Can my Pets Have Allergies?
We are often so focused on our own pet allergies we might not think that our pets could have the same issues, but it is very possible for your pet to develop allergies as well. While human allergies are commonly associated with sniffling and sneezing, pets often have allergy symptoms such as itchy skin, hives or redness. Take some time away from pet potty training to notice if your pet has been scratching at themselves, especially if they appear to be doing damage or bleeding, or you notice puffy, irritated areas on their skin. They may be dealing with allergies.
Atopy is a common seasonal allergy dogs and cats can exhibit. This is usually the result of discomfort from ragweed, pollen or mold spores and is especially common in the fall and spring. Atopy can also be caused by dust mites if your pet has to spend more time than usual indoors during the winter. If you notice your pet chewing at their feet, constantly licking a certain spot on their body, rubbing their face or making a wheezing noise when they breathe you may be dealing with atopy.
Your pet may also be reacting to something they have eaten. If you have recently switched food brands or bought a new type of treat then the allergy symptoms you see may be caused by a filler or other ingredient that is upsetting your pet's digestive system. The most common symptoms for food allergies are sin infections or sores and yeast infections or other irritants in the ear. These will need to be treated with antibiotics to eliminate the symptoms and you will need to work with your vet to determine the cause of the allergy so you can eliminate it from your pet's diet.
Contact Dermatitis is a less common allergy which is caused by carpeting, cleanser or other household products coming in contact with your pet. If your pet has red bumps or blisters on their skin, hair loss or seems to be scratching themselves frequently then you may be dealing with contact dermatitis. Your vet can perform a simple allergy test to determine what is causing your pet discomfort so you can help your pet avoid this item in the future. These symptoms can also be caused by insect bites which may need further treatment to avoid infection.
The treatment you need for your pet will depend on the severity of the allergy symptoms your pet is exhibiting. Most allergy symptoms will develop within 20 minutes of your pet coming in contact with the item that they are allergic to which can help you narrow down what is causing discomfort. Typically removing the allergen from your home will be all that is necessary to give your pet relief, but if the allergen is something more persistent like ragweed your vet may need to prescribe allergy medication to ease the symptoms. This can be a cream, shot or pill depending on the dosage needed.
In certain extreme circumstances your pet may develop anaphylaxis, or difficulty breathing due to their allergies. This is extremely rare, but it can lead to shock, respiratory or cardiac failure which could be fatal. If you ever notice your pet's face swelling or your pet having serious difficulty breathing get them to the vet right away. If your animal friend is prone to severe pet allergies you will need to have your vet prescribe an epi-pen that you can use to inject medication into your pet's bloodstream to prevent an allergic reaction from becoming fatal. If this is ever necessary, take your pet to the vet immediately to get further treatment.