No More Itch: Managing Your Pet's Allergies

Treating the Problem

If the itching doesn’t disappear with a good flea-control program and a hypoallergenic diet, that’s a clue that we’re dealing with an environmentalallergy. Those substances can’t be controlled with human intervention short of moving your pet to a different locale or encasing him in a plastic bubble.

For mild itchiness caused by environmental allergies, we may try antihistamines (without decongestant) first.Frequent bathing with soothing shampoos may help some pets.For more severe cases, veterinarians may recommend other medications, such as steroids, to help relieve the itch.Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet over-the-counter medication, though.

Dogs and cats can also be tested to determine exactly what substances set them off. A veterinary dermatologist can then create an allergy shot to try to reduce the pet's reaction to those substances. Allergy shots can help relieve itchiness in 70 to 75 percent of pets treated, but we may need to adjust the treatment with seasonal or climatic changes.Pets with food allergies will need to remain on a hypoallergenic diet for the rest of their lives.