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How to Treat a Dog or Cat with Allergies

Is your dog constantly scratching? Is your cat sneezing and wheezing? If so, your furry companion may be suffering from allergies to something in their food, in the home, or even in the air. Here’s how you can soothe their woes and get them back to tip-top shape.

Identify the cause

There are four main groups of allergies that your pet may suffer from:

Food allergies – just like humans, pets can develop allergies to certain things in their diet, including beef, wheat, eggs, and chicken.

Environmental allergies – if your pet suffers more at certain times of the year, they may be reacting to environmental allergens such as dust, mold, and pollen.

Contact allergies – this covers a wide range of allergens that may come into contact with your pet’s skin, including medication, shampoos, fabrics, and even plants.

Flea allergies – while all pets will scratch after being bitten by a flea, some pets can develop an allergy to the flea’s saliva resulting in flea allergy dermatitis, which causes consistent itching, rashes and hair loss.

It is important to remember that allergens that your dog or cat breathes or eats can show up as physical symptoms on the skin. We always recommend confirming an allergy diagnosis with your vet, as many allergic reactions are similar to symptoms of other conditions

Avoid the allergen

It should go without saying that if your dog or cat has an allergy to something, the trigger should be avoided. For food allergies, this will mean a diet that eliminates the allergen. If the diet is particularly strict, you may be required to make your own pet food.

Where a pet has developed a sensitivity to flea saliva that causes flea allergy dermatitis, it is essential to treat your pets regularly with medicated flea preventatives.

Allergies to environmental elements such as dust or pollen will be hard to avoid completely, but you can reduce the impact of these triggers by frequent vacuuming and washing pet beds regularly. You may also wish to invest in an air purifier.

Treat the symptoms

Even if you identify the cause of the allergy in your dog or cat, unfortunately, there is no way of curing an allergy. The only option is to prevent exposure to the allergen, and treat symptoms as they occur. This may be through natural treatment, or with medicated options.

Where allergies are manifested in the skin, there are a number of options you have to stop the itch and prevent your pet from continuously scratching, which can lead to hot spots. An anti-itch spray can be applied directly to the problem area as needed. Regular bathing with antibacterial shampoo can be useful in alleviating symptoms, especially where the cause is an environmental trigger that cannot be avoided such as dust or pollen.

Pets that have suffered from gastrointestinal upsets due to allergies will benefit from supplements that will soothe symptoms and promote digestive health. 

How to Treat a Dog or Cat with Allergies

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