Most of us are used to the many ups and downs of seasonal allergies that affect our daily lives in this subtropical climate. Of course, allergies can stem from a number of exposures. But, did you know that allergies can even affect your pets’ well-being. That’s right – your beloved four-legged friends can suffer from them too! And just like you, these allergies can become problematic if you’re not aware of the symptoms to look out for or how to treat them.
Unlike pet owners across the rest of the country who experience more varied seasons throughout the year, Florida pet owners have to be on-guard and look for those symptoms and issues that can’t be chalked up to “seasonal” allergies. But, how exactly can you tell the difference between a weather-related allergy and something potentially more serious?
When it comes to differentiating between outdoor sniffles and something more persistent, it’s all about educating yourself. For instance, common signs of run-of-the-mill allergies include excessive scratching, chewing, or even licking, which can be an indicator of fleas or a flea allergy. On their own, these allergy symptoms often don’t have harmful, lasting effects. But, if you start to notice any of those behaviors combined with other symptoms, then it’s time to talk to your veterinarian, as it could be a sign of something more serious.
Once you’ve narrowed down your pet’s allergy problem and ruled out other complications and diagnoses, what do you do next? Well, first, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for an allergy evaluation. They’ll identify your pet’s specific allergies, and come up with the best treatment plan.
A few different categories of allergens include the following:
- Food – Food allergies can present in several different ways. Your pet may suffer from skin problems, ear infections, or diarrhea, to name a few. These are the best indicators that they’re sensitive or allergic to the proteins found in their food. And, a solution may not be as simple as changing their food. The easiest way to treat food allergies is to have your vet observe your pet’s habits. From there, they’ll be able to prescribe an appropriate diet to help eradicate symptoms and illness.
- Contact – To many pet owners’ surprise, pets can also suffer from contact allergies just as some people do. In other words, they can be allergic to certain surface substances, like small fibers on a blanket or plastic in a drinking bowl. Fortunately, contact allergies are some of the easiest to treat. You just have to find the irritant in question, and remove it. Often, this process of elimination is as simple as watching your pet’s daily habits.
- Inhalants – Inhalants are the type of allergy you most often find associated with seasonal allergies. But, again, just like humans, pets can suffer from these year-round, especially here in Florida. They can experience allergies from pollen, mold, mildew, dust mites, etc. The most common symptoms associated with inhalant allergies include coughing and sneezing, as well as itchy skin and ears. Treatment is generally easy to apply once identified through skin or blood tests.
- Fleas – Living in Florida, fleas are a constant problem. And, what some pet owners may be surprised to learn is that pets can actually suffer from flea allergies. You see, flea saliva is highly allergenic, and animals who already suffer from allergies are much more prone to be affected by flea allergens. So, to keep an eye out for this, watch where your pet is scratching. If they appear to be scratching mostly around the back half of their body, then it’s time to consult with your veterinarian, and up your flea control game.
If you believe your pet may be suffering from allergies, carefully observe their daily routines to identify possible irritants. Then, talk to your veterinarian for a prescribed course of action to get your little buddy back to living their healthiest, happiest life.