Arthritis
Allergies
Anxiety
Ear Infections
Flea & Tick
Heart Problems
Heartworm
Hot Spots
Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism
Incontinence
Shedding Control
Skin Irritation
Tear Stains
Urinary Infections
Vomiting/Diarrhea
Weight Management
Worms
See All A-Z
Arthritis
Allergies
Anxiety
Ear Infections
Flea & Tick
Heart Problems
Heartworm
Hot Spots
Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism
Incontinence
Shedding Control
Skin Irritation
Tear Stains
Urinary Infections
Vomiting/Diarrhea
Weight Management
Worms
See All A-Z
Breath Fresheners
Chews & Treats
Rinses & Water Additives
Toothpaste & Toothbrushes
Ear Cleansers
Ear Infection Remedies
Ear Mite Treatments
Antibiotic Anti-Infective
Artificial Tears & Lubricants
Eye Inflammation
Glaucoma
Tear Stain Removers
Flea & Tick Prevention
Heartworm & Flea Control
Home Flea & Tick Treatment
Pet Flea & Tick Control
Canned Pet Food
Dry Pet Food
Raw Pet Food
Adult Pet Food
Hypoallergenic
Glucose Balance
Digestive Health & Support
Grain Free
Joint Support
Kitten Food
Puppy Food
Senior Pet Food
Skin Support
Small Breed Dog Food
Weight Loss & Management
Treats
Joint Pain
Joint Supplements
Lifting Harness
Orthopedic Beds
Steps & Ramps for Mobility
Allergy Relief
Antibiotics
Antifungal
Anxiety
Asthma
Compound Medications
Cough Relief
Digestive Health & Enzymes
Diuretics
High Blood Pressure
Hormonal Endocrine
Insulin & Glucose Balance
Motion Sickness & Nausea
Pain
Seizure Disorder
Thyroid
Urinary Tract & Kidneys
Wormers
Beds
Bowls & Elevated Feeders
Carriers
Car Seats & Pet Carriers
Cat Litter
Cesar Millan Training Aids
Crates & Kennels
Designer Dog Carriers
Drinking Fountains
Elizabethan Collars
First Aid
Furniture
Furniture Protectors
Gates
Grooming Tools
Invisible Dog Fences
Leashes & Harnesses
Life Jackets
Outdoor Cat Pens
Shampoos
Stain Removers
Steps & Ramps
Strollers
Toys
Training Aids
Treats
Antibacterials
First Aid
Fish Oils & Omega 3
Fly Control
Grooming Tools
Hairball Remedies
Itch Relief
Ringworm Treatments
Shampoos
Shedding Control
Skin Care Supplements
Skin Medications
Antioxidants
Calcium
Dietary
Digestive Enzymes
Fish Oils & Omega 3
Liver Support
Multivitamins
Potassium
Senior Support
Whole Food Supplements
   
 
 
 
Skin and Coat Info
 
Allergies Info
 
Skin and Coat Blog Topics
PetMeds Vet Blog with Dr. Dym Dr. Michael Dym
Holistic & Conventional Veterinarian
"Over 19 years of caring for the well-being of pets"
Visit his Ask the Vet blog.
 
 

Sign Up for Pet Health Articles & More

Email:

 
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Allergies in Dogs and Cats

  
 

What are Allergies in Dogs and Cats?


Allergies in dogs and cats occur when the immune system overreacts to something that isn't really a threat. For example, reacting to peanuts, air-borne pollen, or laundry detergent—none of which should cause harm. The material that causes an allergic reaction is called an antigen. Antigens are usually proteins. The term "allergen" is often used rather than the term antigen, but these two terms are slightly different. Antigen refers to any substance causing allergies, and allergen refers to ingested or air-borne substances causing allergies.

It helps to group antigens into three categories and to realize that your pet can be allergic to materials from more than one category:

  • What your pet eats (foods, additives, preservatives, dyes, food storage mites);
  • What your pet breathes (cigarette smoke, pollens, perfumes, particles released from carpet underlays, cat dander, decks treated with a preservative); and
  • What your pet's skin comes into contact with (dust mites, fleas, soaps, wool).

Pet allergies are additive so that the more antigens your pet is exposed to, the more severe the symptoms. For example, pets with allergies to beef often develop more extreme symptoms in the spring when surrounded with high levels of pollens.

  
Dogs and cats can have food allergies as well as allergies to pollen, dust mites, soaps, dyes, and wool, just like humans.
  
Key Facts of Allergies in Dogs and Cats
  • The single most common cause of allergies in dogs and cats is fleas.
  • 50% of allergic dogs have ear infections, and this may be their only symptom.
  • 66% of all dog food allergies are caused by beef, dairy, and wheat.
  • 90% all cat food allergies are caused by beef, dairy, and fish.
  • Allergies are one of the most common causes of skin disease in dogs and cats.
  

