What pets are likely to develop allergies?
• In cats, all breeds are susceptible to developing allergies; those exposed to common irritants seems to be at higher risk of developing an allergic reaction.
• In dogs, any breed can develop allergies although they are especially common in terriers, setters, retrievers, pugs, bulldogs and Boston terriers.
• Genetics play a large role in pets developing common allergies.
What are common symptoms of airborne/environmental allergies?
According to www.pets.webmd.com:
1. Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin
2. Increased scratching
3. Itchy, runny eyes
4. Itchy back or base of tail
5. Itchy ears and ear infections
9. Paw chewing, swollen or red paws
10. Constant licking
Like their human companions, pets can be allergic to a variety of different irritants. However, the most common allergies include:
• Tree, grass and weed pollens
• Mold spores
• Dust and dust mites
• Cigarette smoke
• Cleaning products
• Rubber and plastic materials
Visit www.aspca.org for additional allergies
How to treat airborne/environmental allergies in pets:
• Consult with your veterinarian about allergy testing, which can help determine your pet’s allergy.
• Cortisone, steroids or allergy shots may be prescribed.
• Antihistamines can work, but they’re best if used as a preventative, administered before exposure to an allergen.
• Fatty acid supplements added to your pet’s diet may be helpful.
• Sprays and shampoos containing oatmeal and aloe may be soothing to your pet’s irritated skin.
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In the case of airborne and allergens, while they usually can’t be completely avoided, exposure can and should be limited. Thoroughly wiping your dog’s paws with a cool towel each time he/she comes in from outside, combined with weekly baths will greatly help to remove allergen residue and minimize exposure to tree, grass or weed allergens. Dust allergy is very common for humans and pets alike. Being diligent about cleaning inside the home and laundering your pet’s bedding can help ease an allergic reaction.
In the case of food allergies, symptoms may include:
• Itchy skin
• Breathing difficulties
• Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea or vomiting
Treating food allergies:
• Your vet can test to determine specific food allergy
• Or, you can try an elimination diet where suspected foods can be removed from the diet. If symptoms subside, continue to feed your pet a diet free of the irritating food. However, it can be difficult to determine a food allergy by elimination alone in a pet with several food allergies.
Treating allergies in pets requires time, persistence and patience. Vets recommend that pets in good overall health, with a well-balanced diet and proper exercise, are better able to tackle allergies than those overweight with a poor diet. Allergy symptoms should never be ignored; left untreated, they can lead to secondary bacterial or yeast infections.