Managing Pet Allergies
Is your pet scratching repeatedly or pulling out tufts of hair? He may be suffering from allergies! Like humans, pets can suffer from seasonal and year-round allergies. While not usually life threatening, allergies can cause a variety of symptoms which make your petís life miserable. Letís identify some common allergy symptoms pets have.
Symptoms Of Allergies
There are many forms of allergies your pet can experience, from skin to seasonal. Keep an eye out for these warning signs to catch the issue before it becomes a larger problem.
- Pulling out tufts of hair
- Miliary dermatitis (crusty papules)
- Eosinophilic plaques (look similar to hot spots in dogs)
- Linear granulomas (long, thin, red lesions)
- Hair loss
- 'Twitchy' skin
- Mutilated skin
- Scratching, licking, chewing or biting the skin, feet and ears
- Red, raised, scaly areas on the skin
- Bumps, crusts or pus filled vesicles on the skin
- Increased skin pigmentation
- Thickened skin
- Salivary staining (brown color)
- Head shaking
Common symptoms of allergies:
Types Of Allergies
Flea And Tick Allergies
One of the most common forms of allergies is caused by the presence of fleas on your petís fur. Itís estimated that (40% of dog allergies are flea-related. Like most allergies, flea related symptoms are amplified in the spring when flea eggs begin to hatch. Dogs suffering from this type of allergy often have irritated and itchy skin that will become infected if not treated. Utilizing flea medications such as Frontline Plus or Seresto can help prevent your dog from suffering. Consider trying a flea shampoo as well - to eliminate existing pests.
Allergic contact dermatitis is a rare disease that occurs when an animal's skin overreacts to certain small molecules in the environment. Substances which can cause allergic contact dermatitis include certain antibiotics applied to the skin; metals such as nickel; materials such as rubber or wool; and chemicals such as dyes and carpet deodorizers. Less common allergies include contact dermatitis and flea allergy dermatitis. These allergies may cause red itchy bumps or blisters on sparsely-haired areas of the skin, Intense scratching and hair loss.
If you leave the house for work, playing with your cat at the end of the day not only makes him or her happy (your cat misses you!) but can help you unwind after a long and potentially stressful day with a little light exercise and some laughter. My cat loves to play tag, so I get to run around the house a bit.
Even if your cat doesn't want to chase you or be chased, dangling a toy and being on your feet after your commute home is good for your body. If you have a cat that's very needy and cries at night (I do), playing with her in the evening can make her feel calm and happy, so she's more likely to let you get the quality of sleep you need to stay healthy. Remember, cats need exercise just like humans! So whether it's short breaks throughout your work day or a long play session in the evening, make sure you're giving your cat exercise to promote a healthy weight, healthy bones and joints, and happy hunting instincts.
Food allergies account for less than 10% of all allergies in dogs and cats and can occur concurrently with other forms of allergies. Symptoms include itching, Ear problems and skin infections that respond to antibiotics, but then reoccur as soon as the antibiotic therapy ceases. When food allergies occur, it is essential to find the source and eliminate it from your petís diet.
Relieving The Symptoms Of Allergies
Depending on what type of allergies your pet is experiencing, there are basic measures you can take to minimize discomfort and encourage faster healing.
1. Keep Everything Clean. For all cleaning needs, use glass or stainless steel pet dishes to discourage bacterial buildup. Remember to wash your pet's bedding in hypoallergenic detergents.
2. Bathe Your Pet. Bathe your pet with shampoos to remove debris and buildup as well as to relieve some of the symptoms associated with allergies. Some appropriate shampoos are:
- Hypo-Allergenic Shampoo for super-sensitive allergy-prone skin.
- Oatmeal Shampoo to soothe dry and itchy skin.
- Soothing Shampoo if your pet has hot spots or other secondary bacterial infections.
- Medicated Shampoo if your pet has severe symptoms of allergies.
3. Prevent Itching. Use sprays and anti-itch products in conjunction with Tea Tree Oil & Soothing Aloe. If needed, have your pet where a recovery collar to prevent him from excessively biting his skin.
4. Groom. Brush your petís fur regularly to distribute oils and to make sure your pet has no mats or tangles that can further irritate skin. Try using a soft brush, to prevent damaging the skin further.
5. Minimize Exposure. Although this can be tough, try to minimize the exposure of your pet to the suspected (or confirmed) allergen. If this is not an option, consider using an antihistamine for your pet.