Understanding Allergies in Pets
Does the jingling of Fido’s collar, as he scratches his ears in the middle of the night, keep you awake? Have you noticed that your normally calm pet is obsessively licking her paws? Do those red sores on your pet’s skin give you cause for concern? If any of these scenarios sound like you, your pet may be suffering from allergies.
Allergies in pets is one of the most common problems we diagnose in our patients. Just as for humans allergy symptoms can cause significant discomfort for our pets, and wreak havoc on their quality of life. The team at the Whole Pet Vet Hospital and Wellness Center wants to increase awareness of allergies in pets and make sure pet owners have the information they need to make their pets more comfortable.
What Is an Allergy?
An allergy is defined as an overreaction of the immune system to a foreign particle (allergen) that has entered the body. The most common types of pet allergies include the following:
- Food allergy – Various foods can produce allergic reactions in pets, but the main culprits are beef, lamb, chicken, corn, soy, and wheat.
- Flea allergy – Many pets are allergic to flea saliva, and even one bite can cause severe itching and other skin issues.
- Seasonal/environmental allergy – Particles in the air, such as mold, pollen, dust, or dander, can cause a host of uncomfortable symptoms.
- Contact allergy – This allergy can develop due to direct contact or inhalation of certain chemicals, such as cleaning products, shampoos, or synthetic carpet fibers.
Symptoms of Allergies in Pets
Unlike in people, allergies in pets tend to manifest as skin problems. Signs your pet may be suffering from allergies include:
- Scratching, chewing, or licking at the feet, face, armpit, and groin
- Redness, bumps, or pimples on the skin
- Red, rough, or blackened skin
- Hair loss
- Ear infections
- Frequent head shaking
- Unpleasant odor
Managing Your Pet’s Allergies
If you suspect your pet is suffering from allergies, give us a call. We can help you determine the type of allergy your pet has and develop a plan to control the symptoms. Aside from medication and immunotherapy, the following tactics go one step further toward helping an allergic pet:
- Grooming – Bathe your pet regularly with a hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner as recommended by your veterinarian. Soaking the paws daily will reduce inflammation and keep pets from tracking allergens into the home.
- Environment – Decrease allergens in your home by vacuuming, dusting, and laundering pillows and pet beds more often.
- Parasite prevention – Make sure your pet is on a year-round flea and tick prevention protocol.
- Acupuncture – The use of acupuncture can help build your pet’s immune system while reducing the uncomfortable symptoms of allergies. Give us a call to find out more about our acupuncture program.
- Nutritional counseling – At the Whole Pet Vet, we are happy to provide in depth nutritional analysis and counseling, aimed at reducing your pet’s exposure to inflammatory ingredients that can aggravate allergy symptoms.
The itching associated with allergies in pets is not only uncomfortable, it can also lead to more serious health concerns if left untreated. Don’t hesitate to contact our staff to schedule an appointment for your pet.