Let’s talk about allergies

If your pet suffers from itchy skin, ear infections or “hot spots” your pet may have allergies.

Coping with an itchy pet can be an extremely frustrating experience for a pet owner. Remember that it is also very frustrating and uncomfortable for your pet! Persistent scratching and chewing by your pet can result in open wounds to the skin, moderate to severe skin infections, or even aural hematomas – all which are quite painful for your pet.

People with allergies may have itchy watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, or asthma. While dogs and cats with allergies may have respiratory signs, they usually have red and itchy skin, hair loss, recurrent skin and/or ear infections and they often lick their paws. Cats with allergies also have itchy skin, hair loss, chronic ear infections or swelling of the lips.

Much like people, pets can be allergic to many things such as a component of their food, something in the environment, or fleas.

Food allergy: Many people think that “grain free” is the way to go. Unfortunately this claim is not supported by current research. Most pets who have food allergies are allergic to a protein product in the food. The most common culprits are chicken, beef, wheat, dairy and egg. If you think your pet may have a food allergy, visit a veterinarian. Remember, a single bite from an allergen can cause a whole body reaction.

A diet trial may be recommended if food allergies are suspected.  is not as scary or as difficult as it sounds and just think – if it works – it may provide your pet relief from constant itching and scratching! These diets are available only with a prescription from a veterinarian or by working with a veterinarian to develop a home-cooked allergen-free diet.

Flea allergy: It is important to understand that if your pet is allergic to fleas, they do not have to have a flea infestation to be itchy. The allergy is caused by a component of the fleas saliva so just a single flea bite can cause your pets body to break out in a painful, itchy rash. The best way to treat/prevent this is to keep your pet on a high quality flea and tick preventive product year-round. Yes, that means even in the winter.

Environmental allergies: Environmental allergens are plentiful – mold, dust, pollen, ragweed, trees, grass, rubber, plastic material, etc. Treatment for environmental allergens is not easy and may include antihistamines, avoidance, routine bathing or oral immunotherapy.

Allergies are not an easy diagnosis and are not easy to treat. Keep in mind that many pets have more than one allergy. If your pet has itchy skin or chronic ear infections, visit a veterinarian today!