Banfield Pet Hospital recently conducted and released a 2018 State of Pet Health Report. The report explores the science behind skin allergies in pets, shedding light on flea, environmental and food allergies. Surprisingly, the latter isn’t as much to blame as some pet owners might believe. According to Banfield’s research, food allergies affect only around 0.2 percent of dogs and 0.1 percent of cats. This means that other causes shuld be further explored.
The report also states that flea allergies have risen over the past ten years. This includes a 12% increase in dogs and a 67% increase in cats. The data also reports that cats are twice as likely as dogs to be found with fleas. However, fleas exist in all types of weather on both outdoor and indoor pets in all 50 states, regardless of season.
Environmental allergens, unsurprisingly, varied by region and climate. However, many are found in a typical pet owner’s home. These allergens include pollen, dander, molds, and various cleaning solutions. Similar research found additional evidence linking genetic to the development of environmental allergies in dogs, but this research was not peer reviewed. The most commonly affected breeds include golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, cocker spaniels, boxers, French bulldogs, and West Highland white terriers.
The Banfield study also found that 30% of food-allergic dogs and cats are found to have an additional allergic skin condition. This suggests that food-allergic pets are more prone to skin infections; dogs are six times more likely to develop a bacterial skin infection, whereas cats are around fifteen times more likely.