January 18, 2006
If you've ever noticed your pet chewing on its paw or scratching feverishly it could mean that your pet has allergies.
Pet allergies typically spark up around spring, but with winter comes a whole new set of allergy triggers.
"Pollen--it may be in the heating ducts; dust mites, molds and fungi," said Dr. Richard Freedman of the Albemarle Veterinary Health Care Center.
Environmental allergies vary by season and are extremely common in dogs who are under five years old. Dr. Freedman says the symptoms are pretty easy to detect.
"They chew their feet a lot, the hair coat is stained brown with saliva, the other thing is they have ear problems," said Freedman.
To treat these symptoms, Doctors usually consider several factors--age, breed and prior allergy history. They may perform an allergy test to find out what your pet's allergic to. Routine antihistamines, fatty acid supplements or even a good shampoo can all help ease the itching and scratching. For the more severe cases, Doctors use allergy shots. But treatment doesn't have to last forever.
"About 70 percent of pets will improve within eight months to a year and they will stay improved and some of those pets can actually come off serum after several years," said Freedman.
Food allergies can also flare up in dogs and cats. If your pet seems allergic, avoid buying them food that contains beef, wheat or dairy.
If you're still unsure of what's best then make an appointment with your vet.