If your pet is constantly scratching and licking, it could be a sign that they are suffering from allergies. Pets can get allergies just like humans do, and the symptoms can be quite frustrating for both pet and owner alike. In this blog post, we will discuss the signs of allergies in pets so that you can get your furry friend the help he needs.
Signs of Pet Allergies
Here are some of the most common signs that your pet may be experiencing allergies:
- Constant scratching and licking
- Scratching or biting at the ears
- Rubbing the face or body on furniture or carpets
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Swollen eyes and/or ears
- Sneezing and wheezing
- Recurring ear infections
- Poor coat condition, i.e. hair loss, or red, irritated skin
If you notice any of these signs in your pet, it is important to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Allergies can be very uncomfortable for pets, and they will likely need medication to help ease the symptoms. Additionally, allergies can have many causes (which we’ll get into below), and identifying the source of the allergen is essential for treatment.
What causes allergies in pets?
So, what causes pet allergies? Just like with humans, pet allergies can be caused by a variety of things, including:
- Dust mites
- Mold spores
- Dander (dead skin cells)
- Certain foods or food additives
- Insect bites/stings
- Flea bites
- Certain medications
Why are allergies problematic for pets?
Not only are allergies incredibly uncomfortable, but they can also lead to other health problems if left untreated. For example, constant scratching can cause your pet’s skin to become raw and irritated. Additionally, allergies can lead to ear infections, which are both painful and difficult to treat.
Left untreated, secondary infections can develop, and your pet may start to experience more serious health problems. That’s why it’s so important to get your pet to the vet as soon as you notice any signs of allergies.
Treating pet allergies
The good news is that there are a number of ways to treat pet allergies. To achieve the fastest results, it’s important to schedule your pet’s veterinary appointment right away, as your veterinarian can assess the situation, identify the root cause of the allergies and provide you with a treatment plan.
In some cases, pet allergies can be managed through diet changes or by avoiding exposure to certain allergens. However, in other cases, pet allergies will require medication. The type of medication your pet needs will depend on the severity of the allergies and how they are affecting your pet’s quality of life.
In some situations, the underlying issue may not be allergies at all, and rather another health condition. Therefore, it’s important to consult with your pet’s veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. For example, a dog that is consistently licking a joint may be experiencing pain in that area, rather than an allergy.
How are Pet Allergies Treated?
If your pet is diagnosed with allergies, there are a few different treatment options available.
- Diet changes: In some cases, pet allergies can be managed through diet changes or by avoiding exposure to certain allergens.
- Medication: In other cases, pet allergies will require medication. The type of medication your pet needs will depend on the severity of the allergies and how they are affecting your pet’s quality of life.
- Avoidance: In some situations, itching may be reduced by removing exposure to the allergen. For example, wiping a pet down with allergy relief wipes after their walk can remove pollens that have found their way to your pet.
- Shampoos: Washing your pet with a specially formulated shampoo can also help to remove allergens from their fur and calm irritated skin.
- Spray-on treatments: Allergy relief sprays can be used on your pet’s skin to reduce the discomfort and irritation of pet allergies.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to treat pet allergies. The best course of action will depend on the cause, the severity of your pet’s allergies, and how they are affecting their quality of life.
Pet Allergy Myths
Just as in human medicine, there is so much information on Dr. Google about pet health. Unfortunately, there is much information that is simply not accurate.
Here are a few of them:
Myth: My senior pet has never had allergies, so this itching can’t be allergies.
Fact: Allergies can develop at any age. Just because your pet has never had allergies before doesn’t mean they can’t develop them later in life.
Myth: Allergies are seasonal, so my pet will only be itchy during certain times of the year.
Fact: Seasonal allergies are certainly a thing, but pet allergies can also be caused by year-round irritants, such as dust mites, mold, fleas, and certain foods.
Myth: Allergies are only skin deep. If my pet isn’t scratching, they don’t have allergies.
Fact: Allergies can cause a whole host of symptoms, including runny eyes, itchy ears, and gastrointestinal upset.
Myth: Food is the most common source of pet allergies.
Fact: Actually, environmental allergies are the most common type of pet allergy. Food allergies only account for about .1 -.2 percent of all pet allergies.
As you can see, there are a lot of myths out there about pet allergies. The best way to get accurate information is to talk to your pet’s veterinarian.
Image credits: Christin Hume / Unsplash