Allergies that occur in pets cause them to itch and scratch their skin, experience respiratory problems, discharge fluids from their noses and mouths, and experience digestive problems which cause vomiting and diarrhea. Causes that trigger allergy attacks include contact with other animals, humans and various materials, fleas, foods, and environmental factors, such as dust and mold, according to Dr. Karen Kuhl, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist at the Midwest Veterinary Dermatology Center in Buffalo Grove, III.
Speaking on a podcast at the American Veterinary Medical Association website, Dr. Kuhl recommends starting identification of your pet’s specific allergy by working with your pet’s’ vet. If your pet has a food related allergy, you can work with your pet’s vet using a food elimination strategy to pinpoint the allergen. Flea-induced allergies often manifest themselves on the back half of the animal, according to Dr. Kuhl. Environmental allergies can cause animals to lick their feet, rub their face, experience ear, eyes and nose problems.
If the problem is flea-induced, you can begin a flea-control program. Holistic methods for flea control include adding garlic, brewer’s yeast and/or Omega-3 fatty acids to the pets diet. Look for mold, excessive dust or household chemicals which might be causing allergic reactions. Traditional remedies for environmental allergies include allergy shots and antihistamines. Talk with your pet’s veterinarian if you want suggestions for natural antihistamines.
Reading nutrition labels on pet food is critical to managing allergies, according to Peter Kaufman, owner of NAPPS corporate partner, Complete Natural Nutrition, a maker of all-natural pet foods and treats. “If you can’t pronounce the words on the food label, that’s a red flag that the food might be a problem,” Kaufman advises. “You don’t have to be a vet or dietician to manage your pet’s diet–start by reading and learning about the ingredients in the food you feed your pet. Simple is better, less is more….especially when managing allergies.”
AVMA’s “Scratch and Sniffle” podcast with Dr. Karen Kuhl
By Sarah Zumhofe