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Pet Allergies

Allergies occur when a person or animal's immune system reacts to something that isn't a threat.  The byproduct of that overreaction leads to itchy skin, respiratory congestion, and other complaints.  Thankfully, your pets don't need to suffer in silence.  There is a lot you can do to bring them allergy relief.

What Causes Allergies?

dog playing in the grass in Winnipeg, ManitobaThere are three main categories of substances your pet may be allergic to, depending on how the allergens get into their system.

Food allergies including beef, dairy, and wheat, preservatives and additives, dyes, certain prescription medications
Breathing allergies from pollen, perfume, tobacco smoke, cut grass, leaf mold, dust, dander from other animals or themselves, household cleaning chemicals
Skin allergies including fleas, the most common offender, but also dust mites, detergents, wool, leaf mold, fleas, some flea-control collars and chemicals.

Pets can be allergic to things from multiple categories.

What are the Symptoms?

In household animals, the main symptom is itchy skin.  This itch most commonly occurs on the ears, eyes, feet and toes, and tender places such as the groin and armpits.  The ways that the animal reacts to that relentless, miserable itch create additional issues.  Look out for:

  • Reddened, swollen skin

  • Scratching

  • Skin sores or bleeding

  • An unusual odor or white patches, signs of a yeast infection

  • Rubbing the ears, signs of an ear infection

  • Rubbing the body against carpet or the furniture

  • Biting themselves

  • Bald spots where hair has been pulled out

  • Burping

  • Vomiting

  • Flatulence and diarrhea

  • Sneezing and mucus

  • Wheezing and other signs of respiratory congestion

Our Veterinarian in Winnipeg Can Help

There is no magic cure for pet allergies but you can take measures to reduce your animal's exposure to the allergens and treat the symptoms.  The first step is a visit to our veterinarian in Winnipeg.

That pet exam will involve inspecting your companion, discussing diet and environment, and possibly  a skin allergen test to pinpoint the allergy's causes.

Next, a few changes to your pet's home life can reduce or eliminate many allergens.  You can:

  • Run an air filter.

  • Dust with a wet cloth.

  • Vacuum frequently.

  • Smoke outside, not indoors.

  • Buy dust mite-resistant pet bedding.

  • Switch to hypoallergenic detergents.

  • Lock your pet in a different room when using cleaning chemicals.

  • Bathe your dog, and cat if he tolerates it.

  • Rinse your pets' feet off and wipe their faces with a damp cloth when coming inside.

  • Switch to kibble that does not contain trigger ingredients.

  • Feed animals in stainless steel, not plastic, pet bowls.

If your pet is still suffering, your Fort Garry Veterinarian can provide you with medications to fight the allergy's symptoms.  These include:

  • A course of allergy injections, which are highly effective but take time to work.   

  • Cortisone or steroids to help a pet with respiratory congestion to breathe.

  • Antihistamine pills or topical sprays.  Remember, never give your pet medicine meant for humans without talking to your vet first!

  • Shampoos to improve itchy skin and help it heal faster.

  • Flea prevention products with alternative chemicals.