Just like people, dogs and cats can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognize certain every day substances–or allergens–as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a dog or cat with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact your pet’s skin. As their body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear. Here are some helpful tips to be on the lookout for:
What are the general symptoms of allergies in pets?
-Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin
-Itchy, runny eyes
-Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly flea allergy dermatitis)
-Itchy ears and ear infections
-Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
-Paw chewing/swollen paws
-Allergic cats & dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin
What substances can pets be allergic to?
A few common allergens include:
-Tree, grass and weed pollens
-Dust and house dust mites
-Food ingredients (e.g. beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat or soy)
-Fleas and flea-control products (The bite of a single flea can trigger intense itchiness for two to three weeks!)
-Rubber and plastic materials
Can dogs & cats be allergic to food?
Yes, but it often takes some detective work to find out what substance is causing the allergic reaction. Dogs with a food allergy will commonly have itchy skin, breathing difficulties or gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting, and an elimination diet will most probably be used to determine what food(s) he is allergic to. If your dog is specifically allergic to chicken, for example, you should avoid feeding him any products containing chicken protein or fat. Please note that food allergies may show up in dogs at any age.
What should I do if I think my pet has allergies?
Schedule a visit to see us at Cornerstone! After taking a complete history and conducting a physical examination, we may be able to determine the source of your dog’s allergic reaction. If not, we will most probably recommend skin or blood tests, or a special elimination diet, to find out what’s causing the allergic reaction and take steps in making sure your pet is comfortable! If you or your furry family member have any questions, give one of our technicians a call at 972-385-3555 so we can get your itchy pet some relief!