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Unraveling The Mystery: Is Your Pet Suffering from Allergies?

by Kamie Roth May 10, 2024

Unraveling The Mystery: Is Your Pet Suffering from Allergies?

As loving pet owners, we always want the best for our furry friends! But what happens when they start showing signs of discomfort that we can't quite explain? It could be allergies! Just like humans, pets can suffer from allergies too, and recognizing the symptoms early can make a world of difference in their comfort and quality of life.

Through this blog we will explore the telltale signs that your pet might be experiencing allergies and what you can do to help!

Understanding Pet Allergies

Allergies in pets are typically caused by the same types of allergens that affect humans, such as pollen, dust mites, certain foods, and even some medications. These allergens trigger an immune response in sensitive pets, leading to a variety of symptoms. It is important to note that allergies can develop at any age and may be influenced by genetics and environmental factors, so it is always important to pay close attention to your pets and the way they are feeling.

Signs Of Allergies In Pets

  • Skin Irritation
    • Persistent scratching, licking, or chewing, especially in specific areas like the paws, belly, or ears.
    • Redness, inflammation, or the development of hot spots (localized areas or inflamed, infected skin).
    • Hair loss can also occur due to the constant scratching, licking, or rubbing of the inflamed area.
  • Ear Infections
    • Excessive head shaking or scratching at the ears.
    • Foul odor, discharge, or redness within the ears.
  • Watery Eyes
    • Allergies can cause pets’ eyes to become red, itchy, and watery. This can lead to rubbing or scratching around their eyes and face.
  • Respiratory Issues
    • Frequent sneezing, coughing, or wheezing.
    • Nasal discharge or congestion.
  • Digestive Problems
    • Vomiting or diarrhea, sometimes accompanied by changes in appetite or weight loss.
    • Irritated skin around the mouth or anus due to excessive licking or grooming.
  • Behavioral Changes
    • Restlessness, irritability, or changes in mood.
    • Decreased activity level or reluctance to engage in usual activities.

Steps To Confirm Allergies

Confirming that your pet has allergies typically involves a process of elimination and may require the assistance of a veterinarian. Here are the steps you can take to confirm if your pet has allergies:

  • Observe symptoms: Take note of any unusual behaviors or symptoms your pet is exhibiting, such as itching, scratching, sneezing, coughing, or gastrointestinal issues. Keep track of when these symptoms occur and if they seem to be associated with any specific triggers, such as certain foods, environmental factors, or exposure to other animals.
  • Rule Out Other Causes: Many of the symptoms of allergies in pets can also be caused by other underlying health issues, such as infections, parasites, or skin conditions. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and may recommend additional tests, such as skin scrapings, blood tests, or allergy testing, to rule out other potential causes.
  • Elimination Diet: If food allergies are suspected, your veterinarian may recommend putting your pet on an elimination diet to identify specific food allergens. This involves feeding your pet a novel protein and carbohydrate source that they have not been exposed to before, such as duck and potato or venison and sweet potato, for a period of 8 to 12 weeks. During this time, you will need to avoid giving your pet any other food or treats. If your pet's symptoms improve on the elimination diet and worsen when certain foods are reintroduced, it can indicate a food allergy.
  • Allergy testing: If environmental allergies are suspected, your veterinarian may recommend allergy testing to identify specific allergens that may be triggering your pet's symptoms. This can be done through blood tests or intradermal skin testing. Allergy testing can help determine which allergens your pet is sensitive to, allowing for targeted treatment and management strategies.
  • Monitor response to treatment: Once a diagnosis of allergies has been confirmed, your veterinarian will collaborate with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your pet's specific needs. This may include medications such as antihistamines, steroids, or immunosuppressive drugs to help manage symptoms, as well as environmental modifications to reduce exposure to allergens. It is important to closely monitor your pet's response to treatment and report any changes or concerns to your veterinarian!

By following these steps and working closely with your veterinarian, you can confirm whether your pet has allergies and develop an appropriate management plan to help keep them comfortable and healthy!

Managing Pet Allergies

  • Avoidance of Allergens
    • Minimize your pet's exposure to known allergens whenever possible (e.g., keeping windows closed during pollen season, using hypoallergenic bedding, etc.).
    • Regularly vacuum and dust your home! This helps remove excess pet dander as well as other allergens from carpets, floors, and furniture. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which can help trap smaller allergen particles.
    • Wash your pet’s bedding and toys regularly in hot water.
  • Medications
    • Your vet may prescribe antihistamines, corticosteroids, or other medications to relieve symptoms during allergy flare-ups.
    • Allergy shots (immunotherapy) may be recommended for long-term management of certain allergies.
    • Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new medication (including over-the-counter), especially if they have other health conditions or are taking other medications already.
  • Dietary Changes
    • Switching to a hypoallergenic diet may help if your pet has food allergies.
    • Your vet may recommend elimination diets to identify and eliminate specific allergens from your pet's diet.
  • Regular Grooming
    • Bathing your pet regularly with a hypoallergenic shampoo can help remove allergens from their fur and skin.
    • Keeping your pet's ears clean and hair trimmed can also reduce allergen buildup and prevent infections.

Recognizing the signs of allergies in your pet is the first step toward providing them with relief and improving their quality of life! By working closely with your veterinarian and implementing appropriate management strategies, you can help alleviate your pet's discomfort and ensure they lead happy, healthy lives.

If you suspect your pet has allergies, do not hesitate to seek veterinary care and support. After all, our pets rely on us to be their advocates and champions for their well-being!

Kamie Roth


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