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Can Pets Get Allergies?

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Posted on 05-10-2017

Nashville pet owners - Do you wonder, 'Can my pet get allergies?" YES!

Does your pet itch constantly? Noticed a foul odor on their skin or in ears ears, balding spots or discoloration of skin? Do they obsessively scratch certain areas or lick their paws? 

Occasional pet itching is common – more often in dogs. Recurring or regular itching may be a sign of skin disease or allergies and can cause hair loss or skin damage. It can be an annoyance to you, even keeping you up at night! If pet itching is not addressed when you start to notice it, your pets may have a harder time battling this issue and it can be harder to treat and control.

Common Types of Pet Allergies and Pet Skin Diseases:

  • Flea allergy
  • Food allergy
  • Contact allergy or contact dermatitis
  • Atopic dermatitis 

Our veterinarians will have to examine your pet to make a skin diagnosis and develop a treatment plan for possible allergies.


Flea bite hypersensitivity causes severe pet itching. Just a few flea bites can cause pruritis (itchy skin) with the hind end affected most often. Fleas (and flea feces and flea dirt) that contain your pet’s blood are not always visible to your eye. Richland Animal Clinic recommends year-round flea prevention and, if needed, medicated flea baths to limit fleas on your pet and stop their itch.

Food Allergy in Pets

To determine if your pet has food allergies, they will be fed a diet with one protein and one carbohydrate for 8-10 weeks. No other foods or treats are allowed. If symptoms disappear, food allergies are likely to blame.

Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is rare but occurs when a pet’s skin overreacts to molecules in the environment such as nickel, rubber, wool, dyes and chemicals.

Atopic Dermatitis

Quite common is atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease brought on by environmental allergens such as grass, mold, pollen or cigarette smoke.

Talk to your veterinarian about skin and blood tests for dermatitis.  A referral to a veterinary dermatologist might be recommended. In a skin test, a small level of allergens is injected under your pet’s skin to test for reactions. In a blood test, your pet’s blood will be analyzed for which allergens specific to your pet’s environment could be causing the reaction.

Pet Allergy & Itch Treatment

Once your pet allergens have been identified, we can develop a program to try to eliminate the allergy and treat the skin.

Some options for pet allergies and itch relief include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-itch shampoo and conditioners
  • Anti-fungal shampoo 
  • Cyclosporine therapy
  • Essential fatty acids (such as Omega 3)
  • Hypoallergenic diets 
  • Immunotherapy
  • Oral steroids in low doses to treat sporadic outbreaks
  • Prescriptions such as Apoquel
  • Topical steroid sprays

DITCH THE ITCH! Contact Richland Animal Clinic today to discuss your pet’s allergy and itch issues and how we can provide relief.

*** May Only - Purchase any Dechra skin care product for chance to WIN a Dechra goodie basket!

Want to take a quick 6-question quiz to learn more about your dog’s itching AND help military, police and service dogs?

Each time the quiz is taken, Zoetis will make a donation to K-9 Courage™ Program.  K-9 Courage provides healthcare assistance to retired military and active police dogs as well as active service dogs that assist veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Once admitted into the program, each dog receives a $300 credit every year for the rest of its life to help cover veterinary expenses like wellness and emergency visits, vaccines, prescription medications, food and treats.

Take the Itch Instinct Quiz

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