As with their owners, pets are subject to a variety of allergies
caused by contact with the skin, digestion, or inhalation. The severity
of allergies, which can be seasonal or year round, varies greatly. When
your pet has an allergic reaction, it is an overreaction to a particular
substance or allergen. Proper identification of the cause is necessary
to determine proper treatment.
The most common symptom from an allergy is itching. Itching caused by
contact, food, or inhaled allergens may be localized at spots or systemic
covering the pet's entire body. Food allergies may also be exhibited
as gastro or intestinal problems. This is generally a reaction to a specific
ingredient in the pet's food or treat. Allergies causing respiratory
problems are unusual, but generally more serious. These reactions are
more common with cats. If your pet shows signs of having difficulty breathing,
consult a vet immediately.
There are a variety of contact allergies initiated by skin contact with
allergens from both outdoor and indoor sources. Active outdoor pets are
more prone to contract allergies than less active or house pets. Fleas
are a common source of contact allergies. Many pets react to the flea's
saliva when bitten. Other common contact allergens to be aware of for
outdoor pets include grasses, hay, plants, and trees. Toxins and chemicals
provide another potential source for contact allergies for both outdoor
and indoor pets. Additionally, pesticides, carpet cleaners, and other
chemically based cleaning supplies may spark an allergic reaction in
your pet as well.
Food allergies are generally due to ingredients in your pet's food or
treats. Symptoms of food allergies include itching and/or noticeable
digestive trouble. Preservatives and fillers, such as corn meal, are
commonly the source of these allergies. However, a food allergy can be
a reaction to almost any ingredient such as soy, wheat, yeast, or beef.
A common food allergy for cats is from milk resulting in lactose intollerance.
Although more common with cats, lactose intolerance can be found in dogs
too. With inhalants, pollen is the most common type of allergen, but
cigarette smoke, air fresheners, smog, or other airborne pollutants,
can also be problematic.
Identifying the allergen is a critical part of treating your pet. Itching,
scratching, biting and licking may all be associated with contact, food,
or inhalant allergies. Thus, pinpointing the actual allergen may be a
challenge. To further complicate the detection process, an animal may
have more than one allergy at a time. The first step in determining your
pet's allergy is to eliminate as many potential allergens as possible.
This is done by restricting contact with chemical agents and feeding
your pet a higher quality of diet, preferably homemade hypoallergenic
food and treats.
Using a hypoallergenic shampoo may be helpful when treating your pet;
especially for contact allergies. A flea and tick or insect repellent
shampoo may also be beneficial. One way to help control inhalant allergies
is to add Omega 3 fatty acids to your dog's diet (fish or olive oil).
Vitamin A, E and Zinc supplements may also be helpful for inhalant allergies.
Relieving your pet's itching is also an important part of treating an
allergy. This is not only for your pet's comfort, but continual itching
and scratching may cause an irritation to spread leading to a secondary
infection. Use of ointments and lotions that help relieve the itching
are often helpful. A cool bath may also help sooth your dog. Some subscribe
to another option, which is to reduce your pet's stress level. Sometimes
prescribing antihistamines, steroids such as cortisone, antibiotics,
or allergy shots may be needed. Your vet can help determine the source
of an allergy along with the appropriate medical treatment.
Skin & Itch Products
Hypoallergenic Insect Repellent Shampoo
Hypoallergenic Medicated Shampoo
N' Out Natural Insect Repellent