Basset hounds are friendly, lovable dogs who enjoy going for a good romp outside. However, due to its conformation, the breed is particularly vulnerable to allergies. It may be impossible to avoid allergies completely but learning how to recognize the signs of allergies in a basset hound can help to determine ways to make the pet more comfortable.
The basset hound is a breed of dog originally developed for hunting. With its short legs leaving it closing to the ground and its powerful nose, the basset has strong tracking abilities for picking up the scent of animals. However, this also makes basset hounds prone to allergies. Being close to the ground leaves a basset susceptible to many different allergens.
If a basset hound suffers from seasonal allergies, look for symptoms similar to those in humans. You might see red eyes and a runny nose. The dog will also scratch itself a lot. Skin allergies are also common. If a basset hound's skin appears red or inflamed, it most likely has a skin allergy. In general, watch for any redness, itching or discharge in order to identify an allergy problem.
There are many types of allergies a basset hound can suffer from. Most commonly basset hounds will have skin allergies to certain plants, particularly grass. This happens because they are so low to the ground. Also because of their proximity to the ground, basset hounds are particularly susceptible to bug bites and stings. They may experience allergic reactions to these. Seasonal allergies also happen on occasion caused by pollen or other allergens in the air. Although it is less common, basset hounds can also experience food allergies.
The effects of allergies are generally mild. Skin allergies will cause itching and redness, usually on the belly. Bug bites and stings can cause swelling and inflammation to the affected areas and, if the dog has a serious allergic reaction to the insect wound, it may break out in hives. Seasonal allergies will cause red, watery eyes and a runny nose. In very serious cases, allergies can cause the throat to close or severe hives to develop. Immediate veterinary care should be sought if this happens.
The best way to prevent an allergy breakout in a basset hound is to keep the dog clean. Bathe the dog frequently and brush through the coat to make sure there are no stray plants that may cause irritation. If a basset is already having a reaction, it can be treated by giving the dog a cool oatmeal bath. If a basset suffers from chronic allergies, a veterinarian may prescribe allergy medicine. There are also shampoos and mists available for dogs with allergy-prone skin.