Pets Can Suffer from Allergies Too

We addressed the issue of people dealing with being allergic to pets, but did you know that pets can suffer from allergies as well? We recently had a customer that called in to report that that it is not uncommon for Bichon Frise dogs to be allergic to grass, and therefore she was encouraging us to carry our dog boots year round.

Signs of Allergies

  • Biting and chewing foot pads, sometimes with accompanying discoloration
  • Rubbing face and ears against surfaces to alleviate itching
  • Bald spots from areas of licking, biting and/or scratching
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Inability to rest/agitation

Food: Allergies can be from something ingested, causing hives, rashes, and itching, especially around the face and anus.  Food allergies usually manifest as skin problems whereas food intolerances will cause gastric distress such as diarrhea, flatulence, and vomiting.

Inhalants: Dogs dont generally sneeze with respiratory irritation like humans do. Even inhaled allergens can cause skin reactions in dogs. These could be from dander (from you or another pet) pollen, or mold.

Insects: Flea bites can be awful to begin with, but for dogs that are also allergic to the proteins in flea saliva, it is a doubly bad dose of itch that can sometimes lead to secondary infections from the sores that come from the incessant scratching. Mosquitoes and bees can also cause reactions. Allergies to bee stings can be quite serious, causing anaphylactic reactions similar to those in people with swelling and difficulty breathing. This requires immediate vet attention!

Allergy Recommendations

Pet allergies can be diagnosed through your vet with skin tests, but many people opt to play detective to narrow down the causes. Try to recall if your dog or cat has started a new food or treat. Or did the reaction begin with a change in the season? These might help you figure out what the cause is and the offending agent can be removed or minimized.

If the allergen is food based, try different formulations that leave out corn, soy, or gluten. Dont forget to check treat ingredients as well. Avoid table scraps, in particular, as human food may exacerbate sensitivities.

For inhaled irritants such as dander, mold, or pollen, try vacuuming with a HEPA grade vacuum coupled with the use of an air filter. Have your forced air vents cleaned and buy new filters for your furnace. Run your air conditioner to keep humidity levels low to prevent mold growth. These precautions may help any personal allergies you may have as well.

For insect allergies, try insect repellents made for dogs such as our Sentry Natural Defense Flea/Tick Treatment for dogs that also works against mosquitoes.

Your vet will have suggestions to help you with your pets allergies that may include antihistamines, short-term steroids, or even allergy shots. Some things to try at home might be cool baths with an oatmeal shampoo and conditioner to soothe hot spots, anti-itch creams, high-quality foods, and essential fatty-acid supplements such as fish oil.

Watching your pet be itching and irritated is almost as difficult for you as it is for them. We hope these suggestions help you and your pet to be more comfortable. Wed love to hear any suggestions you might have for others who are dealing with pet allergies!

Featured photo by Gareth Williams.

This entry was posted by .
Pet Allergies on April 19 at 9:11 PM said:

Nice information Mary. Wish i could do something about it if i could have all this information before time. I could have saved my dog. Awareness can sometime really save the life about pets allergy.
Joanne Curtis on June 6 at 9:25 PM said:

One of our kids dog has allergies. He gets a very weird choking cough at certain times of the year. Otherwise, they don't notice him allergic to any thing else. I did not realize some of the things you pointed out in your blog. Enjoyed
Lee on January 19 at 7:45 AM said:

Help! Our mini schnauzer Margot, scratches and licks behinds her front legs and the inside of her thighs. We have tried elimination diet, homemade food, practically every high end food,hot spot sprays, special shampoos, new-vet supplements, fish oil, olive oil and prednisone. Our vet has now prescribe Atopica. She received one 25 mg capsule for three weeks every day and then every other for the last 6 weeks. It cut her scratching by about 50%. Her coat grew back around her "armpits" and looked much better. Now she is scratching again with a fury and we back where we started!
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