April showers bring May flowers… but unfortunately, that’s not all they bring! Allergy season is upon us, and even your furry family members are at risk.
Signs and Symptoms
In humans, most of our allergies are inhaled – we experience coughing, sneezing, runny and itchy eyes and upper respiratory infections. Dogs and cats are quite different and many of their seasonal allergies are absorbed through the skin, resulting in itchy pets with skin and ear infections. They are usually most affected on their feet and bellies as these are the areas most in contact with their environment. Just like with people, most pets’ allergies are seasonal, but some unlucky pets have year-round allergies. Allergic dogs are also at an increased risk for secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections.
Dogs can be allergic to anything from grass and pollen to fleas and cigarette smoke. Any dog can develop allergies at any time during their lifetime. It is not uncommon for dogs who have recently relocated to the South to develop seasonal allergies.
There are many different options for treatment of allergies in pets, most of which revolve around identifying the cause of the allergy. Regular bathing may help remove environmental allergens from your pet’s skin and is something you can do at home to help. It is important to check with your veterinarian to see what shampoo is best, as frequent bathing with the wrong shampoo can lead to dry skin. However, many dogs and cats (like many people) require medication to help get them through allergy season. For seasonal allergies, dogs can take daily medication or a monthly shot to help manage their symptoms. If your pet develops a secondary infection related to their allergies, they may need antibiotics.
If you believe your pet is suffering from allergies, call and make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. By addressing the problem quickly, you may be able to avoid further complications.