Humans aren’t the only ones susceptible to seasonal allergies. Dogs and cats are also known to suffer from Fall-related allergies. In many cases, pet allergies are not life-threatening – though they can cause a great degree of discomfort for your pet and may lead to more serious, chronic issues.
Pet allergy symptoms include:
- Excessive scratching and licking in specific areas or over the entire body
- Continually rubbing the body against furniture, walls, ground, or objects
- Compulsively chewing on the same body parts
- Sneezing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing
- Visible skin irritation, such as redness, bumps, blisters, or patches
- Loss of fur or changes to the skin
If your dog or cat suffers from one or more of these symptoms, it could be allergies. Talk to your vet to confirm the cause of your pet’s distress and to formulate a successful treatment that will reduce irritation and calm their symptoms.
What causes allergic reactions
Most pet allergies are absorbed through the skin, though your pet can develop allergies to food or inhalants (airborne allergies). Allergies can also occur because of fleas, ticks, or other bugs. Still, most cases of allergic reactions are contact allergies.
Typically, dermatological pet allergies occur because of a poor skin barrier. Regularly-functioning skin protects your pet from irritants and allergens. But in pets with skin that is thinner or more absorbent, their body is more sensitive to otherwise common items and can overreact to everyday things by releasing immune cells and inflammatory substances, like histamines.
Because of this general sensitivity, most dogs or cats who suffer from allergies rarely react to just one thing, making diagnosis and treatment difficult.
Diagnosing and treating pet allergies
If you suspect your dog might be suffering from allergies, you should visit your vet. After eliminating other potential causes for your pet’s symptoms, they can test your pet through blood testing or intradermal skin testing to determine what allergens are bothering your pet.
When conducting allergy tests, it’s best to test during the season or seasons that the allergy presents itself the most. Your vet should also complete a thorough investigation to eliminate the possibility of fleas, mites, skin parasites, fungal or yeast infections, hypothyroidism, or chronic bacterial infections.
Treating pet allergies
Once you and your vet determine your pet’s allergies, you can then begin a road to recovery (or at least relief). Your vet may recommend a variety of treatment options to reduce symptoms, soothe irritated skin, and prevent further reactions. Common treatment options include:
- Dietary supplements
- Anti-itch medicines and creams
- Medicated shampoos
- Immune modulators
- Allergy shots
Of course, in addition to treating current allergy attacks, it’s also important to avoid known allergens as much as possible.
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