uncomfortable truth: some pets have allergies

You’ve heard about people being allergic to pets. But did you know that pets can have allergies, too? Now, as far as we know, pets aren’t allergic to people (whew!). But if your furry BFF is showing signs of a skin issue – like itchiness, swelling, or inflammation – they might be allergic to something.

None of us likes to feel uncomfortable – including pets. Luckily, your Banfield veterinary team can help. Here’s a quick introduction to help you get started.

Three most common allergies, and how to handle them

  1. Flea allergies: Any pet who has fleas will be irritated, annoyed, and uncomfortable. But if your pet is unlucky enough to be allergic to proteins in flea saliva, the symptoms can be even worse. Over the past 10+ years, Banfield veterinary teams have seen a significant increase in flea allergy cases, especially in cats. Even indoor-only pets can get fleas, and fleas are around all year – even in the coldest months of winter. The best way to reduce the problem is to prevent it, with year-round preventive care including flea.
  2. Food allergies: Many people blame their pet’s skin issue on a food allergy, but food allergies are not as common in pets as you might think. That’s good! The challenging part is determining whether or not your pet is in fact allergic to a certain food. It can take testing and trial diets, which can sometimes take a long time. Your veterinary team can help diagnose food allergies and advise you on complete diets that keep your pet healthy and happy without irritating their skin.
  3. Environmental allergies: Pets react to many of the same allergens as people, both seasonally and year-round. We’re talking about dust and storage mites, pollen, dander, molds, fabrics, feathers, medications, and cleaning solutions. It can be complicated to identify environmental allergies, but your veterinary team can help you identify triggers and manage allergies all year round in your pet.

Special credit: Allergy quiz!

We know that most people don’t really like quizzes, so we’ve put the answers right under each question. (This would have made high school a lot easier, right?)

Is scratching normal for certain breeds?

Answer: Occasional scratching is natural, but not necessarily “normal.” And any scratching that is accompanied by red inflamed skin or hair loss is definitely not normal. Some breeds might be predisposed to skin infections or other conditions that lead to scratching. Your veterinary team can help you confirm what is normal for your pet vs. what might need treatment.  

Is there a one-size-fits-all treatment for your pet’s allergies?

Answer: Unfortunately, no – and getting allergies under control may prove more difficult for certain pets. If your BFF has allergies, connect with your veterinary team and start a pet-specific treatment plan. In some cases, a referral to a board-certified veterinary dermatologist may be helpful.

Is it true that antibiotics are a quick fix for itchy pets?

Answer: No, not all itchy pets need antibiotics, and your veterinary team will perform diagnostic tests that could save you from administering a medication your pet may not need. In some situations, like fungal infections, antibiotics can actually make things worse. Your local Banfield veterinary team can catch flare-ups early and reduce the severity of chewing, scratching, and other trauma than might require antibiotics.

Don’t let your pet deal with allergies alone

Pets can’t schedule vet appointments. They can’t start an Optimum Wellness Plan® all by themselves to get preventive care year-round. They need your help – and ours.