  
 
  

  

What Causes Pet Allergies?

Your pet's immune system overreacting causes him or her to have allergies. The immune system protects pets from foreign material and should react strongly to threats such as bacteria, but should not react strongly to materials such as cedar, wheat, and dust mites.

Allergy symptoms are caused when the immune system's white blood cells (WBC) sense an allergen and stimulate histamine release. Histamine dilates capillaries so that fluid leaks from the blood vessels and the area becomes hot, swollen, puffy, and itchy. Allergic symptoms can be stopped by blocking WBC or by blocking histamine with antihistamines (Benadryl) and steroids (such as Prednisone).

Common Pet Allergies

The most common cause of pet allergies is fleas. After fleas, pets are commonly allergic to beef, dairy, wheat, fish, pollens, eggs, yeast, chicken, pork, lamb, corn, soybeans, and rice.

Which Pets are Most at Risk for Allergies?

Among the dog breeds predisposed to develop allergies, are an unusually high number of retrievers and terriers. For example, all Labrador Retrievers—black, yellow, and chocolate—have a tendency to develop food allergies. In a recent study of 30,000 dogs, the following were among the most likely to develop allergies: Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, English Setters, Irish Setters, Boston Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Fox Terriers, Sealyham Terriers, Scottish Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, and Wheaton Terriers. In addition, Bulldogs, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzers, Pugs, and Shar Peis are prone to allergies.

Young and middle-aged pets have the greatest problem with allergies, and senior pets, the least. In senior pets, white blood cells are less efficient at storing and releasing histamine so that histamine-mediated allergic reactions decrease with age.

Do Cats Have Allergies?

Yes. Cats are prone to allergies but we have not clearly identified which breeds have the most significant problems; however, many suspect Siamese breeds lead the list.

  

  
 
Max's Tip: Although allergy medications are available, we recommend first trying a natural remedy such as Yucca Intensive on your pet, or an Omega 3 fatty acid.  
  

 

What is Atopy?

Atopy is the inherited tendency to be allergic. Pets that have atopy are called atopic. "Atopy" means "unusual reaction," and it refers to the immune system's excessive response to unthreatening materials.

Atopic pets tend to be allergic to air-borne materials, house dust mites, molds, and environmental allergens. Some atopic pets are even allergic to human dander. Which allergies your atopic pet develops are determined by what is in your pet's environment. For example, if your atopic pet lives in a dry climate in a home with nonsmokers, he or she may be symptom free, but if your pet visits the hot, steamy climate rich with pollen and mold, he or she may develop allergies.

Often atopic pets begin by having seasonal symptoms and progress to having year-round symptoms. This is different from symptoms seen in food-allergic pets who do not show seasonal tendencies.

About 10% of dogs are atopic. Cats are also atopic, but we have not identified the number with this problem. We do know that the number of dogs and cats with atopy is increasing, just as atopy is increasing in people.

There is an association between being atopic and developing asthma.

  

  
Medical Terms for Allergies in Dogs and Cats Medical Terms for Allergies in Dogs and Cats: atopy, allergen, antigen, IgE (immune globulin E), serum, pruritus
  

  
More Information on Allergies in Dogs and Cats
  
 

   
 
 
   
Help / Customer Service
My Account
PetMeds® Sites
PetMeds® Programs
Our 100% Guarantee
About Us
Contact Us
FAQs
PetMeds® Help
Privacy Policy
Printable Order Form
Site Map
Testimonials
Vet Directory
Request a Catalog

Home
Login
Email Preferences
Reorder
Easy refill
Track my order
My Account Page
My pet has passed away
PetMeds® Blog
PetHealth 101®
PetMeds® Charitable Causes
1-800-PetMeds® Careers
PetMeds® Investor Relations
pet meds
Pet Meds Photos
Pet Meds News
Pet Health Articles
Affiliate Program
Corporate Program
Shelter & Rescue Program
 
Join our Social Network
 
    PetMeds® on Facebook
    PetMeds® on Twitter
    PetMeds® on YouTube
    PetMeds® Google+
    PetMeds® LinkedIn
Copyright © 2014 PetMed Express, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
   
 
Vet-VIPPSVETERINARY-VERIFIED INTERNET PHARMACY PRACTICE SITES(CM) Online Veterinary Pharmacy Services
 
1800PetMeds.com has earned Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites(CM) (Vet-VIPPS(CM)) accreditation through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®).
Verisign Secured Click for the BBB Business Review of this Pharmacies in Pompano Beach FL 1800PetMeds.com is rated ELITE by STELLAService.