Pet Allergies: What are they and what can we do?
The seasons are changing and with that comes allergy season! We all know the feeling — itchy skin, teary eyes, sneezing. For humans, finding effective remedies is not the most challenging task, but for our pets, it can be far more difficult. With temperature changes and seasonal flora in bloom, comes allergy season, your team at BetterVet has come up with a list of pet seasonal allergy symptoms to watch out for this season. We have also thrown in possible treatments to provide much-needed relief to your furry friends.
Common symptoms of seasonal allergies in pets:
Dogs and cats alike show similar symptoms when it comes to seasonal allergies. Here is a list of signs to watch out for:
- Sneezing, coughing and wheezing (more common in cats)
- Itchy, runny eyes (leaky tear stains)
- Ear infections
- Itchy ears
- Excessive licking (grooming)
- Swelling in face, ears, lips, eyelids or earflaps
- Red or dry skin
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Red tint on paws (more common in pets with white fur)
Remember, it is important to check with your BetterVet team to make sure that the symptoms your pet is experiencing are not due to another underlying condition. While allergies are commonly experienced in pets, many of the symptoms listed above could be a result of an undiagnosed medical condition.
The Big Three:
When it comes to allergies, there are three main sources:
- Environmental: Environmental allergens include pollen, dander, molds, and cleaning solutions. Environmental allergens will vary by region and climate, but many can be found in your home as well.
- Flea: These pets can present as allergies on your furry friends. The proteins in their saliva can cause an allergic reaction throughout the whole body, not just where the animal was bitten. This type of allergy has experienced an upward trend over the past 10 years, according to one industry report.
- Food: Food allergies and intolerances are rising in humans as well as our pets. According to a 2018 State of Pet Health Report, food-allergic pets are more prone to skin infections. Food allergies only affect a small percentage of the pet population, however dogs are six times more likely to develop skin infections, while cats are 15 times more likely.
Like humans, there isn’t one cure-all for seasonal allergies. However, there are many remedies available to help alleviate some of the symptoms:
- An over-the-counter antihistamine like Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec, Chlor-Trimton (chlorpheniramine) or any of their generics. Do not use a decongestant or anything containing pseudoephedrine, like Claritin-D. Please check with your veterinarian before administering allergy medications to your pet!
- A flea and tick preventative, year round
- Topical treatments specially designed for your pet
- Giving your pet a bath to remove any pollen or flea dirt from their skin
- Reduce contact with allergens. Less exposure to seasonal irritants means less inflammation and scratching.
- Diet changes with the help of your BetterVet team. We can help you get to the bottom of your pet’s digestive and skin issues through testing and diet modifications.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can provide support for dry, flaky skin. Pets suffering from allergies could minimize inflammation and improve the look and texture of their coat by taking this supplement.
- Immunotherapy, or allergy shots,” Allergen Immunotherapy (AIT) is the most effective way to address airborne allergies, sometimes even resulting in a permanent cure. Ask your BetterVet team about scheduling an appointment today.
- Allergen Specific Immunotherapy (ASIT) is a method of allergy control that utilizes your pet’s own immune system. It involves the use of an individually-made serum, created using small amounts of the allergens that affect your pet most. This treatment option will require your animal to get periodic treatments of gradually increasing amounts of allergens until a maintenance level is reached. It’s similar to exposure therapy, but for the body!
If you suspect that your furry friend may be suffering with seasonal allergies, book a visit with your BetterVet team and we will be happy to help work through a plan to make sure your best friend is comfortable during allergy season!