Unfortunately, your cat or dog can't tell you what symptoms they're feeling or explain why they're constantly scratching themselves, experiencing digestive disruptions or other common problems associated with allergies. You're left to play detective, in order to find out what's bothering your pet and how to protect them. With the help of a veterinarian, you should eventually discover specific details of your pet's sensitivities, then you're left with the task of erecting a barrier between your cat or dog and all they're allergic to.

Controlling Environmental Irritants

Atopic dermatitis, the official name for your pet's allergic skin reactions, can wreak havoc on any coat of fur or hair, as well as the underlying skin. Environmental irritants responsible for this condition often include indoor mold, outdoor pollen, and dust particles from anywhere. There is no cure for atopic dermatitis, making it essential that you (along with your veterinarian) determine the cause of the red, itchy reaction, so you can remove the animal from the irritant or the irritant from the animal's environment. Ask your vet about special shampoos and the frequency with which you should bathe your pet. It's also important to keep your cat or dog's nails trimmed and filed, to minimize the damage from continuous scratching.

Allergen-specific immunotherapy, such as a topical treatment, could be very effective in treating your four-legged pal's condition; however, there is no permanent cure for it, thus, controlling the allergens in the environment is the optimal strategy. Since your pet is hyper-sensitive, you should also be aware of how anything you use around the home could affect them, such as carpet cleaners, air-fresheners, laundry detergent, and even perfumes and colognes. Your pet might also experience asthmatic symptoms or allergic bronchitis due to environmental irritants, either of which would mandate an immediate trip to your local animal hospital.

Managing Food Allergies

The "itchies" your pet goes through could also be attributed to food allergies, in addition to a slew of other possible symptoms:

  • Sneezing, with or without a runny nose.
  • Red skin or patches of swollen, irritated areas, especially around the mouth, ears, and eyes in severe reactions.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea, possibly with blood.
  • Loss or changes in appetite, along with weight fluctuations.
  • Changes in mood and energy levels.

Food allergies can be disguised as general digestive issues and they can be difficult to narrow down or separate from other disturbing symptoms; thus, you may need to conduct an elimination diet test, to zero-in on the food ingredient(s) responsible, with the guidance of your vet. Many tests may be needed, including an in-depth blood test, called a radioallergosorbent test, which examines immune reactions to various substances. 

Trying New Things With Your Pet

Once you establish an allergy-free routine with your pet, trying new things, including food, treats, shampoos, flea treatments, and other new products should not be done without first consulting with your veterinarian. As dull as it may feel for you and your pet, the introduction of any new item could start the allergic response cycle all over again. Even if you're considering moving to a new climate in another state or a new apartment down the road, let your vet know, so you can keep the unknown variables under as much control as possible.

Allergies are no fun for anyone, but since your furry friend can't keep you informed about their condition, it's vital that you play the allergy police, preventing your cat or dog from encountering whatever may be a threat. While it may be a lot to go through, especially in the investigative beginning, once you and your vet have determined the culpable agents, your job gets much easier. Stay on alert, though, to keep your cat or dog symptom-free, healthy and happy, as well as to keep your home and life in reasonable order, as opposed to the chaos and calamity of allergic reactions and their unpleasant aftermath. Speak with an expert in your area to learn more pet care information.