Monday, September 27, 2010

Allergies and your Pet



Reprinted from the Wellness Blog


Dogs and cats can develop a wide variety of allergies causing them to lick their feet, scratch incessantly and develop ear infections.

At times scratching can become so severe the pet’s skin will become red and hair will start to fall out. Sores, welts and hotspots can also develop, which may lead to a secondary skin infection.

There are various types of allergies that may affect your pet.


Food Allergies

Dogs or cats with food allergies exhibit the same symptoms as pets with other types of allergies. This includes itchy skin, ear infections and red bumps.

What Causes Food Allergies?


Dogs and cats frequently develop an allergy towards foods they have been fed for an extended period of time. Some common pet food ingredients which are sometimes responsible for allergies include wheat, soy and protein sources, among others.

Food Allergy Verses Food Intolerance

There is a stark difference between food allergies and food intolerances.

A food allergy is when a dog or cat’s immune system reacts negatively towards a specific ingredient. If your pet is suffering from a true allergic reaction, he will develop excessive itching and skin problems.


Food intolerance is when a certain substance does not set well with your dog or cat’s digestive system, resulting in diarrhea or vomiting. No immune response is involved.

Controlling Food Allergies

If your pet has a food allergy, you will need to identify and eliminate the offending food from your pet’s meals.

“To help diagnose the presence of food allergies, you may want to feed a novel protein exclusion type diet for 6-8 weeks,” recommends Dr. Edward Moser, a board certified veterinary nutritionist. “Wellness® Simple Solutions® is an excellent choice.” This formula contains only one protein source and one carbohydrate source, minimizing the number of allergens your dog is exposed to at a given time.

A grain-free diet, such as Wellness® CORE®, can also be helpful in controlling allergies. The Wellness CORE formula is packed with nutrient-rich meat such as de-boned turkey, turkey meal and chicken liver. This diet offers your pet high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals in just the right proportions.

Airborne Allergies

Airborne allergies can include:

Pollen

Dust mites

Dander

Feathers

Grass

Trees

Molds

Controlling Airborne Allergies

Here are a few tips to help reduce the effects of airborne allergies:

Keep your house free from dust and mold.

Invest in an air purifier system.

Vacuum your carpet on a regular basis.

Turn the air conditioner on during warm days.

Keep your pet indoors if you are mowing the lawn, pruning shrubs or raking leaves.

Bathe your dog after walking him through a grassy area. Be sure to use a hypoallergenic shampoo.

If possible, only exercise your pet on the pavement or a gravel road.

Treatment options can include the use of antihistamines to help control itching.

Your veterinarian can also administer a series of allergy shots (immunotherapy) to help your pet build a resistance towards the allergen.

Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies is when your pet has an allergic reaction to something he comes in contact with such as carpet, bedding, indoor plants, plastics, cleaners or other chemicals.

The most effective way to treating and preventing environmental allergies is to identify the offending substance and prohibit your pet from coming in contact with it.

If you suspect that your dog or cat has environmental allergies, use these precautionary measures:

Feed your pet out of glass or stainless steel bowl. Avoid any type of plastic.

Use mild, all-natural household disinfectants and cleaners.

Avoid spraying your lawn or yard with harsh chemicals or weed-killers.

Wash your pet’s bed regularly to remove any allergens that may have contaminated it.

The best way to keep your dog or cat’s allergies to a minimum is to consider all the different types of allergies that could affect them. This includes airborne allergies, food allergies and environmental allergies.

Keep in mind that your pet could suffer from multiple allergies simultaneously. So be alert, and take everything into consideration for the wellbeing of your pet.

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