By Karin Krisher
Pet allergies are no fun. And spring should be about fun, the outdoors, and feeling carefree. So when fleabites and flea allergies grab your dog or cat by the collar, it can put a damper on your mood and your ability to play outside. How do you identify these common pet allergies, and what can you, a responsible pet owner, do to help?
The first piece to any pet allergy care plan is always prevention. If the animal isn’t exposed to bites in the first place, the allergic reaction won’t occur. To that end, Vetri-Repel products can work wonders for making your animal invisible to those pesky fleas.
But what about when your cat or dog does actually get one of those little black specks hopping? Telling the difference between a fleabite and a flea allergy really depends on the severity of the allergy. You might see a bite, see your animal scratch a few times, and hear nothing more. Or, you might see skin problems develop that give you pause, like excessive scratching, flaking, redness or hot spots, or general indicators of dermatitis like hair loss.
If you do experience the latter, it’s likely your animal is experiencing an allergic reaction to the proteins in the flea’s saliva. The true difference? The fleabite is irritating because it’s a bite; the allergy is irritating because of the animal’s immune system.
Taking care of that allergy immediately is a must; if left unchecked, open sores and scabs can develop, along with secondary infections.
Common Pet Allergies: How to Cope
First up, of course, is a trip to the vet. This trip will usually end with a recommendation for the future of your pet’s flea allergy dermatitis. Almost always, some sort of treatment will be necessary—as well as a follow-up visit! Often, vets will prescribe anti-inflammatories to relieve the immediate itch.
If you can’t get in to see the veterinarian immediately, an over the counter flea shampoo or ointment can soothe temporarily.
To prevent flea re-infestation, it will be necessary to clean your home, washing all bedding and carpets where fleas can hide. Wash your dog’s leash, your cat’s collar and your couch covers if you have them. If all that fails, you can always “flea-bomb,” though we recommend doing so with an exterminator’s supervision. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on your pets and maintain a flea prevention program that works for them. It’s the only way!
Has your animal ever dealt with the most common of all the pet allergies? How did you address their needs? Tell us in a Facebook comment!