Allergies, Fleas, Ticks and Your Pet
Just like with humans, our four-legged friends can have serious reactions to a wide range of allergens in their food and environment. Keeping your pet away from these is the best way to prevent nasty allergic reactions, but there are a variety of things you can do to help reduce their discomfort and associated conditions.
What to Look For
Signs your pet may have an allergic reaction to fleas or ticks include:
- Red, dry, or irritated skin
- Excessive itching or scratching
- Hot spots
Adult ticks are often visible to the naked eye, so you may spot them on short-haired pets. But with longer-haired cats, it’s best to do a thorough inspection with a flea comb.
While allergies can be an uncomfortable result of flea or tick bites, both parasites can cause a host of other problems for your pet, including several fatal diseases. For more, see our flea and tick for cats and dogs section.
What Is It?
Pets are highly allergic to flea saliva. Just one bite can start your pet scratching. With exceptional jumping skills, these insects are capable of leaping vertically up to 7 inches to hop on a host to feed and lay their eggs. Females can lay up to 5,000 eggs (that’s a lot of fleas and lot of bites causing allergies) in a lifetime. For more on fleas, see our section on Fleas and Ticks.
While the tick bite can be relatively painless, as with fleas, your pet can have an intense allergy to tick saliva. And females can lay up to 1,000 eggs at a time. Adult ticks lay in wait in grass or bushes seeking to attach themselves to a new host. Like fleas, they prefer warmer climates. For more ticks, see our section on Fleas and Ticks.