Stop the Scratching: How to Deal with Pet Allergies
We humans are lucky. If we get allergies we can buy pills or inhalers or visit the doctor for a prescription. Our pets, however, have to rely on us to notice them scratching, licking or chewing (at any part of their body), runny eyes or nose, or loose stools, caused by environmental, flea or food allergies. And then hope we’ll come to their rescue.
Dr. Sasha Naugler and Dr. Laura Wiles with RPG Innovation’s Vet Council both say that one of the main reasons pet parents bring their cats and dogs into their clinics is because they have allergies – with flea allergies being tops. Some dogs or cats suffer from environmental allergies seasonally or year round, depending on variables such as genetics, upbringing, location and lifestyle. In some states, such as Texas and Florida, pets may suffer from allergies all year, while in other states they may only have seasonal reactions.
So what’s a concerned pet parent to do?
Our vets say there are some simple steps you can take at home to help relieve your pet’s symptoms and reduce the allergens in their environment, but a veterinarian should always be consulted if your pet keeps having symptoms or if their skin becomes red.
- Add an Omega-3 and -6 fatty acid supplement to their food to help control inflammation. You can also give them Vet’s Best Seasonal Allergies Soft Chews. With a simple, one treat, once a day dosage, the chews support proper skin moisture and provide a natural source of antioxidants. If your pet has food allergies, consider switching them to a prescription diet, available from your vet.
- Deal with flea allergies by applying spot-on or topical treatments. The new line of Natural Care pest control products includes a Flea and Tick Shampoo for dogs and cats, Spot On Flea & Tick Drops for dogs and several indoor/outdoor products for the home and yard.
- Bathe your pet at least weekly to get environmental allergens off their skin. Your pet will thank you because this will bring them immediate relief. Try a specially-formulated oatmeal shampoo such as Vet’s Best Oatmeal Medicated Shampoo to soothe their skin, diluted vinegar (add one part vinegar to six parts water) to soothe their feet, or Epsom Salts to soothe their sore rump.
- Keep your home dust-free. Vacuum frequently using HEPA-filters, clean floors and surfaces with non-toxic cleaners (or white vinegar) and wash your pet’s bedding regularly. Wipe your pet’s feet when they come inside your home to get rid of outside allergens– you can use non-toxic baby wipes. Consider getting an air purifier if you don’t already have one. And if you’re a smoker, please – no smoking in the house!
As we mentioned before, if the symptoms are severe, take your pet to your vet for an exam and, if necessary, tests to try to find out what’s causing your pet’s allergic reaction. Your vet may prescribe medication, such as steroids or antihistamines, or antibiotics if they have a secondary infection.
While most allergies are not life-threatening, some pets can have a severe allergic reaction to allergens such as insect bites or chemicals and go into anaphylactic shock. If this happens to your furry friend, rush them straight to your vet or an emergency animal hospital.