Allergies in Cats and Dogs


Similar to humans, pets can also suffer from allergies. While you or even other pets in your home may not show any symptoms, but the pet suffering from allergies may show all types of symptoms and behaviours.

SYMPTOMS

 

Allergies in pets fall under 3 main categories: flea allergies, environmental allergies, and food allergies. The following are some of the symptoms your cat or dog may display if they are suffering from allergies:

 

– Red, itchy, or scabbed skin

– Constant licking

– Increased scratching (an itchy base of the tail could be the sign of a flea allergy)

– Sneezing, coughing, wheezing

– Runny nose

– Snoring from a swollen throat

– Runny and/or itchy eyes

– Itchy ears and ear infections

– Diarrhea or vomiting

– Swollen and sensitive paws (can also include chewing paws)

– Gastrointestinal problems

 

Gastrointestinal problems usually indicate a food allergy and can be accompanied by itchy skin and recurring ear infections. Your pet may not be born with these allergies, and may have developed them over time. When it comes to cats, outdoor cats tend to have more allergies than indoor cats since they are exposed to more allergens such as plants, pollen, and other organic matter. An allergy is likely to be an outdoor allergy if the scratching and licking is seasonal rather than year-round.

THE CULPRITS

 

There are a variety of causes that may trigger allergies in your pets. Prescription medication, fleas and flea-control products can cause irritation on your pet’s skin, so speak with your vet to determine the best product for your pet. Exposure to mold, mildew, pollen, plants, perfumes, and household cleaning products can also trigger environmental allergic reactions. Some cats are particularly sensitive to the perfumes added to litters, which can lead to sneezing, excessive itchiness and possibly avoiding the litter box altogether.

 

Pets often develop allergies to certain foods, especially if they have been eating the same food daily for months or even years. Animals can become sensitive to the hormone and antibiotic laced protein in their diets.

 

Frequent exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke can also lead to bronchitis in dogs. This constant exposure to smoke causes inflammation in the airway and produces excessive mucus, which further lads to persistent coughing. If this condition worsens, your pet may develop bronchitis.

 

TREATMENT

 

It is important to take your pet to the vet for a complete physical exam to determine the source of their allergies and the appropriate treatment. There are many steps you can take to reduce or help alleviate your pet’s symptoms. If you suspect an environmental allergy, remove allergens from your cat or dog’s surroundings by checking for mold in your home and cleaning more frequently with all-natural products. Ask your vet for the most appropriate flea shampoos and other topical products that will help avoid irritating your pet’s skin.

 

During the warmer months, pets are more likely to spend more time outdoors, which can worsen their symptoms. Wipe your cat’s coat with a damp towel to remove pollen and other allergens that get trapped in their fur. Cleaning blankets, bedding, and other areas your pet visits frequently help to reduce exposure to dust and allergens. Switching to unscented cat litter can improve your cat’s condition and may even promote him or her to start using the litter box again. When it comes to food allergies, your vet will be able to determine the best course of action. He or she may recommend a prescription diet or suggest home-cooked meals that are free of the offending ingredients.

 

Pets are unable to communicate effectively with humans about their allergies, with cats often masking their pain. Monitoring your pet’s behaviour and inspecting their body including eyes, ears, nose and skin are crucial in identifying potential allergic reactions.

 

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