Does your pet often come up with inflammation, redness, swelling, and itching problems? Here's everything you need to know about how to detect and treat allergies in pets. Check out the comprehensive guide on Understanding and Treating Common Pet Allergies to keep your beloved pet free from these harmful allergens.
What is a pet allergy?
Allergy is the over-reactivity or hypersensitivity of your pet's immune system to a particular substance. These allergens can be plants, insects, or even food items. The allergy might be inherited or can come from the surroundings. It can develop over time as well. Usually, immunity is built to fight against infections and diseases. However, the response to foreign bodies can be sometimes highly reactive. This reaction can be visible in the form of the following symptoms:
Symptoms of Allergies in Pets
Itchy skin is one of the most commonly noticed symptoms of allergy in pets. Besides, other symptoms can include:
- Runny eyes and nose
- Hives and swelling
- Excessive hair loss
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Red, irritated skin, itchiness
- Sneezing and chronic cough
- Constantly rubbing face & paws
- Recurring ear and paw infections
Generally, these symptoms can be noticed at six months of age or before. The allergy might be inherited or can come from the surroundings. In fact, it can develop over time as well. So something that didn’t trigger an allergic reaction at 2 years of age, may become active 4-5 years or later.
Types of Allergies in Pets
1. Skin Allergy
Irritated and itchy skin is one of the most common skin conditions that fall under ‘Pruritus’. It is a type of skin allergy that affects the immune system. Environmental allergens come from grasses, pollens, trees, mold spores, etc. If your pet over-rubs his face, licks its feet, or scratches his underarms, he might be facing a skin allergy. This allergy can be detected by performing Intradermal Skin Test and Blood Test under clinical supervision.
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2. Flea Allergy
It is another type of skin allergy that is a result of insect bite. This allergy reflects an inflammatory response to the sting of insects like spiders, ticks, flies, mosquitoes, ants, bees, etc. Pets with this allergy will bite and scratch themselves and pull out hair from their body. Using flea preventives and home treatment therapies can help to eliminate fleas. However, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian if your pet has severe itching and swelling.
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3. Food Allergy
The signs of a food allergy include digestive imbalance, nausea, weight loss, lack of energy and loss of appetite. Some of the canines are allergic to protein-rich food items like dairy, chicken, eggs, soy, or wheat gluten. A blood test can help in identifying the type of allergy. To improve the condition, avoid consumption of the food item which triggers the allergy.
4. Anaphylactic Reaction
Anaphylactic reaction or anaphylaxis is a severe hypersensitivity to a foreign substance like food proteins, medications, vaccine antigens, chemicals, etc. It leads to itching, swollen face, hives, excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, and discolored tongue and gums. The clinical diagnosis for anaphylaxis includes a blood test, abdominal ultrasound, or intradermal skin testing.
5. Inhalant Allergy
When a dog’s immune system is hypersensitive to an airborne or inhaled allergen, it causes coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and even dark circles. Affected pets chew, lick and scratch their feet and face. These allergies are generally related to the respiratory system and occur seasonally or year-round. A cough suppressant can be given to relieve symptoms like excessive coughing and irritated throat after consulting the vet.
Tips to Handle Allergic Pets
- Identifying the cause of allergies requires your time and effort to understand the real cause behind them.
- These allergies need long-term management, prevention, medication and regular veterinary consultation.
- Some of the at-home treatments might not be much effective so it is always better to consult a veterinarian regarding the best treatment options.
- For pets having an allergy to a specific thing, alter your home accordingly to eliminate the substance and protect your pet from its ill effects.
- Remember to wipe their paws with a damp towel every time your pet goes out to remove possible irritants.
- If your pet is sensitive to pollen grains and other outdoor irritants, avoid walks over tall grasses.
Avoiding the item to which your dog shows allergy can prevent these symptoms to a great extent. It might be difficult to curb the exposure of dogs who are allergic to environmental factors. However, using prescribed medications and adopting preventative measures can help treat such allergies. Hope we could help you in Understanding and Treating Common Pet Allergies. Stay Tuned!