More than Just an Itch: What You Can do About Allergies in Pets
For those who suffer from seasonal, environmental, or food allergies, we know how troubling the symptoms can be. Whether it’s watery eyes, a runny nose, or intestinal distress, allergies in any form are no fun, and they can even threaten our health.
Pets can also suffer from allergies, which cause just as much misery for them as they do for us. Because the symptoms of allergies in pets tend to be quite different from what humans experience, they often go undetected. Learning how to recognize the signs of allergies in pets and knowing what to do are the first steps you can take to make your furry family member feel better.
Know the Signs
Allergies in pets most commonly manifest as skin issues. If your pet is suffering from an allergy, you may notice some of the following signs:
- Excessive biting, chewing, or licking in a concentrated area (usually the paws, groin, or belly)
- Repeated pawing at the face and ears
- Head shaking
- Red, swollen skin
- Hair loss
- Open sores
- Foul odor
Examining Allergies in Pets
An allergy is simply an overreaction of the body’s immune system to a foreign substance. The types of particles that can stimulate a reaction vary widely, but the most common allergies in pets are:
- Flea allergies – When a flea bites, it leaves behind traces of saliva, which can lead to serious itching and skin issues if a pet is allergic. This extremely common allergy can be addressed through year-round parasite protection (give us a call for more information).
- Environmental allergies – This type of allergy may be brought on by seasonal particulates, mainly tree, grass, and plant pollens. Some pets are also allergic to mold, dust, dander, smoke, and household chemicals.
- Food allergies – Only about 20% of pet allergies are related to food, and the most common culprits include beef, chicken, soy, and various additives (grains rarely make the list). A food allergy must be diagnosed via a prescription hypoallergenic food trial or an at-home food elimination diet (under the supervision of your veterinarian).
Although there’s no “cure” for allergies in pets, there are plenty of ways to control the symptoms. Hypoallergenic baths, daily foot soaks (to soothe the paws and keep allergens out of the home), and over-the-counter antihistamines (as instructed by your veterinarian) can help. Keeping your home as clean and dust-free as possible, along with keeping your pet on a year-round flea preventive, are also recommended.
We Can Help
In some cases, a pet needs additional help managing their allergy symptoms. If you’re concerned that your pet may have an allergy, please call the team at Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital. Allergies can seriously affect your pet’s overall health and quality of life, so the sooner we can diagnose your pet and begin treatment, the sooner they will feel better!
Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital:
Where big city medicine and surgery meet small town customer service and value.