Allergies in Pets: What you Need to Know
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Do you know if your pet has allergies? Sometimes it’s easy to tell. Pets suffering from allergies will often scratch or bite at their skin, creating bald or raw spots. And just like humans, some pets experience seasonal allergies, with sneezing, runny eyes and wheezing. Pets may also be allergic to detergents or other items commonly found in households.
So, how do you know if your pet has allergies and what do you do to treat them? Since you can’t simply turn up the humidifier and give your pet some of your allergy medicine, here are a few helpful tips for detecting and soothing allergic reactions in your pet:
Signs of allergies Your pet’s behavior can change for a number of different reasons. However, certain symptoms grouped together may indicate an allergic reaction to something in his or her environment. In addition to watching out for excessive scratching, your pet may exhibit the following signs of allergies:
- redness of the skin
- hair loss
- ear infections
- thickened or darkened skin under armpits, abdomen, earflaps or surrounding the anus
- bacterial or yeast infections
Although some allergic reactions may be environmental, others may have more to do with food allergies or allergic reactions to shampoos, flea repellent and other products introduced into your pet’s normal routine. Be sure to pay attention to your pet’s response to any new diet and product changes and note any changes to your veterinarian to more quickly determine the source of your pet’s allergic reaction.
Treatment Pet allergies aren’t treated the same way you treat your own, so it’s important to visit a veterinarian to receive helpful advice and treatments to soothe your pet’s ailments. Although your allergy medication won’t work on your pet, there are a few changes you can make around the house to prevent allergies. These include frequently changing the air filters, keeping your home clean, using scent-free products and feeding your pet organic foods. Veterinarians will often treat pet allergies with antihistamines to reduce allergy symptoms.
However, they won’t cure the cause of the ailment. Still, these medications can help your pet make it through allergy season with limited complications and discomfort. Some examples of antihistamines your vet might prescribe include diphenhydramine, clemastine and hydroxyzine. Other treatments include corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs like cyclosporin. Your vet will be able to offer more personalized solutions for your pet’s unique case, which might require a few lifestyle changes in addition to these medications.
Treating pet allergies quickly is important for preventing the problem from becoming even more threatening to your companion’s health. As mentioned earlier, allergic reactions can cause your pet to scratch and bite so vigorously that they injure themselves. Moreover, feeding your pet the wrong foods can interfere with his or her digestive system and cause a domino effect of other health complications due to a weakened immune system.
Even if your pet’s symptoms seem relatively minor, always consult your veterinarian as early as possible to ensure your pet receives treatment quickly and maintains a happy and healthy life.