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Understanding Pet Allergies: Signs, Causes, and Treatment Options

Cat outside representing pet allergies

Pet allergies are a prevalent issue, and often appear completely differently to human allergies. Recognising and treating allergies in your pets can drastically improve their quality of life.


Recognising Allergy Symptoms in Pets

Pets display allergies differently than humans. While we might contend with sneezing and watery eyes, pets often show allergies through their skin. If you notice your pet excessively grooming, licking, scratching, or even emitting an unusual odour, it might be a sign they are reacting to an allergen. 

These symptoms are often accompanied by more severe reactions such as chronic ear infections, and in some cases, vomiting or diarrhoea.

Common Types of Allergies in Pets

Allergies in pets are generally triggered by an overactive immune response to foreign substances. The three primary types of allergies seen in pets include flea allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergens.

Flea Allergies (Flea Allergy Dermatitis)

Flea allergy dermatitis is the most prevalent skin disease among pets, where the animal reacts severely to flea saliva. This results in symptoms like intense itching, redness, bumps, scabs, and hair loss. Managing this condition requires rigorous flea control measures.

These measures should involve treatment of the pet, and other pets in the house, and also treatment of the house itself. Veterinary recommended and licensed products available on prescription are the most effective means of prevention and treatment of fleas.

Food Allergies

Food allergies occur when pets develop an immune response to protein components in their diet that are normally harmless. Common triggers include proteins found in dairy, beef, lamb, venison, or wheat. Identifying the specific allergen often requires food elimination trials. 

These trials should always be taken under the instruction of a Vet, so that correct nutrition is maintained, and a scientific approach to the trial is undertaken

Once identified, the offending ingredient must be completely eliminated from the pet's diet.

Atopy (Environmental Allergies)

Atopy refers to inhalant or environmental allergies, such as pollens, dust, and moulds. Pets absorb these allergens through their skin or via inhalation, leading to symptoms like generalised itching, hair loss, and skin redness. These allergies can contribute to chronic ear inflammation and other discomforts. 

Treatment might include anti-inflammatory medications, antihistamines, immunosuppressants, and regular baths with medicated shampoos. Injections to help regulate your pet's immune system have been revolutionary in the treatment of allergic skin disease.

Managing Your Pet’s Allergies

Effective management of allergies involves a combination of preventive strategies and treatments:

  • Regular Veterinary Visits: Regular check-ups can help catch early signs of allergies before they become severe.

  • Appropriate Medications: Depending on the allergy type, your vet might prescribe medications to control symptoms and prevent complications.

  • Diet and Environment Adjustments: For food allergies, a diet change is crucial. For environmental allergies, regular cleaning of the home, and air purification can help reduce allergen exposure.

  • Ongoing Monitoring: Keeping a diary of your pet’s symptoms, diet, and environment can help pinpoint triggers and gauge the effectiveness of the treatment.

While pet allergies can be a challenge to manage, understanding the signs and potential causes can lead to effective solutions that alleviate discomfort. As always, close collaboration with your veterinarian is crucial to navigate this complex condition and ensure your pet remains comfortable and happy, especially during the allergy-prone spring season. 

If you suspect your pet is suffering from allergies, contact our team via 020 8459 4729.

Want to spread the cost of treatments, vaccinations, and save money through exclusive discounts? Join our Vital Pets Club and start saving today!

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Order Dr Hannah Parkin's Amazing Guide To Caring For Your New Puppy.
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