Seasonal allergies have gone to the dogs (and cats)

Is your pet keeping you awake at night with excessive itching and licking? Do their paws look red and irritated? They might be suffering from allergies! It might be surprising to learn, but dogs and cats can have seasonal allergies too. But their allergies don’t look like ours do—here’s what you need to know about seasonal allergies and your pets!

It itches!

While our allergies typically take the form of sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes, an allergic pet is most likely to show symptoms in their skin. Excessive itching, licking, and biting can all be indications of an allergic pet. This itchiness can be generalized, or it can be centered around a specific area like the head, belly, or legs. Paws can trap a lot of pollen and often become very itchy for an allergic pet—so if your dog or cat is excessively licking their paws, allergies could be the cause.

On the home front: how you can help your pet

Here are a few things that you can do at home to help manage your pet’s seasonal allergies this spring. And if you suffer from allergies as well, some of these will help you out too!

  • Keep it clean: frequent baths with a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo will reduce allergens on your pet’s fur. If your pet is not of the mind to take a bath, then running some damp cloths or towels over them will work too. Make sure to pay extra attention to those pollen-catching paws!
  • Watch the pollen counts: if you have allergies, you know this drill already. If pollen counts are particularly high, try to limit your pet’s outdoor activities until they drop back down. The Weather Channel’s website is a good place to go for pollen counts in your area.
  • Filters are your friend: If you have an air conditioner, running it not only keeps things cool, it also helps to keep pollen and allergens out of your home. An indoor air purifier with a HEPA filter can help the whole family breathe easier when it’s peak allergy season!

How your veterinarian can help

Controlling allergies, particularly if they’re severe, often means acting on several fronts. Here are a few of the things that your veterinarian might do to help your pet’s allergies:

  • Allergy testing: having your pet allergy tested can determine what specific allergens are triggering your pet’s symptoms. Knowing exactly what is making your pet itch helps us form a plan to combat it! There are a few different types of allergy testing, and your veterinarian can determine which one might be the best approach for your pet.
  • Medications and supplements: Omega-3 fatty acid supplements work to maintain healthy skin and have been shown to reduce the severity of seasonal allergies. Your veterinarian might also prescribe other medications such as antihistamines, steroids, or topical meds to help combat your pet’s allergy symptoms. Before you give your pet any medications for their allergies, make sure to give us a call first.

If you think your pet might be having seasonal allergies, give us a call today at (417) 739-4090 to schedule an appointment and let us put a stop to the itch—so everyone can get some sleep!