Have you noticed your little buddy has been acting a little funny lately? Maybe scratching a little intensely or acting stressed out? Have you noticed any pink spots in their ‘armpits’, neck, and anywhere else? If any of these sounds like your dog, you may want to consider having them tested for allergies.
Let’s face it, going to the vet can be expensive, and that can make the experience stressful or even prevent it from happening at all. Fortunately, this can all be circumvented by simply knowing the cost before you go. We’ve got your updated (and inflated) dog allergy testing cots for this year—keep reading for more. On average, dog allergy testing costs about $200. Here’s what you should know:
The Importance of Taking Care of Your Dog’s Health
So, the good news regarding dog allergies, is that they aren’t as much a threat to your dog’s wellbeing as they are to their comfort. But the two go hand-in-hand, so it still needs to be dealt with. Certain breeds like bully breeds—Bulldogs, Pit Bulls, and some terriers are very prone to allergies. Another common trait that these breeds all share is tenacity, and we mention this for an important reason.
When a dog is really uncomfortable and left to their devices—like in the middle of the night, for example, they can get to scratching. Many dogs will injure themselves quite severely in this kind of situation, scratching their skin raw and damaging the home with blood, dander, and an unpleasant smell. It sounds like an extreme case but can happen easier than you may think. So, with that said, it needs to be a priority. Imagine the worst case of hives you ever had.
You wouldn’t wish that on your dog for an hour, let alone a day or a week, so make sure you get them in! Luckily, the initial testing isn’t the most expensive trip to the vet you’ll have to make, however, treatments can add up.
How Much Does Dog Allergy Testing Cost?
Depending on where in the nation you live, testing can cost a little bit more or a little bit less. The year is already well known for inflation, so we’ve factored that into the prices down below. While the testing itself isn’t the most expensive thing ever, the treatments can add up. It’s also possible for the initial testing to be inconclusive and require follow-ups which can ring up the bill in some cases.
With that said, here is a regional breakdown of the two most common kinds of testing used to detect allergies. If we sourced any ranges, we gave the high end, so these prices represent the most it should be.
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*Prices adjusted to reflect current inflation rates
Additional Costs to Anticipate
This is where it gets pretty fluid. There are three sources of allergen that can be affecting your dog, and they are not mutually exclusive, so you could be in for a combination. Let’s go through the various sources and explore their treatment methods. Often, the dog’s allergies are caused by a skin irritant they are allergic to. This could be fleas, or dermatitis, among a few things. The two mentioned are very common. Depending on the severity of the allergic reaction, this can involve treating the dog with a chlorohexidine wash and taking medication to get rid of the skin-born allergen.
Allergens can also be present in the dog’s food. These dogs will require specialized hypoallergenic diets which are pricier than the average dog food. It can take some time to find out exactly what ingredients the dog is allergic to, so specialists will often begin trying a simple, 2-ingredient diet that consists of a protein and a carb, duck and yam for example. This way it becomes easier to identify and remove foods the dog is allergic to.
Less often, it is something environmental, perhaps a carpet, a certain type of dust in the house, or something specific like that. This is where it can get expensive. Testing for environmental factors is a trial-and-error process, and you may never find out what exactly is causing the issue. Don’t let this remote possibility scare you away from getting the initial test, though. It is less likely, and usually, you will eliminate one possibility at a time which lessens the financial burden.
When Should I Get My Dog Tested for Allergies?
If your dog got a little bit pink that one time a few months ago, you probably don’t need to worry about allergy testing, yet. It’s when you start to notice a more consistent problem lasting more than a day or two that it is time to think about getting it looked at.
When allergies present themselves, it is most commonly in itching of the skin. It’s very similar to a human allergic reaction, with hives, pinkness, swelling, and scratching. In some cases, it also will cause diarrhea and vomiting. The stress level of the dog should be your indicator. If they are stressed out, take them in.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Dog Allergy Testing?
For pet parents who are anxiously reading and re-reading the jargon in their pet insurance policies regarding pre-existing conditions—there is good news! Often, pet insurance companies will help cover the costs of dog allergy testing.
This is a massive generalization of course, and we must recommend that you check with your pet insurance provider. Pet insurance as an industry does seem a little more lenient in its coverage policies than other branches of insurance. It’s definitely worth checking!
What to Do for Your Dog’s Potential Allergies in the Meantime
There are a couple of things that you can try and change while waiting for a specialist to get back to you. If the dog has environmental allergies, then there won’t be much for you to do on your own. When it comes to food and skin allergies, however, there are a couple of things to try out.
First, make sure your dog’s flea meds are up to date. There are flea medications out there that will also get rid of dermatitis, so they are worth a shot if you’ve fallen behind on your dog’s meds and suspect that might be the issue. The other thing you can try is switching their food. The key here is to use as few whole ingredients as possible, so it’s not going to hurt them to experiment with using fewer ingredients in their diet.
Skin allergies don’t cost a whole lot to test for—in most cases. They can run you up a pretty penny, however. Ultimately, you know your animal and your gut feeling should give you a pretty good idea of whether they need to go to the vet.
With that said, it’s best to go and see the professionals before trying to make changes on your own. It will save you from wasting money and prolonging the discomfort of your dog, which we know you would never want to do! We know you’ll make the right decision—good luck with your little one!
Featured Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock