A Guide to Managing Allergies in Pets

Allergies can significantly impact the health and well-being of our beloved pets. It is crucial to identify the various types of allergies and understand the symptoms associated with them to provide adequate care and relief.

In this blog post, we will explore the different types of allergies, common symptoms, and effective management strategies.

 

Types of Allergies

  • Airborne Allergies: These allergies are triggered by allergens present in the air, such as pollen, dust mites, and mould spores.
     
  • Contact Allergy: Direct contact with certain substances like plants, grasses, chemicals and/or carpets and other fabrics can cause allergic reactions in pets.
     
  • Food Allergy: Some animals develop allergies to specific food ingredients, leading to digestive problems, skin issues, and other symptoms.
     
  • Parasitic Allergies: Allergies caused by parasites like fleas, mites, or lice can result in itching, redness, and irritation.
 

Symptoms of Allergies

  • Excessive Scratching: Pets may constantly scratch themselves, trying to alleviate the discomfort caused by allergies.
     
  • Licking at Paws: Allergies, particularly food allergies, can prompt pets to excessively lick or chew their paws.
     
  • Head Shaking: Frequent shaking of the head may indicate ear infections or irritations triggered by allergies.
     
  • Scooting: Dogs may drag their rear end along the ground as a response to anal gland discomfort caused by allergies.
     
  • Anal Gland Problems: Allergies can cause inflammation and irritation of the anal glands, leading to discomfort and potential infections.

While excessive hair in ear canals and wax build-up are not direct causes of itching, they can worsen allergies, exacerbating symptoms and discomfort.

 

Complications and Effective Management

Untreated allergies can lead to skin infections. Inflammation of the skin disrupts its natural balance, allowing harmful bacteria to breed and cause infections. Since the ears are an extension of the skin, chronic or recurrent ear infections often accompany allergies. To improve symptoms, it is essential to address both allergies and any associated infections.

 

The management of allergies requires an individualised approach, but commonly includes the following measures:

  • Diagnosing and treating secondary infections: Existing skin or ear infections should be treated alongside allergy management.

  • Ensuring parasite prevention:
    Regular and up-to-date flea and tick prevention is crucial in reducing the risk of parasitic allergies.
     
  • Blood tests to rule out endocrine diseases: Depending on the pet's history and age, blood tests may be conducted to eliminate underlying hormonal imbalances.
     
  • Diet trials to assess food allergies: Feeding pets a hypoallergenic diet during a trial period can help identify food allergies as contributing factors.
     
  • Antipruritic and other medications: Veterinarians may prescribe medications to alleviate itching and improve overall comfort.
     
  • Improving skin barrier health: A complete and balanced diet, along with adding or removing supplements, can enhance the skin's natural protective barrier.
     
  • Regular bathing and ear cleaning: Establishing a routine for bathing and ear cleaning assists in managing allergies.
 

It is important to note that allergies cannot be cured, but they can be effectively managed. Some breeds, such as Stafford-shire bull terriers, poodles and poodle crosses, Maltese, and German shepherds, are predisposed to allergies. By understanding the types of allergies, recognising symptoms, and implementing a comprehensive management plan, we can ensure our pets' comfort and enhance their quality of life.

 

Remember, allergies may be an ongoing challenge, but with the right care, our furry companions can lead happy and healthy lives. If you have any questions or would like any additional advice, please contact our team.




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