Guest Post: Pet Allergies are Real - The Trupanion Blog
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Guest Post: Pet Allergies are Real

The following is another guest post from Ashley Spade. Ashley, in addition to being Sir Winston Pugsalot the First’s favorite human, is a blogger and law student. She volunteers at her local pug rescue in between studying and training for triathlons (sometimes at the same time).

Ava the Italian Greyhound
Trupanion dog Ava has some food allergies that are controlled with a strict diet.

When a dog or cat starts scratching frequently, most pet owners’ first thought is, “Oh no, fleas!” Although fleas can cause skin irritation and incessant scratching, they’re not the only culprit. Unbeknownst to their owners, many pets have allergies. It often takes people a while to realize that they themselves are suffering from allergies and the same goes for pets. Learning more about pet allergies can help you understand what your pet’s going through so you can get him or her effective help.

Common signs and symptoms of pet allergies

When people suffer from allergy symptoms, they usually cough, sneeze, wheeze and deal with runny noses. While most of the allergy symptoms we exhibit are related to the respiratory system, pets tend to have irritating, uncomfortable skin issues. Common signs of pet allergies are biting, chewing and scratching. This usually occurs around the ears or on the skin, in general. To relieve the discomfort your pet feels, s/he will often rub, scoot, lick, chew or scratch, something you’re likely to notice when the seasons change and allergens fill the air.

Difference between allergies and asthma

The difference between pet allergies and asthma is that, as described above, pet allergies primarily affect the skin, whereas asthma affects the respiratory system. Asthma symptoms manifest themselves through sudden lethargy, obvious efforts to breathe through the mouth and a quiet wheezing sound. If your pet suffers any of these symptoms, a visit to the veterinarian’s office is the best option.

How do pet allergies develop?

Although some animal breeds are prone to certain allergies, most pets develop allergies after exposure to a substance to which their immune system responds inappropriately or overreacts. At first exposure to the substance, such as a particular food ingredient, flea, dust or pollen, your pet is likely to have no reaction. But as his or her body builds up antibodies to the substance, an allergic reaction will develop and grow stronger over time.

Dealing with the aggravations of seasonal allergies

Knowing your pet suffers from seasonal allergies, such as ragweed or other types of pollen, can help you take proactive measures to keep your furry friend comfortable. Similar to people with allergies who feel better when they stay inside with the windows closed and air conditioning on, your pet will benefit from the same measures. Keep visits outdoors brief and make sure your pet doesn’t wander close to the source of allergy problems. It’s also helpful to change the filters on your air conditioner frequently. These measures help protect your pet from allergens that lead to flare-ups.

Tips for keeping pets comfortable when allergies strike

In addition to being proactive about seasonal allergies, there are other measures you can take to prevent allergy flare-ups in your pet. Monitoring his or her diet can make a huge difference in providing relief, especially if food allergies are involved. Keep his or her bedding clean and avoid the use of strong detergents that might irritate the skin. Naturally, it’s also wise to follow the course of treatment prescribed by your pet’s veterinarian.

A pet that suffers with untreated allergy symptoms isn’t able to experience optimum health because he or she simply doesn’t feel well. The proactive and reactive measures you take can help your pet feel healthy, happy and able to enjoy life. Once your pet has been diagnosed with allergies, following the treatment outlined by the veterinarian should help you make your pet comfortable. Always check with your veterinarian if allergy flare-ups continue despite treatment. The rewards of a relationship with your happy, healthy pet will be priceless.

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