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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

A Closer Look at Indoor Environmental Pet Allergies

An orange cat scratching itself

Simply put, dealing with allergies is no fun. To make matters worse, the initial signs of allergies in pets can be confusing. Instead of sneezing, runny eyes, and hay fever, a pet’s allergies are usually expressed dermatologically.

These allergic responses can be cause by either their food or by allergens they are exposed to in their environment. Indoor environmental pet allergies can be especially frustrating to deal with because they can occur at any time of the year.

Understanding and managing triggers can go a long way toward providing relief for your pet.

Not Respiratory

Indoor environmental pet allergies are commonly triggered by allergens found in most homes. Pollen, dust mite feces, dust, dander, wool, cotton, mold spores, chemicals, and other airborne allergens can cause a skin condition called atopic dermatitis. Skin and ear infections, as well as other health complications, can eventually occur along with:

  • Extreme scratching of the paws, armpits, ears, mouth, belly, and eyes
  • Inflamed skin that may be hot to the touch
  • Hair loss
  • Strong odor
  • Scaly, flaky, or greasy skin

Indoor environmental pet allergies can be miserable for an animal to combat without intervention or support.

Immune Response

When a pet is allergic to certain environmental allergens, their immune system is reacting to something that otherwise wouldn’t trigger a response. Their skin becomes itchy and inflamed, and they may even start to pull out their hair. Trauma and inflammation of the skin can lead to secondary yeast or bacterial infections.

Handling Indoor Environmental Pet Allergies

We are committed to helping pet owners figure out what’s triggering their pet’s allergies. This may involve testing and medication to attain a positive outcome.

Allergy testing helps us identify what’s causing the allergic response. Intradermal skin testing entails injecting very small amounts of potential allergens (such as pollen, mold, grass, etc.) into the superficial skin layers. Pets do not feel any pain or discomfort because the test is conducted after they receive a mild sedative/analgesic.

Measuring the allergic response to the pure allergen under the skin is what helps us understand what’s going on.

Connecting the Dots

Once we know more about triggers in a pet’s environment, we may attempt desensitization through allergy shots or oral allergy therapy.

Antibiotics, antihistamines, steroids, antifungals, topical medications, and more can significantly ease pet allergies.

The Long View

Allergens, like mold, can be present year round. However, when pets spend more time indoors during the winter months, their sensitivity can skyrocket.

Pet owners never want their best friends to suffer, but because indoor environmental pet allergies can be so hard to pin down many pets don’t get help right away. Take care to watch your pet closely for even subtle shifts in behavior. If you notice that they are excessively licking at certain areas, biting at their skin, and generally displaying discomfort, it’s time to address your concerns.