Is your sharpei scratching a lot?  Is he missing patches of fur or does he have loose stool?  While it is quite possible that he could be ill and you should have him checked out by your vet, there is also a good chance that what your pet is suffering from is an allergy.

Can dogs actually have allergies?  Yes they can.   Just like people they can be hypersensitive to certain foods, cleaning products, dust, weeds, grass, pollen and so on.  Reactions can lead to itchy skin, effect their digestive system, etc.  The sharpei, in particular, should be watched for skin problems due to the folds of their skin.

That said, you should know that just because shar-peis have wrinkles does not mean that they are automatically prone to allergies or skin problems.  This is a common misconception.  Nevertheless, some canines of this breed are more susceptible to issues simply because it is a hereditary weakness that has not been bred out of the line.  Therefore, the best thing you can do for your pet is keep him well groomed and watch for any sings of sensitivity.

If you suspect an allergy what can you do for a sharpei?  The following are the steps you should take:

1 – Take your companion to the veterinarian.   Tell the professional of your suspicions and have your pal examined to rule out any other possible health issues that may be corrupting his immune system.

2 – Determine what the cause of the allergic reaction may be through a process of elimination.  This will take time, and your vet will likely suggest starting with a restricted diet that includes only non-allergen food and nothing else.  If after two months there is improvement in sharpei condition, he will be given low allergen food and slowly you will be able to introduce new foods into his diet one at a time.  At this point you will keep a journal to make note of his progress.  If it appears food is not the culprit, things such as outdoor and indoor causes will then be looked at.

3 – Keep him well groomed and his skin clean.   He should be fully brushed every few days.  All wrinkles on his body should be cleaned to ensure any dirt or debris is removed.  The skin beneath the folds needs to be kept as dry and clean as possible to prevent a build up of bacteria, which can lead to infection, sores or rashes.

Even though you may not be able to have an allergy-free sharpei, you can keep him happy by limiting his exposure to the enemy agent and making sure his coat is clean and well cared for.