Studies estimate that as many as one in seven American dogs and cats suffer from some kind of allergy. While humans tend to have upper respiratory reactions to allergies, cats and dogs tend to exhibit skin problems as a result of allergies. Pet allergies can be triggered by a number of things. Common allergy triggers include exposure to fleas; inhaled allergens, such as grass, mold and pollens; foods; and topical allergens, such as an allergy to wool or cotton.
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Flea dermatitis, the most common pet allergy problem, can be cured by eliminating the fleas. This is done most effectively by using monthly, Flea preventives such as Activyl, Comfortis, Nexgard and Bravecto. Our veterinarians may also prescribe antihistamines or other medicines to control your cats’ itchy skin while the flea medications take effect. It’s important to treat all pets in the household at the same time for fleas, even if the other pets have no skin issues, so that the fleas don’t just jump to the other pets.
Hives can be a cause of your dogs’ itchy skin. These raised welts are a common reaction to insect bites and stings as well as topical agents, such as flea shampoos or accidental exposure to insecticides. Hives generally respond well to antihistamines, such as Benadryl, administered under a veterinarian’s supervision. If the hives are caused by a topical agent, a thorough bath in warm, soapy water will also help.