The month of May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month! Humans aren’t the only ones that have allergies though. Your pet can develop allergies too! Your pet may be allergic to his/her food, something in the house, or an outdoor item. So, how do you know if your pet is allergic to something? Watch for these symptoms:
- Red, inflamed itchy skin
- Shaking head
- Rubbing or scooting around house
- Chewing/biting at feet
- Hair loss
- Runny eyes
- Asthma (especially in cats)
- Brown staining on dog’s feet
- Bald tummy in cats
- Scratching at the ears
- Constant ear infections (this is not normal- no matter what breed your pet is or how floppy his/her ears are)
- Constant skin infections
- Irregular or consistent steroid use
During the spring, summer, and fall months, symptoms will most likely flare up if your pet has seasonal allergies. Common outdoor allergens include weeds, trees, grasses, and molds. However, if your pet is allergic to something indoors, there will be symptoms year-round. Common indoor allergens include dust mites, storage mites, cat dander, human dander, cotton, and insects.
Sometimes, it can be hard to know if your dog has a health problem or if he/she is showing normal behavior. A recent study of 314 healthy dogs from four countries concluded that a healthy dog will show the following behaviors less than three times per week. However, an unhealthy dog shows one or more of the following behaviors at least once a day:
- Paw licking/chewing
- Facial rubbing
- Head shaking
If your pet is displaying abnormal behavioral symptoms, he/she most likely has allergies, an infection, or another issue. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns or notice your pet displaying other allergy symptoms. If your veterinarian does not offer advanced dermatology services, ask for a referral to Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota’s board-certified veterinary dermatologist, Dr. Melissa Eisenschenk.
Check out Part II here to find out how to do a food trial and what to do if you’re pet has an environmental allergy!