As you make your annual trip to the local drugstore for this season’s allergy medicine, don’t forget about your furry friends back home who could also be suffering with the hypothetical sniffles.
Though cats and dogs can be allergic to the same things as people, animal allergies present themselves differently in pets and often affect the skin and respiratory system. The three most common allergies to watch out for are atopy, fleas, and food. If your pet is suffering from any of the following symptoms, it might be a result of allergies:
- Excessive chewing/scratching of the skin
- Scratching of the ear, head shaking, hair loss around ears
Atopy is hypersensitivity to particles inhaled or absorbed through the skin (Source). Atopy can be seasonal or year-round allergies to the environment. Atopy is most common in retriever and terrier breeds, but any dog can suffer from this kind of allergy. Some signs that your pet may be experiencing atopy are licking the front paws, or having itching or scabbing around the body (most often around the head and neck).The sensitivities your dog or cat may have can be determined by a simple trip to the vet.
Fleas. Even a single bite by these microscopic pests can cause an intense reaction for your companion. Though fleas may not be visible on the surface, a trip to the vet can confirm your suspicions and help find the best solution or remedy. Most often, a store-bought pet shampoo can do the trick, but a prescription strength product will always work best.
Food. This is the least common pet allergy though it isn’t seasonal. Even if your expensive pet food has been a staple in the diet of your sidekick, animals can develop allergies to certain ingredients over time. The most common food allergens are beef, chicken, eggs, and corn (source). A simple solution to suspected food allergies is a diet trial, see your local veterinarian to plan one!
Remember, the best method of treating allergies is PREVENTION. To help your four-legged friend stay healthy throughout the year, it’s important to work to keep allergies from forming. The following are some methods for prevention:
- Frequent baths
- Foot soaks
- Regular vacuuming/cleaning of areas the pet frequents
- Vaccinations (but not excessive)
- Anti-inflammatory diet