Seasonal allergies can affect pets just in the same way as they affect humans. With spring well underway, it’s important that you take the time to understand seasonal pet allergies, so you can help recognize the symptoms and seek out necessary treatment.
Many owners aren’t aware that their beloved pets are suffering due to the same pollens and other environmental allergens. This guide will help you to recognize the symptoms of dog allergies and cat allergies, so your fuzzy family members don’t have to suffer in silence.
Symptoms of Seasonal Pet Allergies
When it comes to pet allergies, there are two main types to look out for. These include environmental allergies and food allergies. Common allergens include tree, grass and weed pollens, mold and mildew, and dust mites.
If you notice that your pet gets itchy during the spring, summer or fall, then it is more likely that your pet is reacting to seasonal allergens in the environment. While there are some exceptions to this rule, this is one of the more obvious symptoms to look out for.
Here are some other common signs to look out for:
Itchy skin: Seasonal pet allergies in dogs and cats produce different symptoms than they do in humans. While in people, symptoms tend to involve the respiratory tract, in pets it will usually present itself in the form of allergic dermatitis. This is where the allergy takes on the shape of a skin inflammation or irritation.
You will notice that your cat or dog is suffering from itchy skin as he or she will start scratching excessively to relieve the itchiness. They may bite or chew certain parts of their body, rub themselves against the furniture or wall, or even rub their face on the carpet.
If this itch-and-scratch cycle continues, then your pet’s skin will eventually become inflamed and sore to the touch. You may then observe open sores, scabbing and hot spots.
Hot spot: This is more typical in dog allergies and will rarely manifest itself in cats. A hot spot occurs when the natural bacteria overwhelms a part of the skin, leading it to become inflamed and infected. There will often be hair loss and bleeding, and the skin tends to become very red.
Recurrent ear infections: Again, this problem is more common in dog than cat allergies, but is something to look out for. As a response to the allergy, the wax-producing glands of the ear overproduce, leading to ear infections. It is the excessive wax and debris that allows bacteria and yeast to overgrow.
The ears may also become itchy and inflamed, so signs can include head shaking, scratching at the ears, as well as hair loss around the ears. You may also note an odor or discharge coming from the ears if an infection is present.
Respiratory symptoms: While these are less common in pets, they can still occur. Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, runny nose and watery eyes.
Generalized redness: This is another sign to look out for, as you will find that those with seasonal pet allergies can have red paws, puffy red eyes, a red chin, red oral tissue and even a red anus.
Treatment of Allergies
If you think your pet may be suffering from cat allergies or dog allergies, then it is important that you address the issue as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to prescribe your furry friend with the necessary allergy-fighting supplements to help deal will the symptoms. Of course, there are a few things you can do to help your dog or cat cope with seasonal allergies. This includes:
- Keeping your home as free from allergens as possible through regular cleaning and vacuuming of the floors and their bedding, using non-toxic cleaning agents
- Washing their paws each time they come inside the home to reduce the amount of allergens spreading into your home
- Give your pet frequent baths to wash away allergens and provide relief from the itchiness
The longer you cat or dog is exposed to the seasonal allergens he or she is sensitive to, the worse the response becomes. That is why it is important to address potential root causes at the first sign of an allergic response.
Taking action early on will help to reduce the risk of the response becoming more intense and long-lasting year after year. Typically, the first signs will appear around six months of age, so it is important to keep an eye on your pet from an early age.
If your pet is showing any symptoms of allergies, contact us at Town * Country Animal Hospital in Naples, FL (239) 353-5060.