially chicken, wheat and soy)
- Certain medications
- Cleaning products
Staffy Allergy Symptoms
It’s pretty easy to spot allergy symptoms in humans, but not for dogs. Dogs don’t typically have red itchy eyes, runny noses and constant sneezing.
A dog’s immune response to an allergy is usually scratching, licking and often nipping at the hot spot on their skin (if they can reach it).
If you suspect your Staffy has an allergy keep an eye out for these symptoms:
- Breathing issues (immediate vet’s visit)
- Dry skin
- Constant scratching, nipping or licking
- Watery eyes
- Ear infections
- Paw chewing or licking
What Allergies Do Staffies Get?
Staffies suffer from three main types of allergies:
- Food allergies
- Atopy (atopic dermatitis)
- Flea allergy dermatitis
The most common foods that can affect your Staffy include:
- Cereals (including wheat, soya, and corn)
It is unknown what causes food allergies in Staffies. Changes in the dog’s immune system cause its body to perceive specific ingredients as ‘foreign,’ resulting in an aggressive immune response that leads to an allergic reaction. Fortunately, food allergies in dogs are pretty rare.
If they suffer from a food allergy, you’ll likely see your Staffy licking and nipping the itchy skin areas, especially around the face, ears and paws.
Alongside those symptoms, you might also notice an unpleasant skin odour, scaly skin, red sores, pimples, and ear infections. In addition, your Staffy might also have tummy issues such as indigestion, noisy gut sounds, mild diarrhoea, and vomiting.
Atopy (atopic dermatitis)
Atopic dermatitis is an allergic reaction to environmental substances such as pollen, moulds, dust mites, and other animal dander (skin or hair fragments). You could say it’s similar to us having hay fever.
Exposure to environmental substances through breathing them in or direct contact (via the skin) is typical. However, the most common way to get atopic dermatitis is through microscopic allergens penetrating the skin directly.
Depending on the allergen, atopic allergies can occur seasonally or all year. When there is a higher concentration of the substance in the dog’s environment, such as pollen in the air, its body produces excess histamine, causing symptoms as described previously.
Some atopic allergies are seasonal at first, but your Staffy may become itchy all year because they can worsen over time. Dust mite allergies are common and can last well into the winter.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is an allergic reaction to flea saliva and is also known as “flea bite hypersensitivity.” It doesn’t take many fleas to cause intense itching in a dog. FAD is the most common allergic reaction in dogs, affecting approximately half of all dogs.
Staffy Allergy Treatments
Supplements are one way to help your Staffy’s allergies. Mainly Omega 3 fatty acids. Lack of which can lead to dry, flaky skin and if it irritates your Staffy enough, it can cause sores and potential bacterial infections. Another helpful supplement is a good quality probiotic to maintain a healthy gut and immune system.
For skin infections and hot spots, topical treatments are the preferred way of treatment. Your vet can recommend the best creams for your Staffy’s specific issue.