The spring season brings new beginnings, warmer weather, …. and lots of allergies! Just like us, your pet can have allergies to pollen, grass, food, and more. Over the last decade, the percentage of cats and dogs that experience environmental allergies has been on the rise. One study found that this percentage increased 30.7% for dogs and 11.5% for cats.
With allergies being so common, there’s a chance your own pets may have them too! Pet allergies typically manifest as itching, but there are a number of other telltale signs. Here are our veterinarian’s tips on how to identify if your pet has allergies and how to help treat them.
What causes allergies?
There is a long laundry list of things that could be potential allergens to your pet. Typically, these allergens are categorized into three main groups: environmental/seasonal, food, and flea.
It’s estimated that 20% of pets will develop allergies over their lifetime. Most of these will onset around 1 to 2 years old, but it’s not unheard of for allergies to develop later on in life. The most common of these groups is environmental. These allergies can be triggered by pollen, grass, mold, feathers, dust, and more. These allergens will vary on region, but many of them can be found in the home.
Are pet allergies common?
Unfortunately, environmental allergies are common in all dog breeds. Some breeds are also genetically predisposed to having a higher risk of them, such as Bulldogs and Shar Peis. Cats can also experience seasonal allergies, although it’s less common.
While diet plays an important role in your pet’s skin health, food allergies are actually less common than environmental ones. Food allergies are much more likely to coincide with other allergens but are not the primary irritant to your pet’s immune system.
How do I know if my pet has allergies?
The most common symptom of pet allergies is itching skin. This can be localized (in one area) or all over the body. Symptoms will vary depending on the type and severity of the allergy. Always consult with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Pet allergy symptoms may include:
- Itching skin
- Licking skin
- Irritated skin
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Red ears
- Hair loss
If your pet is experiencing any of the listed symptoms, we recommended bringing them in for a physical exam. Your veterinarian may recommend allergy testing to determine what is causing your pet these symptoms. It’s also important that your veterinarian rules out the possibility of infections or immune deficiencies.
What are remedies for allergies?
Fortunately, there are many ways to treat allergies. Depending on the type and severity, your veterinarian may prescribe topical treatments, medicated shampoos, injections, or other treatments.
If your pet has mild allergies, there are also many at-home tips you can utilize to help alleviate some of the symptoms. This can include:
- Baths with sensitive-skin shampoo or oatmeal baths
- Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your pet’s diet
- Frequently washing and sanitizing toys/bedding with pet-friendly detergents
- Frequently dusting and cleaning areas where your pet stays
Always consult with your veterinarian for proper treatment and diagnosis. Need to schedule an appointment? We offer real-time online booking. Click here to schedule.