Does My Pet Have Allergies?
It isn't uncommon for your pet to have allergies, but it can be difficult to find out just what those allergies are. Unlike humans, cats and dogs can't give voice to what is making them uncomfortable, and as such it is up to us as their owners to figure out just what is bothering them. We need to be able to recognize the symptoms of common allergens, and to be able to respond accordingly, whether through avoidance of the cause, or through medication.
Pet allergies are commonly very similar to human allergies. Quite often your pet can develop an aversion to things like:
- dust mites
- prescription drugs
- cleaning products
- certain foods
- cigarette smoke
If you know off the bat that your dog or cat is allergic to something, the best thing to do is to avoid it. Don't plant trees and grasses that your pet is allergic to. Don't smoke around your pet. Don't feed them food that is going to make them sick. Use different cleaning products and keep your home free of dust mites.
Signs & Symptoms
Granted, sometimes you don't know before you bring your pet home. And, sometimes, the allergy develops later in life. In this case, it's a good idea to know the common signs of an allergic reaction in an animal.
Sneezing, wheezing or labored breathing can be a sign of allergies, or a more serious issue. Visit your vet to determine whether it is allergies or an infection of some kind.
Unusual stools, flatulence and urination can be signs of allergies, or a more serious issue. Generally, food allergies are the cause of on-going gastrointestinal problems. Visit your vet to determine the cause.
Itchy, dry skin that is usually red and flaky tends to indicate an allergic reaction. Sometimes it is hard to say exactly what is causing skin problems, as sometimes even food allergies can manifest this way, but many times it's a sign of a more common contact allergen.
You'll need to pay attention to your animal's reactions and behavior. Sometimes an itchy cat is just an itchy cat, and sometimes your sneezing dog is just a sneezing dog. However, if your dog always sneezes more at one time of the year as compared to another, then perhaps it has some seasonal allergies. Or if your cat is scratching at a specific spot for long while, and manages to damage its skin doing so, it may have an allergy to fleas.
"Sometimes a sneezing #dog is just a sneezing dog. But sometimes it's allergies." TWEET THIS
Flea allergies are actually common in animals and can cause weeks of discomfort from a single flea bite. It's best to keep your pet up to date with their flea medication, so as to protect them from fleas in general. But if you're noticing that fleas are causing a severe reaction, you may want to take your pet to the vet and check for an allergy.
Bathe your pet regularly and check their skin for any kind of redness or flaking. Or, if your animal is experiencing gas or odor issues which is uncommon, you'll want to visit your vet to determine what exactly is the cause. With most allergies, a simple skin or blood test can usually determine what the allergen is, however food allergies are a little more complicated. Generally, a food allergy is going to take a lot of testing through the process of elimination. Once your find the cause, however, you'll be able to more readily avoid or treat it.
You undoubtedly want your pet to get the best care possible. To do so, however, sometimes it takes a little detective work. Knowing the symptoms of allergies can help you best determine how to care for your animal. If you suspect that your pet has allergies and have questions, feel free to contact us.
About Dr. Natalie Waggener
Dr. Natalie Waggener has 17 years of experience in emergency work and general practice in Rhode Island, Florida and Massachusetts. She has a special interest in dentistry, wellness care and rehabilitation therapy. She is currently licensed in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island.