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Do Pets Really Have Allergies?

March 31, 2021

By Brooke Sloate

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As seasons change and flowers bloom, many of us experience the watery eyes, sniffles and sneezes associated with seasonal allergies. But did you know your pet may suffer from allergies too? Pet allergies don’t manifest with exactly the same symptoms we struggle with and may stem from a variety of allergens. Keep reading to learn the causes, symptoms, and several ways to help ease your pet’s allergic reactions for a happier, healthier life.


The Most Common Types of Allergies

  1. Food Allergies
  2. Seasonal Allergies
  3. Flea Allergies

How do I know if my pet has allergies?


FOOD ALLERGIES:
Food allergies are not as common in pets as many pet parents may think. In fact, research estimates that approximately 1% of dogs and 0.5% of cats suffer from true food allergies. What you’ll see is generalized itching all over their body. Pets may actually have a hypersensitivity to a particular ingredient like: 

      Dairy

      Beef

      Chicken

      Wheat

      Corn

      Soy


A pet can become allergic or hypersensitive to an ingredient they’ve eaten in the past (that’s common). If you notice any allergy symptoms with your pet, allergy testing by a trusted veterinarian may be necessary, along with an elimination diet if a food allergy is suspected. However, food allergy testing for pets can be expensive and often inconclusive, so your vet may opt to put them on a prescription diet instead.


SEASONAL ALLERGIES:


These are allergies to something in their environment - things they breathe in like pollen and dust, or things their skin is exposed to like grass and weeds. About 10 - 15% of dogs and cats have seasonal allergies. 

With seasonal allergies, your pet will itch and scratch excessively, you may notice your pet chewing and licking their paws, rubbing their face on the carpet or furniture, or biting at the fur and skin on their tummy, groin or armpit areas. They may even develop red, raw spots called “hot spots”, where hair used to be.

Identifying an environmental allergen is a challenge. As with suspected food allergies, a trip to your veterinarian is recommended for an assessment. Environmental allergy testing is much more reliable than food allergy testing. Your vet may recommend allergy shots and even steroid shots based on your pet’s condition to give them some immediate relief.


FLEA ALLERGIES:


Pet allergies to flea bites are quite common, with an estimated 40% of pets experiencing this type of allergy. The sensitivity is actually to the flea saliva that’s injected into their skin when bitten, that causes the itching. You may be able to see the actual fleas on your pet. Common areas to look are their ears, neck, armpits, groin area and the base of their tail. However, you may never actually see an active flea on them at all. What you may see is black specs (looks like pepper), known as flea “dirt” (excrement) on your pet’s skin or fur.


Pet allergies to flea bites mostly result in lots of itching, scratching, hair loss, skin inflammation and excoriation. Flea allergies in dogs may cause them to chew, bite, and excessively lick their skin. Hot spots and skin infections may also result, making your poor little cuddle buddy miserable.


If you discover your pet is struggling with a flea problem, don’t fret. Fleas happen…it’s no reflection on how clean you keep your home or how well you care for your pet. Tackle the problem by bathing your pet thoroughly and treating them with a natural Flea & Tick Spray - which also kills and repels mosquitoes; washing your pet’s bed, blankets and toys, vacuuming your home - carpets, rugs, and cushions;  clean all areas your pet has been. Then it’s important to get the contents of the vacuum bag or canister out of your home ASAP to ensure all fleas are gone.


Soothing Pet Allergy Symptoms Naturally


Reducing excess phlegm, stopping the itch, and healing a ravaged skin and coat is an important step in helping your pet overcome allergy symptoms. Our Allergy Support Plus is an herbal supplement that contains natural ingredients that help balance excesses and deficiencies in your pet’s body, and reduce heat in their skin, while draining phlegm.

To naturally support a healthy skin and coat, pawTree offers a high-quality Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil that you can add to your pet’s daily food. Salmon oil provides the preferred ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids (13:1) to support a healthy skin and coat. This nutrient-rich fish oil helps skin heal, promotes a shiny, soft coat, and prevents excessive shedding. The bonus is that both dogs and cats love the taste!

For a quick topical treatment of hot spots and skin irritation due to seasonal allergies, try Skin Support Plus. This soothing, alcohol-free skin care formula contains aloe vera and chamomile for natural relief. It won’t sting sensitive skin or affect topical flea control products, so it’s great for treating flea allergies, too.

To address itchy, red, swollen ears due to allergic reactions, we offer Ear Wash & Ear Dry. This combination of natural ear care solutions gently and effectively controls odor, itching, and redness caused by allergies while helping to dry up oozing or greasiness.

Whatever is causing the itch, the main thing is to keep your pet comfortable and stop the itch-scratch cycle so they don’t cause further infection. There are plenty of remedies available to help you. Just understand that it’s not normal for your pet to scratch excessively -- something’s bothering them. When in doubt, check it out! Flea & Tick Spray