Free worldwide shipping for orders over $50
 
Brands
Info
 

Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Sneezing, watery eyes, coughing and of course, itching: these are all tell-tale signs that your fur baby may be suffering from allergies. Just like in humans, an allergy occurs when the pet’s immune system becomes overly sensitive to an everyday substance and considers it a threat. The adverse reaction occurs when the body tries to rid itself of this substance.

Common symptoms of allergies

Due to the wide range of allergens that can affect your pet, the symptoms, too, can be wide-ranging. Symptoms of allergies may be similar to other issues, such as a cold, but the main thing that may indicate an allergy is the itch factor. Continued scratching may be an indication of an allergic reaction or sensitivity, even in cases if it was something your pet has eaten or breathed in.

Allergies may manifest as:

  • Itchy skin – this is the most common sign of all allergies in both dogs and cats.
  • Itchy tail – in addition to generalized itching, cats and dogs with flea allergies may be particularly itchy around the base of their tail.
  • Ear infections
  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Vomiting or diarrhea – usually a symptom of a reaction to food.
  • Loss of appetite – in the case of food allergies.
  • Snoring – caused by a swollen throat.
  • Sensitive paws – you may notice the paws are swollen or that your pet is chewing them.
  • Coughing – note that cats rarely cough and this is almost certainly a sign of allergies or asthma.

Acute allergic reactions result in much more serious symptoms. These are most likely when your pet has a true food allergy, as opposed to the more common food sensitivity. These reactions may also occur after vaccinations or bee stings.

Symptoms of acute allergic reactions:

  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, lips, eyes, and throat
  • Anaphylaxis – this involves breathing difficulties, a drop in blood sugar, and collapse. In the case of anaphylactic shock, pets require immediate medical attention.

Types of allergies

Allergic reactions can, in fact, be caused by pretty much anything, but they fall into four main groups:

Food allergies

Although people usually talk about food allergies, the more correct term for physical reactions to foods is a food sensitivity or intolerance. A true allergy can be compared to a peanut allergy in humans, where the food causes anaphylactic shock, which is much rarer.

A dog or cat can develop a sensitivity to anything in their diet, even if they have eaten it for years without a problem. In theory, animals can be intolerant to any food stuff, but the most common causes are beef, chicken, lamb, eggs, soy, dairy, and grains. The large number of ingredients found in commercial pet foods can make it hard to determine exactly which ingredient is the culprit.

A food allergy or intolerance should not be confused with a normal physical reaction to problematic food, such as vomiting after eating rancid meat.

Flea allergies

When we talk about a flea allergy, we don’t mean the normal scratching that a flea bite can cause. A true flea allergy will mean that even 2-3 bites can cause incessant itching for a number of weeks. Flea allergy dermatitis is caused when an animal develops a sensitivity to flea saliva. This saliva is injected into your pet’s skin when the flea feeds, provoking an immune response that leads to itching, rashes, raw skin and hair loss. This is a particularly common cause of allergies in dogs and cats.

Environmental allergies

Just as humans can suffer from hay fever, animals can also be allergic to things that they breathe in. The common organic causes of environmental include pollen, cut grass, dust, mold, and mildew, which may be worse at certain times of the year. For example, pollen is more problematic in Spring. There are also non-natural allergens that are termed environmental allergens, including perfume, cigarette smoke, and the dust from kitty litter.

Contact allergies

As the term suggests, contact allergies are caused by something that comes into direct contact with your pet. Contact allergy reactions are not as common and tend to be restricted to the area of contact, but they can still be unpleasant for the animal. As you can imagine, the list of potential contact allergens is extensive but includes:

  • Medicated products – Be aware that your dog or cat may be sensitive to particular ingredients found in common parasite treatments.
  • Cleaning products– Consider the surfaces that your pet comes into contact with and the products you use to clean them, particularly anything you use to wash their bedding. Even products designed specifically for pets, such as shampoos, can cause allergic reactions in some animals.
  • Plastic and rubber – Did you know your pet can be allergic to their food bowl? Consider switching from plastic to glass or ceramic.
  • Fabrics – Even natural fabrics can be problematic, wool and feathers in particular.

Complications of allergies

As well as providing ongoing distress and pain to your furry friend, allergies can lead to other issues. Environmental allergens can lead to bronchitis, sinus infections or asthma. Sinus infections will require treatment, and should not be treated with over the counter medications. In cats, the coughing of asthma and bronchitis can appear similar to coughing up a hairball, so owners should take care to notice if this coughing is regular and persistent.

Any allergic reaction that causes skin irritation can also trigger a hot spot. Hot spots are formed after an animal scratches, licks or bites the same patch of skin continuously. As bacteria enter the broken skin, an infection develops, leading painful hot skin, open sores, and hair loss. Due to the cycle of infection and itching, these hot spots do not resolve on their own and will require treatment.

