Dog and Cat Allergy Treatments Compared

Allergies are common pet problems that may affect both your cat and your dog. Dog and cat allergy treatments are typically dependent upon the severity and type of the allergy afflicting your pet. In general, your veterinarian will likely prescribe both lifestyle adjustments and allergy medications to treat your pet's allergy symptoms.

Limit Exposure to Dust and Pollen

For dog and cat skin allergies that are based on pollens, dust and other particulates, it is helpful to limit your pet's exposure to the affecting allergens. Keep your pet out of dusty parts of the house like basements and attics, and separate him when you are vacuuming or dusting. Ensure that your lawn is freshly mowed and that your pet with pollen allergies spends little time outside in areas where the pollen levels are high. In the case of pet food allergies, eliminate any offending foods from your pet's diet to ensure that they do not suffer prolonged allergic reactions.

Your veterinarian may prescribe allergy medications in any of the following categories:


Antihistamines are drugs used to treat allergy symptoms in both humans and animals. Typically, antihistamines have a significantly higher success rate in cats than in dogs. Dogs tend to suffer a wider range of more severe side effects to antihistamine drugs, while cats experience limited adverse effects. Some of the most common side effects associated with antihistamines include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and excessive eating or drinking. Different animals respond in unique ways to antihistamines, and it is important to consult with your veterinarian before and during an antihistamine treatment program.

Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are used to treat issues involving pet hair and skin. Used alone or in combination with other allergy treatment programs, fatty acids can improve the luster and quality of your pet's coat significantly. Omega-3 fatty acids have minimal side effects but require long-term treatment programs. Results vary considerably, with some animals experiencing a complete cure while others display little to no change in allergy symptoms. Fatty acids are rarely if ever used as a sole treatment plan for pet allergies.

Topical Treatment Options

Pets suffering from skin and coat conditions related to allergies may benefit from topical allergy medicines. Veterinary offices carry a selection of shampoos, soaps and ointments designed to treat skin and hair problems associated with allergies. Topical treatments tend to provide significant relief from allergy symptoms, but may only be used for short periods of time without running the risk of serious adverse effects.

Alternate Treatment Options

Hyposensitization and steroid treatment are less common allergy relief regimens. Your veterinarian will recommend these options in severe cases or after prior treatment programs have been unsuccessful. They are more expensive and carry higher risks than other treatment plans, but they have high success rates.

If your pet suffers from allergies related to particulates, food or other allergens, speak with your veterinarian about the proper treatment plan for your animal. In many cases, a certain amount of experimentation is necessary, and it may take several attempts to find an allergy treatment that works well without causing adverse effects. Additionally, many pets benefit from a combination of allergy treatments. With careful attention from you and your vet, your allergic pet can live a normal, healthy life.