For many people, springtime means runny noses and itchy eyes. But did you know that our pets are just as susceptible to seasonal allergies as us humans?
According to Dr. Karen Becker, seasonal environmental allergies are dangerous for pets because they can turn into year-round allergies with extreme symptoms. “The more your pet is exposed to the allergens he’s sensitive to, the more intense and long-lasting his allergic response becomes,” Becker explains.
Because these allergies in pets are so common, there’s a good chance your pet could be suffering. Here is a list of symptoms your pet may be displaying that indicates seasonal allergies and what you can do to help.
Biting and scratching.
One of the most common pet environmental allergy symptoms is itchiness. Scratching and biting are clues that something needs to be addressed, more than likely it’s a clue that your pet has allergies. Some common environmental allergens are:
- Flea saliva
Dog and cat allergies often take the form of skin irritation or inflammation. If your pet has allergies, they will scratch excessively and may gnaw at certain areas of the body. They may rub themselves against vertical surfaces like furniture, or against the carpet. As the itch-scratch cycle continues, your pet’s skin can become inflamed and tender. Other signs of allergic dermatitis include:
- Open sores on the skin, or hot spots
- Hair loss
- Skin with odor
- Flaky or scaly skin
Also related to allergy-induced itching and skin infection is hair loss and increased shedding. If your pet is scratching enough to prompt hair loss, it is definitely time to consult your vet.
While cats often lick their paws as a normal part of their grooming routine, constant paw licking is a common sign of allergies in dogs. Allergies can often cause irritation of the paw pads, causing a dog to lick excessively.
Ear infections can be a familiar issue in many pets. Oftentimes, repeated ear issues are related to allergies. Ear infections can be bothersome and painful for our pets, so if they are showing signs such as head shaking, waxy ears, an odor or redness it’s time to get them into your vet right away.
As with any type of allergy, diagnosis is a multi-faceted and complicated process. It can take several weeks to see improvement so it’s important to get into your pet into the doctor right away. In addition to a trip to your veterinarian some things you can do at home to help your pet include:
- Baths give immediate relief to an itchy pet and wash away the allergens on the coat and skin. Consult your vet on a quality hypoallergenic shampoo that works best for your pet.
- Foot soaks are also a great way to reduce the number of allergens your pet tracks into the house and spreads all over his or her indoor environment.
- Keep the areas of your home where your pet spends the most time as allergen-free as possible. Vacuum and clean floors and pet bedding frequently using simple, non-toxic cleaning agents.
- Fatty acid supplements can help soothe itchy and irritated skin, according to the NASC.
- Research natural remedies like tea tree oil, coconut oil, and oatmeal shampoo. If your vet gives the o.k., use them in addition to medications recommended by their veterinarian.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for allergies. However, there are things you can do to help your pet’s symptoms and keep the discomfort at bay. If your pet is displaying any of these symptoms, contact us today.