7 Things to Know About Pet Allergies

1. What Are Allergies?

A pet allergy is an over-reaction of the body to a certain stimulus. Either pollens, insects, foods, or other things. Allergic reactions and be immediate, or occur within a few hours or days. Fleas cause most of the allergies seen in pets. Flea control is essential to treating scratching dogs. Please ask your vet for flea control information if you have any problem with fleas on your pet!

2. Signs of Potential Pet Allergies

Fact #1
Up to 20% of All
Dogs Have Some
Type of Allergy

• Skin problems: excessive licking and scratching, redness, paw chewing, rashes
• Diarrhea or vomiting
• Breathing problems
• Reddness and inflammation of the ears
• Hair loss
• Behavioral Changes

3. Allergies to fleas

It is a well-known fact that dogs and cats can be infected with fleas. However, what most people do not know is that they can get allergies through these fleas, too.

Well, it is not the fleas that actually cause the allergic reactions in dogs but the flea’s saliva. Hence, it is important for the dog to undergo a skin allergy examination so as to determine if a particular dog is sensitive to flea saliva.

In the event that the dog is allergic to flea saliva, it would be better for the owner to implement a rigorous flea control or flea eradication treatment in order to lessen the allergic reactions. Though, it must be kept in mind that solutions that are used in flea control should be safe for the dog.

4. Allergies pertaining to foods

Like humans, pets get allergies from food as well. There are instances where pets get allergies from foods that their system cannot tolerate, such as wheat, soy products, pork, beef, whey, fish, eggs, milk, corn, artificial sweeteners, and chemical preservatives that are placed in their food.

Moreover, dogs can get allergies in food that they have not tried before. The best way to combat this particular allergy problem is to feed the dog commercial dog foods more often instead of homemade products.

Fact #2

Up to 5% of Cats
Have Some Type
of Allergy

Dogs with food allergies often have gastrointestinal signs like loose stools, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Cats with food allergies on the other hand are more likely to shake their head, scratch at their face and ears.

5. Inhalant Allergies, Atopic Dermatitis

Cats and dogs also suffer from conditions similar to what we call hay fever. Pollens in the air from cedars, ash, oak, Bermuda grass, ragweed, etc.

Atopic dermatitis is a known allergic skin disease in dogs. This is usually caused by the hypersensitivity of the dog’s immune system to ordinary substances that can be found in the environment like molds or dust mites.

Usually, a dog is said to be suffering from atopic dermatitis when the dog begins to excessively lick and chew its paws, licking the abdomen and its rear feet.

Atopic dermatitis can be seen as a saliva staining found in the armpits, between the toes of the paws, and in the groin. In light-colored canines, atopic dermatitis can be seen as a red-brown stain found on the same parts that were mentioned.

Fact #3
Dogs with Food Allergies
have diarrhea/vomiting.

Cats with Food Allergies
Scratch at their skin

6. Contact Allergies

Contact allergies are not as common in pets as other allergies, but they can still get them. With these you often see a localized skin reaction. These could be seen to things like wool or flea collars.

7. What can be done about allergies

Most allergies are life long conditions, so the main goal of therapy is to manage the disease.

Feeding Trials

For food allergies, often a feeding trial lasting about 8 weeks is tried first. During this trial a new type of food is fed in order to see if the food allergy goes away.

Food trials are often very hard to do and require great discipline from the owner. During this trial pets are often very limited in what they can eat.

Common Medications Used:

Fatty acids—takes several weeks (6 to 8)to show benefits. EFA-Z and DermCaps are examples of these medications.

Prednisone- Best to use at the lowest dose, and for the shortest amount of time. Many possible side effects including sleepiness, and drinking lots of water.

Antihistamines—Tavist, also available over the counter is Benadryl, and Chlortrimeton. These work good in combination with fatty acids. Works in up to 50% of pets. If one doesn’t work its best to try a different one.

Bathing Adding Episoothe Oatmeal Shampoo and Episoothe Oatmeal Creme Rinse helps to prolong the effect.

Hyposesnsitization (allergy shots) Works about 70% of the time to reduce itching, and has fewer side effects than most medications. Costly.

Cyclosporin therapy. This is a new approach to allergies. It works by trying to suppress the immune system.

Thanks to many medical advances dog allergies can be managed in most cases. Some pets require several trials on different medications to finally get the allergy in your pet under control.

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