What are Kitty Litter Allergies?
Some people develop a little tickle in their throat or need to sneeze right after changing the litter box. You may not realize it, but your dog may feel the same way. It does not matter if your dog has always been around a litter box without any symptoms, allergies can develop over time. If you notice your dog sneezing, has a runny nose, coughing, or anything related, it would be a good idea to take your dog to the veterinarian’s for a checkup. Once it is confirmed he is suffering from an allergy, treatment can begin and the recovery process can be started.
Dogs can have similar allergies as humans and may even suffer the same symptoms. Having a dog sensitive to kitty litter is not uncommon. If you believe your dog may have an allergy to kitty litter, consult with your veterinarian.
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Symptoms of Kitty Litter Allergies in Dogs
Each dog can develop different types of allergies to kitty litter and they can manifest in different ways. Allergy symptoms your dog may develop include:
- Skin reaction
- Respiratory issues
- Watery nose
- Watery eyes
Your dog can slowly develop an allergy to a littler you have used for years without prior issues or he may show immediate symptoms of an allergy right away.
There are all different types of kitty litters out there.
- Clumping clay litters
- Non-clumping clay litters
- Recycled paper
- Silica gel crystals
- Walnut shells
Every owner has their preference as to which cat litter they use. However, if you discover your current litter is causing your dog health issues, be open to trying a new one.
Causes of Kitty Litter Allergies in Dogs
If your dog has allergies, it is his body’s way of protecting itself from something it thinks will harm it. While the item in question is actually harmless, the body doesn’t recognize it as such. The body finds it dangerous and mounts a protective response to the threat. Many of the kitty litters used today send up airborne particles when disturbed. These particles can irritate your dog’s system and lead to an allergic response.
Diagnosis of Kitty Litter Allergies in Dogs
If your dog is having a skin reaction, the veterinarian may take a skin scraping sample to verify it is not some sort of parasite or bacterial overgrowth. If your dog is suffering from watery eyes or any eye related symptom, the veterinarian may perform a Schirmer’s tear test or perform fluorescein staining to check for other causes of eye symptoms.
Your veterinarian may also perform basic blood work consisting of a complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel to rule out an infection or other possible cause. A radiograph may be taken if your dog is having respiratory issues, wheezing, or coughing. This will allow the veterinarian to get a good look at his lungs and therefore rule out other possible causes.
Treatment of Kitty Litter Allergies in Dogs
The symptoms your dog is experiencing will determine his course of treatment.
If your dog is experiencing respiratory issues, get him to a veterinarian immediately. If your dog is experiencing breathing difficulties, your veterinarian may start your dog on oxygen via flow-by or place them in an oxygen cage. If your dog is experiencing severe swelling, the veterinarian may have to intubate him and maintain oxygen administration via intubation until he stabilizes.
If your dog is suffering from itchy skin, the veterinarian may administer a medication to help ease the itching sensation until the allergen is removed and your dog feels relief. An antihistamine or steroid may be prescribed to help with this as well as the other symptoms your dog may be experiencing.
Recovery of Kitty Litter Allergies in Dogs
Once you discover the source of the allergen and remove it from your dog’s environment, all symptoms should subside. Any type of coughing, snoring, or wheezing should stop once any swelling goes down. All other symptoms should subside once the litter is no longer in the area. It would be beneficial to your dog if you properly clean the vicinity the kitty litter was located to ensure removal of any remaining allergens.
There may be some long term effects your dog experiences, but the severity of symptoms should decline once the source has been removed. If you notice your dog developing any of these symptoms, take a minute to consider if you changed anything is his environment recently. It is easy to forget about kitty litter affecting your dog since it is the cat that uses it, but it can actually affect him quite a bit. Some dogs are more sensitive than others; if your dog develops any symptoms, contact your veterinarian. The sooner you seek veterinary care for him, the sooner he will recover.