These days more and more cats and dogs have starting itching, scratching and chewing at themselves, just like people pets can have environmental and food allergies. They can damage their skin, and keep you and themselves up all night scratching at their itchy skin. Treating allergies is something that takes time. A food change means sticking to the new food without any treats are mistakes for some time to ensure that it’s working. Medications that can be given may start to help the itch but will need to be kept up with. It can seem discouraging when you don’t see immediate help for your pet right away.
The long sleepless nights they are up itching and licking at themselves can be frustrating. It is important to find the reason for the itch (whether it’s environmental allergies, food allergies or even fleas). Pets can itch if they have fleas and or are allergic to fleas. Flea control can sometimes be all that is needed to control itching. Flea control such as Bravecto can be given year-round to ensure even on the warmer winter days they are not getting fleas.
If it is a food allergy and a food trial needs to be started, we will switch them to a different protein as it is often the protein that they are allergic too (e.g. Chicken or Beef). If it is an environmental allergy, it is hard to control their exposure to the allergens, and medications will need to be sued to keep itching at bay. Avoiding swimming and hiking in peak allergy seasons, as well as hypoallergenic bedding and gentle detergents in the home. If we are going outside, then we need to be sure to clean skin folds, ears, armpits and feet after a walk. Although allergies can be a long-term condition, there is hope with patience. Time and willingness to find relief can help our pets live an itch-free life!
Written by Clarkson Village Animal Hospital