Allergies—They’re Not Just for Hoomans!
Did you know that just like us, our pets can suffer from allergies, too? It’s true! If you have allergies, you know how miserable it can make you feel, and it’s just as lousy if you’re a cat or a dog. Here’s what you need to know about allergies and your pets!
A variety of things can trigger allergies in pets, including:
- Environmental factors, including pollen, mold, and dust
- Flea bites
- Ingredients and additives in grooming products and cleaning supplies
While humans and pets can be allergic to the same things, their symptoms are typically different from ours. While we’re most likely to suffer from respiratory symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose, pet allergies frequently appear as skin issues. Things to look for include excessive scratching, red or scabby skin, ear infections, and poor coat condition. Many dogs with allergies will chew and lick at their paws excessively. Respiratory symptoms like sneezing and wheezing are more common in cats and can also indicate allergy issues.
How can you help?
Fortunately, you can do plenty of things at home to control a pet’s allergies! Frequent bathing with a gentle, hypo-allergenic shampoo keeps your pet from being a walking pollen mop. When your pet comes in from outdoors, a quick wipe with a damp cloth or towel will go a long way towards keeping allergens off them (and out of your home!). Pay particular attention to their paws, as these are frequent spots of allergic itchiness. If the pollen counts are high, consider reducing outdoor activity until they drop back down. An indoor HEPA filter helps reduce airborne allergens in your home—which benefits the whole family!
Fleas are a common culprit in allergic pets, and it can only take one bite to set off a whole-body storm of itchiness and inflamed skin in your pet. Keeping your furry friends on year-round flea and tick preventatives is essential for many reasons, but it’s especially critical if you have a flea allergic pet.
When to See a Vet
If your pet needs a little more help controlling their allergies, we’ve got plenty of options. Antihistamines can be beneficial for allergic pets, but make sure to call us before you give them anything from the human medicine cabinet. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements can help keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy and reduce itchiness. Medications like Apoquel are highly effective at controlling itchiness, and Cytopoint is an injectable medication that can reduce or eliminate symptoms for up to eight weeks.
If your pet is losing fur or itching to the point where their skin is inflamed, scabby, or bleeding, it’s time to call us! Ditto if your pet keeps you up at night with excessive itching or licking.
If you suspect your pet has food allergies, diagnosis typically involves strict dietary limitation trials and a special diet free of that pet’s particular allergen. You can also have your pet tested to determine what kinds of things in the environment they’re allergic to, and some pets can benefit from immunotherapy (allergy shots). There are a wide variety of tools and treatments we can use to help an allergic pet, and we’re ready to figure out what works best for you and your furry friend—so everyone can get some sleep.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from allergies, don’t wait until things get severe—call us today at (214) 826-4800 or request an appointment online and let us stop the itch!