Signs Your Pet May Have Seasonal Allergies
With the welcome arrival of spring also comes the unfortunate side effect of the beginning of allergy season. Seasonal allergies are relatively common in humans but few people consider their furry friends can get similar allergies too. To help you care for your pet as best you can, we have put together some signs to look our for which could be indications your pet is suffering from allergies, as well as how to treat them.
Excessive itching, nibbling at and licking of skin
This is a common sign your pet has allergies. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats are a lot more likely to have skin-related symptoms than in people. Dogs and cats will itch, bite at and lick their skin in an attempt to relieve the irritation, but this can in fact make the issue worse and lead to severely inflamed areas known as ‘hot spots’.
Treatment: antihistamines prescribed by a vet can relieve irritation and inflammation, working in the same way as they do in people. Additionally, regular bathing, potentially with a medicated shampoo, can also relieve symptoms by frequently removing allergens from the skin and fur. Simply wiping your pet’s paws after they’ve been outside can also help reduce allergens and subsequent skin irritation. Furthermore, you should wash your pet’s bedding often during allergy season to ensure irritants don’t build up here.
Ear scratching, discharge or head shaking
Any of these can be a sign your pet is suffering from an ear infection. Ear infections are particularly common in dogs and arise more in spring and summer months: allergy season. If your dog’s or cat’s ears are also inflamed or have a bad odour, then it is highly likely they have contracted an ear infection. Ear infections can be caused by allergens which have irritated the skin and made it easier for bacteria to overgrow and cause problems.
Treatment/prevention: take your pet to the vet to get to the root cause of the infection and to get expert advice. Generally, flushing and cleaning your pet’s ears gently with a dog-approved ear cleaning solution will remove irritants. Don’t use harsher chemicals like rubbing alcohol as this will be painful to inflamed skin and cause further irritation. Also, make sure you use cotton balls, not cotton buds as buds can damage ear drums and push impurities further into the ear canal. If your vet prescribes treatments for the infection, apply them post-cleaning. Routinely clean your dog’s ears if they are prone to infections or have allergies, as a preventive measure.
Red and watery eyes
Red and watery eyes are a common sign in people of a seasonal allergy and are also sometimes seen in pet allergy sufferers. Allergens can get into your pet’s eyes and cause various conditions, such as conjunctivitis, which generally involve redness, itching and inflammation.
Treatment: go to the vet to get a specific condition diagnosis and the appropriate treatment prescribed. This will often involve the use of eye wipes and drops to keep the eyes clean and clear.
Sneezing, coughing and more
Symptoms like these, as well as excess mucus and gagging, can also be signs of an allergy. As pets explore their environments a lot with their noses and mouths, it is unsurprising that these areas get high exposure to allergens and can become irritated. However, these are somewhat less common symptoms.
Treatment: although an allergy could be a cause of these symptoms, they may be a sign of other issues so it is definitely worthwhile seeking veterinary advice here. Treatments are likely to involve antihistamines to reduce allergy-related inflammation and irritation.
Seasonal allergens are not the only source of allergic reactions in pets, for example dietary allergies are also relatively common. If you notice a change in your pet’s behaviour or you notice any signs listed in this article, it is best to take them to the vet to establish what is causing the irritation and to get an appropriate treatment. Everyone wants their precious pet to be as happy as possible, and knowing and acting upon signs of potential problems can aid this goal.
Jaycliffe Pets offer quality care for your pets whilst you are away, providing day care services through to long-term stays. Our kennels, cattery and grooming services are based in the Rotherham area and are run by a team of experts who live on site to allow around the clock care. Get in touch with one of our friendly team today for further information about our services or to discuss any general enquiries.