What is an Allergy?
Allergies are reactions a pet has to something in their food or environment. They often cause skin, ear, coat, and nail conditions.
Sometimes, allergies can also cause irritation to your pet's gastrointestinal system. Symptoms may occasionally be uncomfortable or painful.
If you suspect your pet may have an allergy, we will conduct a full physical examination of your companion, run a number of tests to rule out other potential causes, and work with you to find an effective solution.
Types of Allergies
There are a few different types of allergies pets can experience that may trigger a reaction, including:
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis
In some dogs, a flea's saliva will trigger an allergic reaction that can result in flea allergy dermatitis. This can lead to extremely itchy skin — especially at the base of the tail. You might find their skin becomes scabbed, red, and inflamed. Other signs of fleas include flea dirt (feces), and you may sometimes see fleas themselves.
- Food Allergies
Did you know your pet's itchy skin could potentially be a symptom of food allergies or sensitivities? If you notice them scratching at their ears or paws, along with potential gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or a combination of both, get in touch with your vet.
It's imperative to understand the distinction between food allergies and food sensitivities (intolerances). Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities are a gradual reaction to a specific ingredient such as wheat, milk, beef, or chicken.
Symptoms can range from itchiness and chronic infections in the foot or ear to diarrhea and vomiting. True food allergies trigger an immune response that can cause skin conditions such as hives and facial swelling.
- Environmental Allergens
Atopic dermatitis or atopic allergic reactions can stem from environmental allergens, including mold, pollen, and dust. Seasonal allergies can also be a frustrating issue, as they may only affect your dog during certain seasons or times of the year.
Similar to food allergies, look to your dog’s paws and ears for clues that they may be suffering from environmental allergies. Also do a quick check of the muzzle, around the eyes, wrists, underarms, ankles, and between toes.
Symptoms of Allergies in Pets
Depending on the underlying cause of your pet's allergy, symptoms may vary. These symptoms may include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Hair loss
- Respiratory congestion
- Skin rash or hives
- Patchy, itchy or flaky skin
- Head shaking and/or scratching (one or both)