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  • Writer's pictureColleen O'Brien, DVM, CVA

Your Pet's Allergies Are Nothing to Sneeze At

How Recognize and Treat Your Pet's Allergies

Pets can be allergic to anything you can be allergic to - this includes various types of food, pollen, and even cigarette smoke. Environmental allergies are the most common types of allergy in pets. With the transitioning of the seasons from Winter to Spring, you may have noticed some signs of allergies in your pets. Here’s what you should be looking for:

Allergy Symptoms:

  1. Red or tearing eyes

  2. “Pimples” on the skin. On cats, they will typically be on their backs. On dogs, they will typically be on their bellies.

  3. Feet/paw licking

  4. Itching

  5. Ear discharge / infections

So, if you have noticed these things in your pet, what can you do about it?

Allergy Treatment:

  1. Bathing. If your pet tolerates it, it's important to get the pollens/allergens that your pet may be allergic to off of them. Sometimes, even just a rinse with the hose can help. If you are using a topical flea prevention, do not bath two days before or after application.

  2. Stay up to date on flea prevention! All it takes is one flea to make your pet itch. You may never see that flea because of all the hair – think of trying to find a deer in a forest, you know they’re there even if you don’t see them.

  3. Wipe feet often. Similar to bathing, the feet are constantly in allergens (soil, plants, etc…) so wipe them off when they come inside.

  4. Whenever possible, avoid the allergen, This may mean avoiding certain parks, or even installing hypoallergenic air filters or air purifiers in your home.

  5. Sometimes you can do all this and its still not enough, when that happens, call your vet! Your pet may need a medicated shampoo, oral antibiotics, steroids, or other anti-itch medications or immunotherapy.

For more chronic allergies or if your pet does not tolerate its medications well, your vet may offer alternative treatment such as acupuncture or Chinese herbs. In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), allergies are a disorder of "wind". Your vet may also be able to find underlying conditions that could be making your pets allergies worse such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease which is important to address via blood work.

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