Not only are allergies becoming more common in human beings, they are also becoming commonplace for dogs and cats. Also like their human owners, pets are affected by the same kinds of allergens, such as food, pollen, mold, and dust mites. If you’re concerned about your cat or dog having allergies, here are four things you need to know about pet allergies.
How many types of allergies are there?
1. Different Types of Allergies that Affect Pets
There are three main categories that pet allergies are broken down into. These categories include:
- Environmental – Also called atopy, these types of allergies are considered environmental allergens and commonly include things such as pollen and mold, that get inhaled by your pet.
- Dermatitis – For pets that have these types of allergies, they may get an allergic reaction when their skin comes into contact with certain substances. Some examples of this type of allergy include plastic, chemicals, or carpet.
- Food – Another common category for pets, certain ingredients found in food can cause an allergic reaction. Some of the most common allergens found in pet food include soy, corn, wheat, and dairy products.
2. Common Symptoms Associated with Pet Allergies
If your pet has allergies, the symptoms will largely depend on the kind of allergy Fido or Fluffy has. For example, if your pet is allergic to one that falls into the environmental allergy category, common symptoms usually include asthma-like wheezing or rubbing their face. Since dermatitis allergy symptoms are associated with the skin, common symptoms include rashes, hives, and hair loss. Other symptoms your pet may exhibit include itchy/watery eyes and vomiting or diarrhea.
3. Severe Allergic Reactions
If your pet has allergy symptoms, it means they are experiencing an allergic reaction to a certain allergen. Even though severe allergic reactions are not very common, you should pay attention if your pet experiences hives and swelling in the face. One of the most severe types of allergic reactions is called anaphylaxis. Severe allergic reactions generally happen within 20 minutes of your pet being exposed to the allergen. Anaphylaxis causes swelling in the throat, airway, and lungs, making it very difficult to breathe.
Your pet could be experiencing a severe allergic reaction if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:
- Trouble breathing
- Drop in blood pressure that causes gums to look pale
- Appears frightened
- Collapses or has convulsions
If your pet ever has any of these symptoms, it’s highly recommended to take them to the veterinarian as soon as you can. Some severe reactions, such as anaphylaxis, can cause your pet to go into shock, cardiac arrest, and can even be fatal.
4. What To Do If Your Pet Has Allergies
If you suspect your pet has allergies, you may want to talk to your veterinarian. In cases where your pet’s allergies are making their life miserable, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe an antihistamine or a steroid. The best thing you can do is keep your pet away from things they are having an allergic reaction to. If you suspect a food allergy, you may want to eliminate common allergens from their diet.