Pets with Allergies in the Lowcountry

We’ve all known someone with allergies to pets, but how many pets have allergies in the lowcountry?

While our friends, family, and neighbors can tell us after a sneezing or coughing fit that they are allergic to dogs or cats, often with our animals, the signs can seem almost insignificant.

Each day our cats and dogs spend some time scratching behind their ears, licking their paws, or leaving their hair and fur, well, everywhere. So, how can we tell if those are problems, or just their way?


Just like humans, many allergies present with sneezing, runny eyes, and itchiness. More severe allergies may even present with hives, red, inflamed skin, constant licking, swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps.

Most often these symptoms are signs of seasonal or environmental allergies. 

Along with diarrhea, and vomiting, chronic ear infections, itchiness, poor skin and coat, and foot infections can be signs of food allergies in your pets. 

Cats can also present with a skin condition called atopic dermatitis as a reaction to allergies. Your cat can develop skin sores, scabbing, hair loss, and redness with this condition.


There are different options for testing depending on your animal and their symptoms. The first step is almost always to check your animal for fleas and parasites.

Fleas contribute to most pet allergies and by eliminating the parasite, many times it will alleviate the symptoms. 

For other environmental allergies, pollen, ragweed, mold, etc. intradermal allergy testing may be in order. A small patch of fur will be removed, and much like allergy testing for people, small amounts of the various agents will be injected and marked to check for reaction. 

In rare cases blood-based allergy testing may be considered. Blood-based testing can only determine inhalant and parasite allergies. The results often don’t isolate the exact origin of the allergen.

Food based allergies can often be determined by conducting food trials or elimination diets. Even though you may not have changed the treats or foods that your pet is getting, the manufacturer may have added ingredients, flavorings, or preservatives that don’t agree with your animal.



With fleas, in particular, your vet will first treat your dog after. The important thing is to make sure that your house is treated as well. Flea pupae can lay dormant for up to six months in your carpets and upholstery. 

Once the initial threat is eliminated, your vet will probably recommend a regular treatment plan for your pet. 


Once your vet determines what allergy your animal is dealing with, they may prescribe medication, supplements, or special shampoos and conditioners for your pet. 

Not only can your pets develop allergies to outside substances, Cats in particular can be allergic to certain perfumes and cleaners as well. Let your vet know what cleaners you are using and ask for recommendations.


The main treatment plan for food allergies is to develop a Food Elimination Plan. This should always be done with your vet to ensure that once the plan is concluded your vet can advise you on the best course for your pet based on their health, age, breed, and the symptoms they were exhibiting. 

With dogs it’s also important that your vet is able to determine if there is an actual allergy or if they are exhibiting food intolerance. These are two separate issues and are treated separately as well. 

Almost 10% of dogs suffer from food allergies and one in five cats suffer from allergies. So, pay attention to that scratching, that shedding, and the food in their bowls and give us a call here in the Lowcountry, at (843) 580-6209 to get your pet back on track.