Seasonal Allergies in Pets

With spring coming, our thoughts tend to go to wondering what flowers to plant in the front flower bed, where to best view the Texas bluebonnets this year, and how to change up the inside of the house to look more light and airy, getting away from that winter feel.  But another thing that unfortunately wreaks havoc on many of us are those dreaded spring allergies.  Most aspects of the season are things we look forward to, as we can get out and enjoy the warmer weather, doing more activities outdoors.  But along with all of the spring fun, allergy sufferers have something to dread while they are having their outdoor fun.  They know that sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, and in general feeling miserable are the price they are going to have to pay.

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Pet Allergy Symptoms

Something you may not have thought of, though, is that our pets also can be bothered by seasonal allergies.  It’s a little harder to limit the time outdoors for our pets than it is for ourselves, but there are some things we can look for in our pets to ascertain if they are having trouble with the environment.  In an article written by veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker,

“according to a survey conducted by Novartis Animal Health, over half of pet owners aren’t aware their fuzzy family members can also spend the spring season feeling miserable thanks to pollens and other environmental allergens.”

There are some signs that can help us to evaluate if our pet does indeed have seasonal allergies.  One of the main symptoms you will notice is their skin becoming very itchy.  They will scratch much more than usual, and might chew on certain areas of their body.  Drs. Foster and Smith, DVM’s, in their article discussing “Allergies Signs and Symptoms” in pets describe the most common type of allergy in dogs and cats both.  This condition is known as Atopy.  “Pets who are allergic to spring tree pollen will show signs in April and May”, say the doctors. Signs of Atopy include :

“Chewing at the feet, constant licking of the flank (side) and groin area, rubbing of the face, inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections, recurrent hot spots in dogs and pinpoint facial scabbing in cats, and asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems (more likely in cats).”

Atopy is also seen as being labeled allergic dermatitis.  Hair loss and and open sores can even occur.  Respiratory problems don’t occur in pet allergies as often as they do with us, but they can develop a runny nose, watery eyes, a cough, and sneezing.  You may notice your pet rubbing himself against surfaces such as furniture or the carpet.  He’s trying to relieve his itchiness any way he can.

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Tips To Help Allergies In Pets

If you see some of these symptoms in your pet, and suspect that seasonal allergies might be the culprit, be sure your pet is seen by a veterinarian.  There are certainly things he can suggest or medicine he might want to prescribe if the allergy is bad enough.  In an CNN report by Morieka Johnson, many items are listed for your consideration when battling pesky allergies in your pet.  The article cites a good tip comes from Dr. Robert O. Schick of the Blue Pearl Pet Hospital,

“who suggests wiping your dogs’ paws with a cool towel to remove pollen residue or scheduling a weekly cool water bath.”

Your veterinarian can recommend a type of shampoo that is specific to treating these types of allergies.

Enjoy Spring!

So, while we certainly don’t want to limit our pets to all outdoor play, we can be alert to the symptoms of seasonal allergies in our pets.  This helps us to know when it’s best to get our friend to the vet to get some ideas on how to care for him, relieving his discomfort, so he can enjoy the spring season along with us!

And, if you need an Austin pet sitter or are looking for dog boarding in the Austin/Westlake Hills area, we would love for you to contact us at (512) 413-6592 or simply click here.  We look forward to hearing from you!

photo credit: That's the spot! via photopin (license)

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