Diagnosing allergies

Unfortunately, diagnosing allergies can be difficult and time-consuming, due to the sheer number of potential allergens that may be affecting your pet.

Food allergens are usually established by placing your pet on a strict elimination diet, that removes all potential allergens. This usually involves a limited ingredient diet based on proteins that your pet may not have eaten previously, such as duck or bison. If the adverse reactions subside, other ingredients are slowly introduced in order to discover the cause of the problem.

In the case of a suspected contact or environmental allergy, your vet will likely perform a blood test or a skin (pin-prick) test. For a pin-prick test, a patch of the skin will be shaved and injected with small amounts of the potential allergens. Within 15 minutes, any allergic reactions will usually develop at the injection site.

Preventing and treating allergies

While there’s no way of curing an allergy to a particular substance, food or parasite, there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce the impact that these allergies have on your pet.

The most important thing you can do is to prevent or reduce exposure to the allergen, which is obviously only possible when you know exactly what your pet is allergic to. For food allergies, this will mean eliminating the allergen from the diet, while making sure your pet still gets the right balance of nutrients.

For allergies to fleas or other parasites, the key is maintaining regular parasite prevention. Fleas can be difficult to eradicate due to their fast breeding cycle, which is why your pet needs to be treated every month to keep the pests at bay. You’ll also need to maintain a flea-free environment by tackling fleas in the home and in your yard.

Environmental triggers are much more difficult to avoid, particularly for dogs and outdoor cats, however, there are some steps you can take to lessen the impact. By regularly vacuuming and washing your pet’s bedding you will reduce the amount of dust and other allergens that might linger. You could also consider an air purifier. If your pet’s environmental allergy results in skin problems, regular bathing will clean the skin of allergens.

If the allergen cannot be avoided, then you will need to treat the symptoms as they arise. There are plenty of medicated and natural products that can help soothe itchy skin and provide your pet with some relief. Antibiotic creams will both reduce itching and also prevent the development of infections.

Your vet may also to prescribe medication to assist with symptoms, particularly for environmental allergies. These include antihistamines for sneezing and watery eyes, corticosteroids to control itching, and antibiotics to treat any secondary infections that develop.


Allergies in Dogs and Cats

There are no products to display

What we’ve been talking about!

See all

Why are dogs loyal?

by dong on 04 Aug 2021
Nature and nurture play a role in our dog’s loyalty, explaining how our pets evolved to be known as man’s best friend.   Why are dogs loyal? Our canine companions are famous for their loyalty, but the cause behind Fido’s faithful nature is more of a mystery. An interplay of environmental and genetic factors influence our pets’ personalities and helps explain why dogs are so loyal to their humans. Domesticated pets rely on their owners for everything from basic needs such as food and water to companionship, exercise and playtime. Our dogs are acutely aware of their position in the relationship and this provides major motivation to display their loyalty to their caretakers. By staying in our good graces, our pets affirm that their needs will be met, but the relationship between a dog and his owner runs deeper than food and water. Dogs also consider us part of their families and, like humans, they take care of their family members. These bonds grow stronger as you and your pet come to rely on each other, creating a sense of loyalty. There are genetic factors at play, too, when it comes to canines’ faithfulness to their humans. Dogs, who are scavengers by nature, learned that people hunted and left scraps that provided their packs with food. Likewise, dogs helped humans hunt as they evolved together, eventually forming bonds that led dogs to evolve into the loyal pets they are today. Canines that excelled at co-existing with humans had more opportunities to find food. Not only did people take care of the dogs that were around more often and friendlier, but they also intentionally bred them to favor human interaction. Over time, selective breeding helped create dogs that were genetically predisposed to “tameability,” and therefore, human loyalty. With their long history with humans, it is not surprising that dogs have actually developed empathy for their human counterparts. Researchers have found that dogs actually alter their behaviors based on their owners’ moods, showing an acute understanding of human emotions. Study have shown canines can read the emotions of strangers, too, demonstrating an empathy that lends itself easily to the loyalty our pets display. Other studies have found dogs’ oxytocin levels increase when they are around their owners. This feel-good hormone creates a boost of happiness, showing that being around their people truly benefits our pets’ wellbeing. It is easy to feel loyal to someone who brings you happiness, helping us understand why our dogs develop friendships, trust and loyalty with their human families.  

