While some pets may have overlapping allergies that are precipitated by different types of allergens, they can all by treated and ameliorated through prevention and treatment. However, you must first know what kinds of allergens are affecting your pet before you can start to fight them.
Pets are usually victims of either food, seasonal, or parasite related allergies, so prevention and treatment may require various approaches advised by your veterinarian, depending on the source of the problem.
Food allergies can cause many of the same symptoms in pets as in humans, including skin problems and gastrointestinal distress. However, the effects of food allergies in humans are often much more immediately observed.
Severe food allergies in humans can produce instantaneous and possibly fatal results upon exposure to specific allergens, while pets will often exhibit symptoms that mimic other maladies.
These symptoms may include intense itching and rough, scaly skin. Itching that leads to biting and repeated licking of affected areas such as the feet and stomach. This can lead to open sores and secondary infections.
While a human's food allergies are usually determined from an early age, pet food allergies often develop over time from eating additives and fillers in commercial pet foods. These foods are less expensive because they contain greater quantities of ingredients such as corn, wheat, rice, and soy.
Just as pets' food allergies can develop over time, they can also be treated gradually by switching to a higher quality pet food. A veterinarian can prescribed pet antihistamines to help to ease intense itching and antibiotics if a secondary infection in open sores is suspected.
Seasonal allergies in pets
Pets can also be allergic to seasonal allergens such as tree and grass pollen, and just as in humans, exposure to these allergens should be curtailed when counts are highest. Check a weather app or your local weather forecast to find pollen levels for the day and keep your pet inside when high levels are forecast.
Cats can be more easily compelled to remain indoors on bad pollen days, but if your dog must go outside, you should wash the feet before allowing them inside the home. You can also consider dog booties to keep pollen from being tracked into your home.
Look for signs of excessive chewing or licking of the feet when seasonal allergies are usually at their peak for evidence of seasonal allergies in dogs. If foot issues occur year round, it is likely caused by food allergies rather than seasonal issues.
However, both types of allergies can be present simultaneously, with just an increased intensity during allergy season.
Parasite related allergies
Allergic reactions to saliva from flea bites in a common malady in both dogs and cats, and can manifest themselves in itching around the lower back and tail. Mange mites can also cause major skin problems in the lower body.
If you suspect a parasitic infection is causing skin problems in your pet, you should have pest control products prescribed by a veterinarian rather than using over-the-counter treatments. Some generic treatments may be sufficient in keeping pests at bay in otherwise healthy animals, but pets with allergic reactions to bites need additional safeguards to keep pests at bay.
Any type of repeated itching or recurring gastrointestinal problems in pets should be treated as soon as possible, both to ease the pet's suffering and to keep the issues from leading to serious health problems.