Allergies in Wisconsin are common. Unfortunately, many of you have to deal with allergies in your pets. Even more challenging is that the former allergy seasons (spring and fall) no longer exist as they once did. This is due to the inconsistent weather which increases the likelihood that allergies are seen throughout the year.
Because allergies present differently in pets than they do humans, you may not understand why your pet is exhibiting particular behaviors. Pets will lick their paws or scratch their skin excessively. Their skin will become dry and often times you will notice hair loss. In acute cases, an antihistamine like Benadryl will help relieve these symptoms. Prior to administering Benadryl, please consult your veterinarian for recommended dosages as they do differ from the recommended dosages for humans.
For those with chronic cases, a bigger arsenal is necessary to combat the symptoms and keep your pet maintained at a comfortable level as long as he/she is exposed to the specific allergen in question.
Possible allergens include:
- Inhalant and/or Contact Allergens: These are environmental allergens including mold spores, pollens, dusts, perfumes, dust mites, grasses, fabrics, mites, and laundry detergents.
- Food Allergens: These are either from protein or carbohydrate sources. Protein sources most commonly include chicken and beef. Carbohydrate sources include corns, grains, and potatoes.
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Some pets can have an allergic reaction to just ONE flea bite, while exposure to fleas in general can cause a sensitive pet to flare up.
Should your dog have symptoms that flare up during certain seasons, we would refer to these as “seasonal allergies”. If he/she gets itchy skin when the weeds are out, trees are pollinating, or lawns are in their active growing season, your dog would be considered a “textbook” seasonal allergy case.
I recommend allergy testing to help determine the cause and severity of the allergy as well as the best treatment protocol for your pet. Treatments could be as simple as a change in diet or laundry detergent. If these are the cause of the symptoms and changes are made, your pet will experience great relief. If your case is chronic, it’s best to work with your veterinarian. Regardless of your treatment option, the key to success is patience in following your veterinarian’s recommendations.