Saturday, May 30, 2009

Does Your Pet Have Allergies?

By Ruthie Bently

Did you know that dogs and cats can have allergies? Many people don’t realize that, just like people, their pets can be allergic to numerous things. Does your dog scratch at its ears a lot, even after you’ve ascertained they don’t have ear mites? Does it look like your dog has developed a case of acne or blackheads? This may not just be a dirty face; they could be allergic to their food bowl, or the food it contains. Allergies can also cause hot spots, skin rashes and hair loss. Your dog could actually have a case of irritable bowel syndrome, which can be attributed to a food allergy.

Most food allergies are caused by corn, soy and wheat products used in pet foods. By eliminating these items from your pet’s diet you can often relieve the symptoms of the allergies you are seeing. Even if you have been feeding the same food for several years, your pet can still develop an intolerance to what they are eating. CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods makes two grain free formulas for dogs, which are formulated with a ratio of 80% meat proteins to 20% fruits and vegetables. None of the CANIDAE dog and cat formulas are made with any corn, wheat or soy products, and can help animals that may be allergic to what they are eating.

Signs of allergies to plastic can be manifested in a case of “dog or kitty acne,” which looks like pimples or blackheads on your pet’s chin or lower face. If your pet is allergic to their plastic food bowl, change to a ceramic or stainless steel one, which has less chance of causing an allergy. I prefer the stainless steel bowls myself, as they are easy to keep clean, and they are usually unbreakable. If you choose to use a ceramic bowl, remember that they will break if dropped, so if your kids are helping fill the food or water dish, you may want to get one they can handle easily.

Another thing many people may not realize is that our pets are coming down with more environmental allergies than they used to. I had a client with two Labrador Retrievers, and after putting cedar closets in their house, they found out their Labs were allergic to them. Cedar is great for keeping insects away from clothing, and cedar shavings have been used for years in dog beds. However, if your dog begins sneezing or snorting and doesn’t want to use their bed, they may have developed an allergy to the cedar shavings inside if that is what you use to fill it with. What may smell pleasing to us may not be so pleasing to our pets, as their noses are so much closer to the source of the odor.

By considering our environment and how it affects our pet’s way of life, we can make it a more pleasant experience for us all. After all, as members of our families, don’t they deserve the best we can provide for them?

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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