When people have allergies it’s uncomfortable -- and the same holds true for your pet during an allergic reaction. Check out these five facts about allergies and your pet, so that you’ll know what to expect in terms of symptoms and response.
1. Same Allergies; Same Treatment
In many ways the diagnosis and treatment of pets’ allergies is very similar to diagnosing and treating your own allergies. Vets will generally aim to treat the most likely allergy culprits first -- if your pet’s allergies start in the springtime, it’s quite likely in response to fleas or seasonal factors. If the obvious treatment is not successful at alleviating symptoms, your vet may administer a skin test, a series of shots with potential allergens, to track down what’s causing your pet’s allergy.
Your pet can experience seasonal allergies, often to natural bloomers like pollen, plants, and grass, and the same types of antihistamines that people take will help to treat the symptoms of sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. One important reminder: Call the vet before heading over to the drugstore for Benadryl or Claritin. Pets can take the same antihistamines as people but the dosage is generally quite different. A golden retriever won’t get the same amount of medication as a kitten, or as you. Check with your veterinarian before providing your pet with an over-the-counter treatment.
2. Fur’s a Helper
Contact allergies, or allergies to irritants that your pet’s body comes in contact with, are relatively rare because your cat or dog’s fur provides a helpful barrier between potential irritants and your pet’s skin.
Notice your pet snoring? This could be a tipoff that your cat or dog is experiencing seasonal allergies. The congestion can cause your pet to have difficulty breathing clearly during the night.
4. More Reasons to Hate Fleas
Of course fleas are an irritant for all pets but for some cats and dogs, an allergic reaction will develop to the saliva that fleas leave behind when biting. Known as flea allergy dermatitis, this very common allergy is just one more reason to be vigilant with your flea prevention method.
5. Easy Allergy Solutions
Avoidance is one more way to help your pet with allergies. Does your dog have a bad reaction to dust? Try vacuuming frequently, and washing and drying the dog’s bed frequently. If your cat is allergic to pollen, aim to keep windows closed when possible, and don’t bring fresh flowers home. Weekly baths can also help to remove allergens from your pet’s skin and fur (although it may not be the most pleasant experience, depending on your pet’s feelings about water.)
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by,your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.