Just like humans, cats and dogs can have allergies. Unlike humans, they don’t usually cause itchy eyes, sneezing, or congestion.
For most cats and dogs, allergies and allergic reactions most often cause problems with their skin. These problems can include itching, from mild to crazy, hair loss, rashes, and secondary bacterial and/or yeast infections. Because ears are an extension of the skin, recurrent ear infections are also common.
More often than not, cats and dogs will have allergies to substances like pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds, molds, and dust mites and their dust. They can also have allergies to specific proteins in food, although this is much less commonly seen than environmental allergies. Typically, dogs and cats will react to chicken, beef, pork, and lamb proteins. As more and more kinds of animal proteins are routinely included in readily available diets at pet supply stores, we have been seeing more cases of cats and dogs who will also react to more unusual animal proteins, such as fish, rabbit, and venison.
If you suspect your dog or cat may have allergies, you might see:
- Itch that can vary with the season
- Itch that can respond to bathing
- Repeated skin rashes, particularly on the belly and/or feet
- Repeated skin/ear infections
- Licking/chewing excessively at the feet
Thankfully, we have options to treat allergies in cats and dogs! We use a treatment plan that will be created for your own cat or dog, tailored to the signs they show, to help treat the current flare up, treat any secondary infections, and most importantly, work together to find the best way to keep flare ups under control.