Allergies are one of the most common issues affecting our pets today. Causes range from fleas, food, environmental issues, or direct contact. Symptoms can include itchiness, red skin, hair loss, scabbing, ear infections, red bumps, and even vomiting and diarrhea. Secondarily, these can lead to lethargy, inappetence, changes in thirst, and general sickness. If you are concerned your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment to have them examined.

Allergy Management:

Diagnosing and treating allergies can be a somewhat involved and lengthy process, but it can be very successful and vastly improve the quality of your pet’s life. We can develop an appropriate diagnostic plan to work towards the root cause and treat your pet accordingly. Our veterinarians are well-versed in this process and can help your pet achieve this improved quality of life.

Types of Allergies:


Fleas are the number one cause of allergies in our pets. These little parasites bite your pet and feed off their blood. In susceptible animals, this bite can cause a severe allergic reaction. Luckily, fleas are also the most preventable form of allergy. All pets should be protected against fleas year-round! Even though people feel there is a ‘flea season’ in California, these parasites do not disappear in the winter. Protection is best found in monthly products administered topically or orally. Your veterinarian can discuss this at your visit, choosing the product that best suits your pet and their risk factors. If a problem has arisen, we can also help guide you on dealing with a flea infestation. Remember, what you see on your pet is just the tip of the iceberg!


Just like people, dogs and cats can develop allergies to food. These usually manifest as diarrhea, vomiting, or itchy skin. The most common cause of food allergies is the meat protein source; however, other ingredients may also be culprits. These will often be year-round symptoms but are not exclusive to food allergies. It is important to note that even if your pet has not changed food, they still can develop an allergy to a food they have been on for a long time. Our veterinarians can speak with you about dietary and elimination trials to identify potential causes and develop a long-term strategy to manage your pet’s food allergy and improve your pet’s quality of life.


Atopy is a term used for animals that suffer from environmental allergies. These pets may exhibit more significant symptoms at certain times of the year, but it may be year-round. Symptoms may also be mild to severe. Environmental allergies include grasses, pollens, trees, dust mites, and storage mites. Diagnosis can be difficult and is often done after parasitic causes and food allergy causes have been ruled out. There are blood tests that can be sent to special laboratories to evaluate the root cause of the allergy. Potentially, these results can lead to a series of shots to build tolerance to these allergens. Often, we cannot cure atopy, but it can be managed through medications and lifestyle changes. Our veterinarians are trained to guide you through diagnosing and managing all your pets’ allergies.


A less common version of allergies is that pets appear with a rash after contact with something they are allergic to. This can include a new dog bed or sheet with a material they are allergic to. For example, some dogs are allergic to cedar, which is commonly used as a filler in dog beds. In addition, pets can be allergic to certain laundry detergents, dryer sheets, or fabric softeners. Inquire with one of our veterinarians if you suspect this may be the case to develop a plan for relief and prevention.

Other Causes of Dermatitis

While most dermatitis cases are caused by allergies, there are also several other potential causes. These causes range from metabolic and immune-mediated diseases to mites and poor nutrition. These conditions can range from mild to life-threatening. As with allergic dermatitis, our veterinarians can help guide you through a diagnostic process to establish and treat your pet’s condition.

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