Itchy skin, chronic ear infections, and GI upset are just a few of the things our pets with allergies suffer from. Dr. Wagner at Animals R Special New Albany sees many patients with these symptoms and more. Pet allergies can be frustrating and hard to treat, so here are the top 3 reasons why your pet has allergies and what you can do about it:

Food Allergies: 

Food allergies can take months or even years for your pet to develop and most pets actually develop an allergy to the protein source in the food. Pets with food allergies can develop GI upset ( vomiting, diarrhea ), itchy skin with secondary bacterial infections, and ear infections. Some pets can also have hair loss from chronic scratching and licking. Food Allergies are difficult to diagnose because it commonly mimics other skin diseases.

How to treat it:

The most common way to treat food allergies is to try an elimination diet. An elimination diet is where you eliminate the protein source likely causing the reaction (chicken, beef etc) and switch to a limited ingredient diet with a protein source your pet has never had. This also includes treats and other sources of food your pet gets.

Before making ANY dietary changes, consulting with your veterinarian is a must. Dr. Wagner can give expert insight on how to safely transition your pet to an appropriate diet.

Environmental Allergies:

Environmental allergies develop later in life and affect a large majority of our patients. Pets with environmental allergies are allergic to various weeds,pollens,dust mites, and trees. Pets with environmental allergies have symptoms that can come and go with the seasons and weather. Symptoms include itchy skin with secondary infections, hair loss, flaky skin, rashes, ear infections, and anal gland issues. Some pets will even chew and lick their feet.

How to treat

Environmental allergies are also difficult to treat because there could be multiple allergies in the environment that are hard to eliminate. There are many ways we can help your pet with their allergies. Dr. Wagner feels the most important place to start, is to address any secondary skin infections, ear infections or flare ups. There are also multiple medications like Apoquel that help eliminate itching and desensitize your pet to allergies they are exposed to. Sometimes medicated baths can also help with itching and keep skin infections under control.

Allergy testing is available for pets with environmental allergies. Allergy testing is not for every pet, as it can be a long process for testing and results. Once results are final, allergy shots can be specifically made for your pet, but can take at least a year to truly desensitize. Allergy shots are often used together with our other medications and baths to help resolve symptoms faster.

Acute Allergies

Acute allergies happen very quickly and are often caused by things in your pet’s environment. Fleas, spider bites, bee stings,exposure to irritating detergents or other chemicals can cause acute allergic reactions. Symptoms can include minor swelling (mostly around the face) rashes, itchy skin and general skin irritation.

How to treat

Although most acute allergic reactions require a visit to the vet, they are easily treated and subside quickly. In most situations an antihistamine like Benadryl will do the trick.

Before giving your pet ANY medication, a quick call to Dr. Wagner is crucial to ensure proper dosage and safety.


Pet allergies can be frustrating and time consuming, but be sure to know we are here to help and answer all the questions you may have about your pet.  Think your pet has allergies? Have questions for Dr. Wagner? > schedule now < and let us stop the itching!