Sneezing, scratching and chewing, OH MY! Ear flapping, runny noses, rump scooting across my carpet, EEEWW MY!! Sound familiar? Pets can suffer a wide range of allergy symptoms just as you and I do. There is a particular prevalence here in the Ohio Valley for allergens in Spring and Fall. Allergic reactions can spring up at any point in a patient’s life. The body’s immune system has an inflammatory and histamine reaction to an allergen, flaring-up symptoms. This response can manifest as itching, chewing, paw licking, scooting the rear across the floor, ear flapping, running eyes and nose, sneezing, coughing, hair-loss and a blue million other symptoms. Left unchecked, these symptoms may progress to ear infections, skin infection, and respiratory illness, among other conditions. Allergens come in a variety of devious, stealthy ways. The most common types of allergens for pets are as follows:
INHALANT ALLERGIES: Inhalent allergies are things like house dust, pollen, dust mites, mold and animal dander. The regular use (under the advice of your veterinarian) of antihistamines, routine grooming, ear cleaning, omega 3 fatty acids and wiping down your pet’s feet and belly post outdoor adventure, can help manage and minimize the effects of these allergens.

CONTACT ALLERGIES: Caused by exposure to a substance or material to which you have a sensitivity. Fabrics, beauty products. detergents, and plastics are among these allergens. Using metal or glass food dishes, nixing the froo froo grooming products and opting for a gentle aloe and oatmeal pet shampoo, and using mild detergents on you pet’s bedding will help you avoid this type of allergen.

FOOD ALLERGIES: Food allergies occur when your pet’s immune system has an over-response to an introduced ingredient. A veterinary-advised food trial using noval proteins/carbohydrate may nail down the cause of your pet’s particular protein allergy and prevent or minimize future symptoms.

FLEA ALLERGIES: Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is the most common veterinary dermatological condition in the world. The flea saliva composition is the allergen delivered in the bite. Vigilant, year-round use of topical flea control is a must for pet’s affected by FAD. It is recommended that these pet owners regularly treat their lawns with flea-killing products (keeping pet safety in mind, of course).

Whatever the cause of your pet’s allergy outbreak, your veterinarian should be consulted for treatment. Your vet may choose treatment options that overlap allergen causes. Your pet’s issues may be caused by multiple factors. Keeping good, routine lines of communication open with your veterinarian along with regular vet visits, is the greatest asset in keeping your pet healthy and comfortable.