Having pets with allergies isn’t all that easy. Like humans, furbabies can also be sensitive to everyday substances or allergens. Furbabies can have skin allergies on the onset of their lives or can appear at any age, recognizing these as dangerous to the body.
Allergies associated with pets fall into two categories: food and environmental factors, and can cause mild to extreme reactions in cats and dogs. Pets with skin allergies can be contracted through inhalation, ingestion, direct contact on the skin or transmitting by fleas.
Cat and dog skin allergy can be puzzling because it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause. Familiarize yourself with how to help pets with allergies by getting to know more about skin allergies: causes, symptoms and prevention.
How to Help Pet Skin Allergies
Pet with skin allergies are either caused by year-round allergens or allergens during a particular season. Year-round allergies mean that the allergen is consistent in your furbaby’s everyday environment. Seasonal allergies only happen during certain types of weather, commonly during the warmer seasons. Pet parents must be careful when caring for seasonal allergies so as not to turn into year-round allergies.
You will only know how to help pets with allergies when you know the cause, whether it’s year-round or seasonal. It’s always best to get the bottom of things to find the root cause of the skin allergy. According to pet webmd, common allergens includes:
- Tree, grass and weed pollens
- Mold spores
- Dust and house dust mites
- Cigarette smoke
- Food ingredients (e.g. beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat or soy)
- Prescription drugs
- Fleas and flea-control products (Only a few flea bites can trigger intense itchiness for two to three weeks!)
- Cleaning products
- Insecticidal shampoo
- Rubber and plastic materials
Sometimes it’s too difficult to know when and where it all started. That’s why it’s best to control where your furbaby goes and keep a record of all the ingredients he puts in his body. This way, it’ll be easier to get to the bottom of any health problem. So, does my dog have allergies? Does my cat have allergies?
A major symptom of skin allergies is allergic dermatitis. It’s a form of skin irritation that manifests in the affected areas. Furbabies can have red, scaly bumps on dogs and cats or you’ll hear some of them say ‘my dog has dry flaky skin and scabs’. Pets with allergies are usually spotted scratching their heads and necks until they bleed because it’s just that itchy.
Other symptoms of pets with skin allergies include:
- Hair loss
- Open sores
- Scabs or crusts on skin
- Chewing and biting of skin
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Itchy ears and ear infections
- Itchy skin, increased scratching
- Constant licking
- Inflamed and irritated skin
- Rubbing skin on surfaces
A visit to a veterinary dermatologist should always be number 1 on your list when you notice any changes in your furbaby’s health. Your veterinarian will best determine your course of action. Here are a few things you should know before your visit.
- Keep a health record of your furbaby from the moment he is in your care.
- Physical exams may be required to help determine the problem and the solution of the skin allergy.
- Intradermal skin test helps determine the allergens that trigger your furbaby’s skin allergies.
- Elimination diet may be advised to pinpoint a food allergy. During this time, your furbaby may be required to eat only prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet. This also means that no treats, table food or flavored medication are allowed.
- Flea control
Spare your furbaby the hassle by making sure he doesn’t get infected with fleas. Fleas are real pets that harm your furbaby’s health, most especially his skin and coat.
- Clean environment
Even your furbaby needs to settle in a clean environment. This includes your house and your backyard, particularly areas where your furbaby likes to lounge around. Consistently clean your furbaby’s bed at least once a week and vacuum it at least twice a week. All the other stuff such as the sofa, beds and curtains should be cleaned as often as possible.
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- Bath time
Squeaky clean is your goal for your furbaby. A quick bath relieve itch, and remove allergens and pollens. There are shampoos for pets with allergies and other prescription shampoos available.
- Foot soak
Soaking your furbaby’s paws whenever he’s been outside can help minimize the spread of allergens in your home.
- Checkup with a vet
A proper and thorough check up with a veterinarian should be done annually, even when you think your furbaby is completely fine. There might be signs of diseases that are unknown to you. Your veterinarian will know how to treat pets with allergies, while he can teach you how to help pets with allergies at home.
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Having pets with allergies isn’t all that easy. Pets are also sensitive to specific foods and environmental factors, which can greatly impact their skin and coat. Allergies associated with pets must not be taken lightly as these can turn into life-long illnesses that can come with additional complications. If you suspect that your furbaby has skin allergies, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian.