Springtime in Memphis means a few things – warmer weather, more opportunities to step outside and enjoy all the city has to offer and allergies. Allergy season doesn’t start and end with humans. While we combat pollen issues, our animals are fighting similar battles. Many pet owners don’t realize that pets can be sensitive to certain environmental triggers, foods, shampoos and even fleas. How do you know if your dog or cat has allergies? We share the telltale signs below.
One of the most obvious reactions pets typically experience is called allergic dermatitis, which is a form of skin rash. When pets have an allergic reaction that leads to this condition, they will start to obsessively try and relieve their itchy skin. Be on the lookout for excessive scratching, chewing or licking their paws, as well as hair loss or raised bumps that look similar to hives or rashes.
Pets, but especially dogs, are prone to allergy-related ear problems. What may begin as itchy or irritated ears could escalate into a serious ear infection. For example, if a dog has an allergy to something in the environment or new food, their body reacts to the allergen with inflammation that can cause yeast infections in their ears. Look out for frequent head shaking, scratching at the ears, hair loss near the ears or dark discharge coming from the ear.
If you suffer from allergies – especially environmental allergies – you know that your symptoms are similar to those of a common cold. Our pets can experience similar respiratory allergy symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose or coughing.
Food allergies are often the culprit when a pet has a gastrointestinal allergic reaction. These are also easier to spot, as your pet will often exhibit more extreme symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive gas or frequent scooting.
What’s up, doc?
Veterinarians diagnose a pet’s allergies with a head-to-tail examination, blood tests and skin tests. Some solutions require simple allergy medications or a change in diet, whereas others might need a more thorough course of action.
If your pet is showing signs of a possible allergic reaction, call your local veterinarian to set up an appointment to diagnose your pet’s condition and determine a health plan.