When you hear the words “pet allergies,” there is a good chance you start thinking of people allergic to cats and dogs, but here, we are referring to something else. Like people, pets can experience allergies. First, it’s important to understand what allergies are. If you have never experienced them yourself, you might not know that they are a reaction from the immune system where it creates antibodies to an allergen as if it is harmful, even if it’s not “normally” seen as dangerous. Allergens will affect people and animals in various ways, and their severity can range from a minor annoyance to a life-threatening issue. Understanding what can cause allergies in your pet and how to identify them is essential to ensure you get the proper treatment.
You can help your pet by understanding what causes allergies in pets, what symptoms to look for, and the available treatments. With the information provided below, you can help your furry friend fight back against the allergies they might experience, so keep reading to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for pet allergies!
Causes of Allergies in Pets
A wide range of allergens may affect your pet, with the sources of these allergens similar to those that humans experience. These sources include, but are not limited to:
- Environmental allergens such as mold, dust, mites, pollen, grass, and fungi can cause irritation and other issues for pets.
- Fleas can cause allergy dermatitis in cats and dogs when their immune system has an overreaction to the flea’s saliva.
- Food allergies in pets are more common than you might think. Commonly, pets are allergic to proteins from beef, dairy, egg, chicken, wheat, gluten, and soy. However, food allergens are not limited to those previously listed.
Other allergens can include synthetic materials, chemicals, and other substances. And like fleas, other critters like spiders can cause allergic reactions in pets just like they can for people.
The cause of your pet’s allergies might not be apparent and may require examination and tests that you can’t perform at home, so it’s of utmost importance to know how symptoms might present themselves so you can seek the right course of action. Continue reading to discover signs and behavior your pet might exhibit that indicate an allergy.
Signs and Symptoms of Allergies in Pets
Believe it or not, allergies are one of the most common issues dogs and cats experience. Often, people might not realize their pet is experiencing an allergy as the symptoms don’t always manifest in ways we expect, meaning how we know of allergies in humans. However, there are several tell-tail signs your pet could be experiencing issues with allergies, including:
- Scratching, excessive licking, biting out hair, and chewy on paws and other areas of the body
- Itchy and runny eyes, ear infections, swollen paws, inflamed and dry skin
- Respiratory issues, sneezing, coughing, snoring, and wheezing
- Gastrointestinal problems, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea
This is not an exhaustive list of the symptoms pets might exhibit when dealing with an allergy. It’s important to note that allergies may not be apparent when they are young or even may not develop until later in life, which means you can’t discount an allergen if they were okay with it prior.
To diagnose your pet’s allergies, your vet will perform a physical exam and possibly a blood or skin test or ask you to facilitate an elimination diet. An elimination diet helps to determine what foods your pet might be sensitive to by eliminating them from their diet and then reintroducing them one by one to see how your animal reacts.
If you think your pet is experiencing any of the symptoms explained above, it is best to contact a veterinarian to diagnose the cause and get the proper treatment.
Treatments for Allergies in Pets
Depending on the allergen that is affecting your pet, there is a wide range of treatments that may help alleviate their symptoms. Common pet allergy treatments include medications such as immunosuppressants, antihistamines, and corticosteroids. Another treatment method is immunotherapy, or allergy shots, which are used to desensitize a pet to an allergen over time.
Avoiding the allergen can be an effective method, especially when it comes to food allergies. With this treatment, you would eliminate the source of the allergy from their diet or environment, reducing the likelihood of irritation. Depending on the allergen, your veterinarian might prescribe or recommend a hypoallergenic food for your pet.
Not all treatments will suit every cat or dog, so working with your vet is essential to determine which is suitable for your furry companion. Also, remember that pets can’t verbalize their feelings, so it may take some trial and error before you find a long-term solution to keep your pet happy and comfortable.
Helping Your Pet Live with Allergies
The best thing to do for your pet to keep them happy and healthy is to keep up with routine veterinary appointments, which will help you catch any discomfort or issues your cat or dog could have due to an allergen.
If you believe your pet is experiencing symptoms of allergies, don’t ignore the signs! Although the symptoms might be mild, they could be causing your pet a lot of discomfort and frustration, so get assistance from a licensed vet today, like those at Pure Paws Veterinary Case.
Pure Paws Veterinary Care can assist you with your pet’s allergies if you live in New York City. With locations in Hell’s Kitchen, Hudson Square, and Clinton Hill, we are right around the corner and ready to take care of your furry friend. You can call or make an appointment online and help your pet manage its allergies! Although excess paw licking might not seem like a big deal, your pet will appreciate you taking the initiative to get them the right care for any of the symptoms they display, so don’t wait; call your vet today!