As spring slowly hops in, it brings a horrible side affect: allergies. Seasonal allergies affect our pets just as badly as they affect us. Whereas allergy symptoms in humans usually involve the respiratory tract, allergies in our furry companions often show as skin irritation or inflammation.
It’s a terrible experience to see your pet suffering from any type of allergies. Pets are unable to communicate what is wrong and must rely on you to understand the symptoms. As a pet owner, I’ve seen allergy symptoms arise in my pets for a number of reasons. My first experience was when my dog, Jiji, was still a puppy. She would spend her days chewing her feet, sneezing and scratching herself against any rough surface.
The first time we took her to the vet, they noticed she had an ear infection and attributed all the symptoms to the infection. Jiji continued to nibble on her feet and scratch herself long after she was done with the ear medication.
It was devastating to see Jiji in such clear distress and being unable to help. I could go up to her and ask her opinions on the matter so I had to put on my detective cap and follow the clues. I became determined to help my puppy in any way that was possible.
That is when I took it upon myself to research what else could be ailing my poor puppy and came upon different articles on allergies. As I began reading more and more about allergies, I realized that was what poor Jiji was suffering from. When I brought it up to my veterinarian, she took some tests and sure enough, Jiji was suffering from seasonal allergies.
Whether they are seasonal or long-term allergies, always consult with your veterinarian on what methods are best with dealing with pet allergies. Human medication for allergies may have adverse and horrible effects on dogs and should never be used without a vet’s approval.
Seasonal Allergies: What to Look For
Skin irritation or inflammation – a condition known as allergic dermatitis – will cause your pet to become itchy. They may:
- Rub against walls
- Scratch themselves excessively
- Chew their feet
They may also have inflamed ears or frequent ear infections. Hot spots are common in dogs. Cats may experience facial scabbing and asthma-like wheezing and/or respiratory problems.
If your pet also starts to experience hair loss and red itchy bumps, these may be signs of carpet, cleaner or plastic allergies. Animals with food allergies also tend to have increased bowel movements and soft stool. About 10%-15% of all pet allergies are food allergies and usually show up alongside seasonal allergies.
Always check with your local and trusted veterinarian to identify what may causing your pet’s allergies.
How You Can Help
Consult your veterinarian to determine what your pet may be allergic to. If they are truly seasonal allergies, you can take some simple steps at home to help.
Tips for helping your pet with their seasonal allergies:
- Frequent baths! The baths will give your pet instant relief by washing away the allergens from their coat and skin. Coconut oil is great for your pets. After washing your pet, be sure to apply some on their fur and skin. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on how often you should bathe your pet.
- Keep your house as allergen-free as possible during the seasonal period. Clean your house as frequently as possible, your pet will appreciate it!
- Switch your pet’s diet to avoid the food that will worsen their allergies. Foods that are high in carbohydrates can cause your pet to experience increased inflammation and should be avoided. Add foods high in omega-3 fatty acids to decrease inflammation in your pets. Your veterinarian can offer suggestions.
- Keep your pet’s immune system as functional as possible. Talk to your veterinarian about timing vaccinations around allergy season. During allergy season, your pet’s immune system may be weak fighting off the allergens and introducing anything foreign can be worse for your beloved pet.
Allergies are not fun for you or your pets. Remember that your pet can’t help themselves, so help them as best as you can. Your pet will love you even more for it.
If any of the symptoms don’t improve over time or worsen after consulting your veterinarian, talk to your veterinarian. It could be something more serious masquerading as allergies or your pet might be highly allergic to a substance more commonly found in their environment.
About the Author: Mira Alicki is a jewelry designer and goldsmith for the past 22 years. Her passion for animals led her to create her own line of jewelry and online store to benefit charities. 40% of each purchase is donated back to the animal community. You can find Mira on Twitter @FIMHjewelry or Forever In My Heart.