Identifying allergens and sources of sensitivities is tricky because the number of potential causes are many. At Camp Basenji, we first identify when the problem began—and then try to determine what changed at that time in the dog’s environment or diet. Resolve issues early—even those that don’t seem like a big deal. A problem that begins as a mere annoyance tolerated by both Basenji and owner can suddenly worsen.
Though we humans frequently suffer allergies and sensitivities, we often fail to appreciate our Basenjis are subject to the same frailties. And our Basenji’s response can be as strong as our own.
- Grass, garden plants and lawn care products can all cause allergic reactions. Lawn chemicals used by commercial lawn care companies can be toxic for dogs, who spend their lives close to the ground. Ensure you understand everything your provider is putting on your lawn and verify it is safe for dogs. If you have any unresolved questions about a product or are unable to attain safety confirmation, forgo its use.
- Cleaning products pose both allergen and poison risks. For those that have strong odors or pose known health risks, try substituting a vinegar solution.
- Some dogs are sensitive to dust and pollen; regularly clean where they spend their time to reduce associated problems.
Dogs often forgo showing signs of food sensitivities or intolerances until they are age two years or older. This is because it takes time for antibodies to their food intolerance to develop in their digestive tracts. A dog who has been fine with a particular food type for two or more years may suddenly develop intolerance.
Tests performed in most vet offices can help identify food allergies. Most dogs, however, develop food sensitivities, which these tests cannot identify.
The most common food sources of intolerance include beef, corn, wheat, soy, eggs and milk. If your dog exhibits sensitivities, try eliminating them from his diet. That said, identifying food sensitivities by trial and error can take years. The good news: a salivary test for food sensitivities is available from NutriScan.