Does your dog keep you up at night with his itching? Has your cat chewed all the fur off its tummy? Wonder what the heck is going on? It could be that your pet has allergies.
Just like people, pets can have allergies to things in their environment. Often they can be allergic to the same things as people. Some common causes of allergies in pets are:
Grass, trees, pollen
Different types of food ingredients
While we tend to think of allergies as causing sneezing and itchy eyes, in pets they can show up in a variety of different ways. Depending on what they are allergic to, pets can have symptoms similar to ours, such as runny noses and eyes, and coughing. Many allergies in pets show up as skin issues, such as excessive itching, chewing, hair loss and irritated or reddened skin. Food allergies can cause skin issues as well, or can sometimes cause diarrhea or gastric upset.
Diagnosing exactly what your pet is reacting to isn’t always easy. Often the most common things, such as fleas, will be ruled out first. If a food allergy is suspected, then diet changes may be recommended to see if the symptoms lessen. Medications may be prescribed to treat the symptoms your pet is displaying, such as medicines to help decrease his itching or antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections. If no clear cause is found for your pet’s allergic reactions, it’s best to do allergy testing to find out exactly what your pet is allergic too. After the specific allergens have been identified, your pet can be treated with medication to desensitize their system to the allergens.
While finding out exactly what your pet is allergic to can take some time, you and your pet both will be much happier after his symptoms lessen and he’s feeling back to his normal, happy self.