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Pets Get Allergies Too!

Spring is a wonderful time of year and warmer weather means more time outdoors for both our furry friends and their owners, but it is also a time of year when we suffer from allergies.  While humans react to allergens with itchy watering eyes and sneezing, our pets suffer from them a bit differently.  Allergies develop with age, and symptoms in pets generally worsen as they get older.

The most common form of allergy in dogs and cats is called atopy.  Atopy can be caused by a number of things i.e.: ragweed pollen in the fall; dust mites in the winter and grass and tree pollen in the spring.  Licking and chewing the feet is a classic sign of allergy to pollen.  They may also scratch excessively.  This behavior can cause welts, sores (which may become infected) and loss of hair.  Ear infections may also be a result of allergies in dogs.  In addition to licking, chewing and scratching, your dog or cat might rub their face, or you may notice hot spots on their skin, small areas of scabs or even respiratory problems (sometimes wheezing in cats).  

Dog_licking_wound - (Image: CC0)

Dogs and cats can also develop allergies to other things in their environment – such as carpets, cleaners and plastics as well as to foods. Flea allergies result from toxins in the flea saliva.  (See more on fleas and ticks here.)

Some allergy symptoms can be treated at home, typically with foot soaks and grain-free baths to wash away allergens that are on the coat and skin.  Vacuuming floors and bedding on a regular basis and washing floors with non-toxic cleaning agents can help as well. In our warmer climate, consider changing out your air conditioner filters each month.  Moving your pet onto an anti-inflammatory diet, low in grain content can also help.  

There are also supplements and medications that can help suppress or alleviate the effects of allergies.  Contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital for recommendations on the best approach for your pet!