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What to Do With Allergies in Pets

 Submitted by Michael Adams on November 27, 2009

A hacking and coughing cat or a dog, whoís scratching more than usual may not be your everyday ordinary pet behavior. A lot of times, for the want of information, we are not able to identify our petsí needs. They cannot tell us what their problems are, but as a sensitive and responsible pet owner, it is your responsibility to understand your petís body language, just as you would with a baby.

Just like people, pets too suffer from various allergies. If your pets are scratching themselves raw, are coughing and sneezing, or if their eyes are watery, it means that everything is not right with them. Hairballs, infections and parasites are your first guess when you see your pet uncomfortable.

However, more often than not, your pet is suffering from an allergy, which could be severe. The causes, symptoms, and the treatments for most of these allergies are very similar to humans. There are three types of allergies in pets. They are contact allergy, airborne-inhalant allergy and ingestion allergy. Letís take a closer look at all three of them: Contact allergens: Usually, your pet wonít think twice about roaming in a thicket populated with poison oak or other plants which cause allergies. A romp in such a thicket and your pet carries back home chemicals from the plants all over it. Other allergens may be mites that stay in your carpets or in your petís fur. A lot of pets are also allergic to chemicals that are found in the house or their own grooming products. Carpet fresheners, dust, and newsprint are some of the other common allergens. As soon as the pet comes in contact with these allergens, the skin may begin to change color, rashes begin to form, and there may be sores on the belly, face, underarms and chin. As soon as you see these symptoms it is best to take your pet to a vet. Just like in humans, it is difficult to ascertain the exact cause of the allergy. A skin patch test will enable a doctor to give a clearer diagnosis. You can then keep the allergens away from the reaches of your pet. Inhalant Allergies: Airborne allergies are the same for both humans and their pets. Dust, smoke, pollen, mold, or even kitty litter are all airborne allergens that can cause allergies in your pets. Coughing, hacking, sneezing, sniffing and watery eyes are all symptoms of airborne allergies in cats. Dogs experience skin problems with increased scratching and chewing of their own skin. Ingested allergens: Found in your petsí foods, these allergens are usually not the added preservatives, colors or other chemicals but specific food products like grains, meats and dairy products. If you find that your pet has an allergic reaction around the mouth it should be taken to a vet immediately so that antihistamines can be administered.
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