Baby shepherd scratchingWe all have some experience with allergies. Whether we personally suffer from a seasonal or other allergy, or know someone who does, most of us are aware of the miserable symptoms that accompany an allergic reaction to pollen, mold, food, or other substance. The same is true for our four-legged friends when they struggle with allergies.

Allergies in pets often remain undiagnosed, and pets can continue to suffer needlessly as their symptoms go untreated and their exposure to the allergens continues. Learn how to tell if your pet has an allergy, and how to get him or her back on the road to health.

What Is An Allergy?

Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to foreign particles. These particles, called allergens, can be almost anything; common pet allergens include:

  • Food
  • Pollen
  • Flea bites
  • Chemicals
  • Molds
  • Dander

Allergies can occur at any time in a pet’s life, but most commonly begin between 6 months and 6 years of age. The symptoms may intensify with repeated exposure to the allergen.

Symptoms of Allergies In Pets

Instead of the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes and throat that plague human allergy sufferers, pets tend to respond to allergens with skin-related problems, including:

  • Biting, chewing, or licking at the feet, face, ears, armpits, or groin
  • Roughened red or black skin
  • Red, scabbed, or swollen looking skin
  • Head shaking
  • An unpleasant odor
  • Hair loss
  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections

Managing Your Pet’s Allergies

Besides being annoying and uncomfortable for your pet, the symptoms of allergies can present some challenging health issues. If you suspect your pet is suffering from allergies, please bring him or her in to see us at Vaughn Road Veterinary Clinic.

There is no treatment for pet allergies, but for most pets the symptoms can be effectively managed through a combination of veterinary medicine and good home care.

We recommend the following tactics to keep your pet’s allergies under control:

  • Grooming Bathe your pet regularly, using a hypoallergenic or medicinal shampoo and conditioner as recommended by your veterinarian. Soak your pet’s paws each day to ease inflammation and prevent allergens from being tracked into the home.
  • Nutrition – Changes to your pet’s diet can be beneficial in the treatment of allergy symptoms, and the addition of Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil supplements) can help to decrease inflammation. Your veterinarian can work with you to find the right choices for your pet.
  • Cleanliness – Clean and vacuum your home regularly to prevent the buildup of allergic triggers, and keep the air inside filtered or purified. Always use pet-friendly cleaning products.
  • Parasite control – Prevent fleas year-round by keeping all pets inside the home, including indoor kitties, on a monthly flea and tick preventive.
  • Medication – Depending on your pet’s condition, we may prescribe steroids or allergy medication (oral or topical), or direct you in the use of over-the-counter antihistamines (don’t attempt to give your pet any medication without first consulting your veterinarian).

Relief At Last

Allergies are no fun; but, by being alert to the unmistakable signs of your pet’s allergies you can provide them with some much-needed relief. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call with any questions or concerns, or if you would like more tips and recommendations for helping your pet cope with fall seasonal allergies.