Five diseases that are totally preventable in dogs

by dong on 26 Jul 2021
We never want to see our pets suffer, and fortunately some canine illnesses are easily preventable. Here are a few avoidable doggy diseases.   Five diseases that are totally preventable in dogs   In the wild, animals improve their chances of survival by not showing signs of weakness, but at home, this can lead our pets to suffer from undetected disease. Fortunately, some of the deadliest diseases dogs can catch are easily preventable. Here is a list of a few problems you can prevent from affecting your pet:   Parvo: Also known as Canine Parovirus, parvo can cause severe diarrhea and weight loss, vomiting, and lethargy. Symptoms can be so severe that they lead to septic shock. This virus is fatal in around 50 percent of dogs, but it can be prevented by giving puppies a vaccine. Most dogs contract parvo through contact with an infected dog, making parvo much more common in shelters and breeding facilities.   Heartworm Disease: This deadly disease is caused when a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, but is entirely preventable with heartworm medication. Mosquitos can be found even in dry climates, so it is a good idea to give your dog preventative heartworm treatment year-round, even if you live in a low-risk area. The treatment for heartworm is costly and painful for your pet, but preventatives are available in convenient chewable, topical and injectable forms.   Lyme Disease: This tick-borne illness is caused by bacteria transmitted by deer ticks, which live in tall grass and woods. Ticks must be attached to dogs for at least 18 hours to transmit the disease, so preventative treatments can curb most cases of Lyme disease. Protect your pet with topical treatments; chewable tablets; or medicated collars that repel ticks. You can also try to keep your dog away from tick-prone areas and check him for ticks after he has been outdoors. If not treated, Lyme disease can lead to stiffness, loss of appetite, and even kidney disease and failure. Treatment requires antibiotics and symptoms do not always disappear completely.   Kennel Cough: Dogs who share a space with other canines are at risk for contracting kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease spreads both through the air and by contact. Puppies are especially susceptible to the disease, but it can be prevented with a vaccine. Though kennel cough isn’t fatal, dogs experience symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy in addition to sneezing and a runny nose.   Renal Failure: Also known as kidney disease, renal failure typically develops slowly over a dog’s lifetime. Though old-age kidney failure cannot be prevented, there is one cause is avoidable in pets: dental disease. By keeping Fido’s teeth clean from bacteria, you help stop it from entering his bloodstream, where it can damage his organs, including the kidneys. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly—at least once per week— and use dental chews to help remove plaque and keep Fido’s chompers clean. You should also have your vet clean and examine your pet’s teeth during his annual exam to ensure your dog’s mouth stays healthy.

Why does my cat smell bad?

by dong on 16 Jul 2021
Cats are known to groom obsessively, but sometimes even felines start to smell. Here’s how to determine when an odor is a sign of a problem.   Why does my cat smell bad? Cats are famous for being fastidious groomers, so it can come as a surprise when your pet starts to stink. Although some odors are easy to fix, others can indicate a serious health problem. To determine the cause behind your Kitty’s bad smell, start by identifying the location of the odor. The best way to get to the bottom of why your cat stinks is to determine the source of the odor. Start by identifying whether the smell is coming from his face, rear, a particular part of his coat, or all over. Once you’ve narrowed down the site of Kitty’s offensive smell, you can begin diagnosing the problem. If his mouth stinks, for example, your cat may be experiencing dental disease. This is the most common cause of bad breath in cats and is due to buildup of bacteria in his mouth. Left untreated, plaque and tartar can cause gum disease and painful tooth infections, so if your pet is experiencing persistent stinky breath, take him to the veterinarian for an oral exam. Other mouth-related odors can result from ulcers or wounds. Again, these can be painful for your pet, so take him to the vet to diagnose and treat the problem, as most cats will not let their owners have a look inside their mouths. Other sources of bad smells around your cat’s face include his ears, which are subject to infections caused by yeast, bacteria or mites. If you notice an offensive odor coming from your pet’s ears or he is scratching at them and shaking his head, this can be a sign of an ear infection. Look inside his ears for debris, and take him to the vet as soon as possible to determine whether he is suffering from a painful ear infection and to treat the problem. Cats can also experience stinky coats. If he appears dirty, a bath may be the only treatment needed, but if your pet appears relatively clean, he could be suffering from a skin condition. Skin infections are caused by bacterial or fungal overgrowth and can lead to a bad smell across a cat’s entire body. Other symptoms include a thinning coat; inflamed or red skin; or a greasy or smelly coating on his fur. If, however, your pet’s skin stinks only in a certain spot, it is likely due to an infected wound. Cats’ thick coats can easily hide cuts and scrapes, which can ooze a smelly discharge when they become infected. Run your fingers through your pet’s fur to help find a wound and take your cat to the vet immediately if you do find one. The base of cats’ tails is an unsurprising source of stinky smells, but some can require veterinary care. Though gas is nothing to worry about, persistently, overly smelly flatulence can be a symptom of a gastrointestinal problem. Likewise, if your pet experiences diarrhea or constipation for more than two days, he needs immediate veterinary care. Finally, some cats stink due to inflamed, infected or impacted anal glands. If your cat is “scooting” across the floor or grooming the base of his tale excessively, take him to the vet to diagnose and treat the problem.  
Sign up to our newsletter to know more about our specials!
 
Marketing by