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Treating Itchy Skin & Pet Allergies

Skincare for dogs and cats can be a challenge, especially living in Florida. Their hair hides their skin from view, and it can be hard to figure out why they are scratching or biting themselves. Heat allergies and insects are the two primary culprits, but your pet could also be suffering from skin allergies.

Many pet owners in and around Sarasota seek medical help for their pets when they start scratching themselves too much. If you are wondering, should I take my cat to the vet for itchy skin or what to do if my dog has itchy skin, here is some information that should help you.

Allergy symptoms in dogs and cats

How Do Allergies Differ For Pets Vs. Humans?

Unlike humans, pets don’t experience the same kind of respiratory issues that humans do when they have allergies. Instead, pet allergies show up in the form of itchy skin.

How To Tell If Your Pet Has Allergies

If you notice that your pet seems to be super itchy or they start scratching and chewing at their legs and feet, they may be experiencing skin allergies.

Another common symptom of pet allergies is ear infections. While some ear infections may be due to things like swimming in water and water getting trapped in the ear, most ear infections in pets are caused by allergens.

If you see that your pet has itchy paws or they are constantly licking their paws, it could also be an indication that they have a food allergy (and typically this is an allergy to proteins like chicken, beef, soy or dairy).

Are There Certain Times Of Year Pet Allergies Are Worse In Florida?

Due to the warmer temperatures in Florida, it is not as easy to gauge seasonality of pet allergies as it is in other locations like the northeast which experiences much more drastic fluctuations in temperature because grasses and pollens may be found year-round.

While it can be harder to narrow down in a climate like Florida, vets like University Animal Clinic can use a blood test (allergy test) to identify the cause of their environmental allergies.

Common Allergies For Cats & Dogs

There are three main types of allergies pets can experience: environmental allergies, food allergies and flea allergies.

Of the environmental allergies, these tend to be some of the most common things pets are allergic to:

  • Oak
  • Pollen
  • Dust Mites
  • Dander
  • Mold
  • Grasses (In Florida, Bermuda grass is a common allergen for pets)
  • Yeast
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What To Do For Pets With Itchy Skin

Dogs and cats scratch and lick themselves all the time, but when they have itchy skin, their habits are more pronounced. Here are some things to look for to determine if your dog or cat has itchy skin:

  • Unusually frequent scratching or chewing on their paws or other parts of their bodies
  • One spot that is wet and irritated from biting or licking
  • Constant rubbing against furniture or carpet
  • Violent scratching behavior, especially in response to your touch

If you notice that your cat or dog is exhibiting some of these symptoms, it may be time to call your vet to have them take a look. In most cases, your pet can be treated with antihistamines or other medications that work at the cellular level. For flea allergies, there are a number of different flea prevention methods available as well.

Schedule An Examination For Your Pet

Finding The Reason

For Itchy Skin On Pets In Sarasota, Bradenton And Surrounding Areas

It is important to determine the cause of your pet’s itchy skin since there are different remedies for each. Here are some common causes of itchy skin in dogs and cats:

  • Environmental dermatitis: Your dog or cat comes in contact with countless substances in the environment. From rainwater and grass to chemicals on the surface of common household items, there are a lot of ways to develop cracked, flaking and itchy skin.
  • Skin allergies: Pets suffer from allergies just like their owners do, only most of the signs of allergies in dogs and cats appear on their skin. Think about how itchy your nose and throat get during seasonal pollen allergies, and imagine that itchiness on your skin instead.
  • Fleas or ticks: Certain insects are attracted to dogs and cats because they can live hidden in their fur. Fleas and ticks get on your pet and continue to bite as long as they hang on. Insect bites are itchy and painful and can cause violent scratching that furthers the irritation.

By examining your pet and asking you some routine questions, our veterinary experts at University Animal Clinic can determine the cause of your pet’s itchy skin and suggest the proper treatment. You can also take preventive measures to ensure your dog or cat does not experience the discomfort of itchy skin in the future.

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How To Get Rid Of Skin Allergies For Pets

Here are some actions you can take at home to comfort a pet with skin allergies:

  • Wash with clear water: Many pet skin allergies are caused by contact with allergens. Washing those allergens off can eliminate the itching and stop the allergic reaction. Be sure not to use harsh soaps that might irritate or dry the skin.
  • Stay indoors: During allergy season, it is helpful to keep your pet indoors, away from the environmental factors that trigger his allergies.
  • Change food: Cats and dogs can be very sensitive to food additives, and it can be difficult to pinpoint which ones are causing the problem. Switch to a different brand of food and see if the itching stops over time. When you find a food that works for your pet, try to remain consistent with it.

Never give your pet medications intended for humans unless directed to do so by a veterinarian. Human allergy medications are dangerous for pets.

If you have trouble controlling your pet’s skin allergies at home, make an appointment to bring them to University Animal Clinic in Bradenton, Florida. We can diagnose your pet’s itchy skin issues and suggest treatments that will relieve their itching.

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Contact us today to learn more, or request an itchy skin & pet allergy appointment online.

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