While May is pet asthma and allergy awareness month, allergy symptoms in pets can appear anytime of the year. Generally, people with allergies display their discomfort through fits of sneezing, watery/itchy eyes and runny nose. Pets on the other hand manifest their allergies through their skin and it is often hard to detect the root cause to what they are allergic. It is important to know what signs to look for and to be fully prepared. Read below Ambassador Veterinary Hospital’s guide to the signs, symptoms and treatment of pet allergies.
There are several types of allergies in dogs and they all pose unique challenges for both the animal and the owners. Allergies in dogs can be triggered by a new food, skin conditions, environmental allergens, and, though very rarely, acute allergic reactions. Skin allergies are the most common, yet most difficult to pinpoint, detect, and treat the root of the problem. The main causes of skin allergies in dogs are flea allergy dermatitis, food allergies, and environmental allergens.
Flea allergy dermatitis is an allergic reaction to flea bites, which makes them itchy at the base of the tail and their skin will become red, inflamed, and scabbed. Food allergies cause itchy skin by their ears and paws with additional gastrointestinal symptoms. Environmental allergens are caused by dust, pollen, and mold. You will see itching, licking, and even gnawing at their paws, ankles, underarms and between the toes. This causes a secondary problem for pet owners, because the scratches and bites open their skin to yeast and bacterial infections which require further treatment.
Symptoms of allergies in dogs vary depending on the cause and the type of dog you have, but in general, the most common sign of an allergic reaction is itching. Secondly, you’ll find your dog break out in hives, swelling of the face or ears, red/inflamed skin, itchy ears, chronic ear infections, and constant licking. If you fear your dog has developed allergies, it is important to contact our Union City, NJ veterinary office right away to diagnose and treat the allergy.
We can’t leave out our feline friends when talking about pet allergies. Just like humans and dogs, cats also develop flea, environmental and/or food allergies. Allergic cats are usually very itchy, develop skin problems and exhibit sneezing, coughing, wheezing, ear infections, snoring (caused by inflamed throat), and chewing, specifically around their paws. Cats can also develop allergies from the type of litter that you are using; if you believe this is the case, we recommend switching to a dust-free litter first. If nothing changes, then a bigger allergy issue is the culprit and it is recommended to you call our Union City NJ pet hospital right away for an appointment.
Depending on the diagnosis and trigger of the allergy in your dog or cat, treatments vary greatly. Pets with allergies to fleas are treated very simply: eliminate the fleas (in house & on your pet) then give a monthly dose of flea and tick preventative medicine. If your dog or cat has a food allergy, a diet trial may be needed to introduce a hypoallergenic veterinary diet. Prescription canned and dry foods are available through Ambassador Veterinary Hospital if it is deemed necessary. Lastly, environmental allergens are the hardest to treat and will likely take a prescribed medication to control the signs and symptoms.
The professional vets at Ambassador Veterinary Hospital in Union City, NJ have many years of experience diagnosing and treating dogs and cats with a variety of allergies. If your pet is suffering from any of the above allergic reaction signs, call us today at 201-863-4072 to make an appointment. You can also e-mail us at UnionCityAVH@gmail.com with any questions or concerns that you may have!