The start of Autumn also marks the start of allergy season, and unfortunately seasonal allergies are very common in pets, especially dogs.Pets actually have very sensitive skin. At only half the thickness of human skin, they are incredibly sensitive to environmental allergens. When humans have allergies, with runny eyes, a blocked nose and signs in our upper airways. Pets are a little different.
No matter what they are allergic to, whether it’s something in their diet or perhaps pollens or fleas, they tend to get itchy… very itchy! For many of our furry friends, the only sign of their discomfort is that they lick their feet or scratch – a lot.
One of the most common allergies in dogs and cats is a flea bite allergy – especially during the warmer months of the year, when fleas become more prevalent. Flea allergy develops in response to the saliva the flea injects into the skin during feeding and is so severe that one flea bite can keep your pet itching for 2 weeks.
Often fleas are overlooked as a cause of allergies, as pets with flea allergies don’t always have visible fleas. In fact, because one flea causes so much irritation, they tend to gnaw out that little flea pretty quickly, getting rid of any evidence of the problem. Any pet with allergies, even if fleas are not the main cause, needs super-fast flea control as part of their treatment, ideally with a comfortis monthly flavoured chew..
Interestingly, pets that have food allergies might not necessarily develop a stomach upset or diarrhoea. They just get itchy and lick their paws. Contrary to popular opinion, dogs don’t tend to develop gluten or grain allergies. They tend to be allergic to a meat protein such as chicken, beef, lamb or kangaroo. This allergy develops over time, which means your pet may be okay eating something for several years before symptoms begin to appear.
If your veterinarian suspects your cat or dog has a food allergy, a diet trial for a minimum of 8 weeks is necessary, . It is important to consult your vet, because simply changing to another brand of cat or food will not help, as most pet foods are made up of similar ingredients.