Dealing with Pet Allergies

dog scratching

Allergies may seem like a mild problem, but for those affected, living with their effects can be difficult and unpleasant. However, allergies aren’t just for humans. Many domestic animals can be affected by very similar allergies to those seen in humans. If your pet is unlucky enough to be one that suffers from hypersensitivity to one or more allergens, it could be making his life pretty miserable too. Symptoms can vary depending on the cause but range from mild irritations to life-threatening situations.

Fortunately, veterinarians are now well aware of the likelihood of pets suffering from allergic reactions and are well equipped to offer advice and support. There are also steps that you can take to make your pet more comfortable too.

Types of pet allergy

Like us, animals can suffer from a variety of different types of hypersensitivity. These tend to fall into categories, such as the following:

Environmental allergies: this includes things like tree pollen, grass pollen, dust, mold, house mites or tobacco smoke.

Bite allergies: these are reactions that occur when your pet is bitten by an insect or parasite, such as a mite or tick. Fleas are the most common cause of bite allergies since their saliva contains toxins, and these trigger symptoms including swelling, redness and intense itching.

Food intolerances: animals can develop food allergies too, and products like corn, soy and dairy are well known for triggering reactions.

Contact allergies: as their name suggests, these are skin-based reactions that occur when your pet comes into direct contact with an allergen.

Signs that your pet could be suffering with an allergy

The exact symptoms that your pet will develop will depend on the type of allergy he is experiencing. However, common indicators to look out for include:

Skin-related symptoms: rash, scabs or blistering, raised areas of skin, redness, swelling, intense itching, open wound, skin infection.

Coat-related symptoms: coat looks dull, hair is thinning, hair loss.

Respiratory symptoms: wheezing, coughing, struggling to breathe.

Other common allergy symptoms:

- Persistent itching of the trunk, limbs, face, feet or anus.

- Loose or increased bowel movements

- Recurrent skin infections

- Recurrent yeast infections

- Foul odor emanating from the ears

How to help a pet with an allergy

Our veterinarian is the best person to contact if you think that your pet is suffering from some sort of allergy. While our vet may be able to make a diagnosis quite simply, some types of allergy require a process of elimination before your professional can accurately pinpoint the cause.

There are a range of different medications and treatments that can be used to help pets that suffer from allergies, and most will dramatically reduce if not completely eradicate the symptoms that your pet is living with. This can make a serious improvement to the quality of his life. Our vet will discuss your pet’s treatment choices with you once a diagnosis has been confirmed.

Fortunately, there are also some things that you can do to reduce the effects of allergies or removing the likelihood of your pet experiencing allergies altogether. These include:

- Removing any plants or flowers in your yard that are known as being toxic to animals

- Minimizing your pet’s exposure to environmental allergens such as dust or mold

- Keeping all products that contain chemicals or toxins locked securely away

- Sticking to the same food as much as possible, and if you do need to change, introducing the new product gradually

- Rinsing your pet when he comes in from outside if he is allergic to pollen or dander

- Keep your pet’s parasite prevention treatments up to date. This will help eliminate reactions caused by tick and flea bites, as well as prevent him from potentially being infected with a tick-borne illness.

If you would like more information on the best way to deal with pet allergies, our dedicated veterinary team should be your first phone call. We have extensive experience in dealing with a huge range of potential pet allergens and know just what to suggest to eliminate your pet’s suffering. Please do not hesitate to telephone our offices.