Spring is in the air! And so are pesky allergens that can cause allergies in every family member including your four-legged friends. While dogs and cats, like humans, can have allergies any time of year, they can also have seasonal allergies. These arrive with the warm weather as nature comes out of hibernation and pollen fills the air.
“My dog has allergies!”
Dogs can have allergic reactions to a variety of common environmental and household substances, but are prone to spring allergies. This is due to the extra pollen in the grass and air. Other common causes of pet allergies include:
Allergies are more common in Terriers, Retrievers, Setters, and dogs with short snouts including Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers.
Can Cats Have Allergies?
Cats can also develop seasonal allergies, especially those that spend time outdoors. Like dogs, cats can have allergic reactions to pollen and other allergens that are more active in the spring. Reduce the chance of your cat having a spring allergy by keeping them indoors, particularly on dry, windy days. Also, keep kitty inside after mowing the lawn, weed pulling, or gardening. Using the air conditioning instead of fans will also reduce the pollen in the air indoors, as well as dusting and vacuuming frequently.
Keep an eye out for the following symptoms that may indicate your pet has an allergy:
itching (including excessive scratching, hair loss, red skin or skin irritation)
red, watery eyes
excessive paw licking
ear infections (watch for excessive head shaking or scratching of ears)
sneezing (and “reverse sneezing” in dogs, and rarely in cats, when air is inhaled rapidly through the nose)
If your pet is showing any of these five common signs of allergies you should consult your veterinarian.
Ways to Help Your Pet’s Allergies
Sometimes symptoms for seasonal allergies will overlap with food allergies or other environmental allergies so diagnosis may be difficult and is best managed by a veterinarian who can prescribe medication if necessary. Diet can help treat allergies such as feeding your dog Omega 3 fatty acids, and yucca for cats and dogs. To treat itching or skin conditions due to allergies, make sure to wipe your pet’s paws after walking outside, and use shampoos that contain pet friendly moisturizers or soothing emollients. Antihistamines are effective in only 20 percent of pets, and you should consult your veterinarian before administering any medication to your dog or cat. Enjoy the spring with healthy pets, not sneezing pets.