When you hear “pet allergies” you may think about a person who is allergic to cat or dog dander. But did you know pets can also suffer from allergies? As the weather warms and spring blooms release pollen, many pets are especially feeling the discomfort of allergies this time of year. How can you identify if your pet has allergies and what should you do if you suspect your dog’s or cat’s allergies are acting up?
Here’s what your pet would love you to know about pet allergies:
“I Wish You Recognized My Symptoms of Allergies”
The signs of seasonal allergies can easily be overlooked. Especially since dog and cat allergies differ so greatly from human allergy symptoms. If you suspect your dog or cat has allergies, look for these signs:
Red, swollen eyes: Irritants and allergies can cause your pet to have itchy eyes. From your pet’s perspective, their eyes can feel dry and itchy or wet and drippy.
Eye and nasal discharge: Pets that inhale allergens can experience respiratory issues.
Itchy skin: allergens can both settle on the skin, causing it to become itchy, or sometimes the immune system creates histamines when an allergen is ingested.
Paw chewing: When pets walk through the grass or another plant they’re allergic to, they may wind up with itchy paws. This symptom can also be a side effect of anxiety, boredom, or a food allergy
Itchy ears: pollen, dust, and dander can settle in the ears, causing a rash or itchy sensation. If your pet scratches their ears a lot, it may also be a sign of ear mites, food allergies, or an ear infection.
Excessive grooming and rubbing along furniture: These behaviors can be a response to itchy skin.
“Do You Know The Most Common Causes of Seasonal Pet Allergies?”
While many seasonal allergens occur in the outdoors, some common allergens can be hidden within your home.
The most common seasonal allergens for pets include:
- Dust mites
- Flea saliva
- Cleaning products
“My Body’s Immune System is Going Haywire.”
For the most part, seasonal allergies occur when your pet inhales or touches something they have a sensitivity to. These substances are perceived by the immune system as dangerous invaders. In response to the invaders, the body’s immune system reacts, and more often, over-reacts. This results in rashes, upset stomach, stress, and just feeling pretty lousy for many pets.
“My Allergies Can Cause Secondary Issues”
Sometimes allergies are more than just itchy skin. A pet that scratches non-stop can develop abrasions, raw sores, and even hot spots. While these can be painful, they can also become life-threatening should your pet develop an infection. Additionally, the constant feeling of discomfort can lead your pet to not receive restful sleep, they may develop anxiety and/or depression, and they just don’t have as much fun day-to-day.
“You Can Help Me Feel Better.”
Luckily, pets don’t have to suffer from allergies and their side effects. There are many things pet parents can do to help their pets gain some relief from seasonal allergies.
The first thing we recommend is making an appointment to see us. We can help determine if your pet’s symptoms are the result of allergies or another issue. We can also tailor your pet’s treatment to their specific symptoms and even allergy.
In the meantime, if you suspect your pet has allergies you should:
- Wipe down their feet and coat with a damp towel before they come inside.
- Reduce airborne allergies and mold. Open those windows.
- Avoid walking your dog in the grass.
- Use a higher-grade air filter for your A/C.
- Wash your pet’s bed often.
- Note when your pet’s allergies flare up.
- Clean your pet’s ears regularly.
- Don’t use household cleaners where your pet will come in contact with them.
Pet Allergies Are Nothing to Sneeze At
We hope you have a beautiful Spring and fun-filled summer with your pet. If you believe your pet may have allergies, don’t let their discomfort prevent them from having fun. Make an appointment to see us soon.
Image credit: Sandeep Gore / iStock / Getty Images Plus