As we start to see longer days, warmer sunshine, trees budding and flowers blooming, signs of spring are all around us. Along with beauty, hope and more time outside, the season also brings a less desirable aspect: seasonal allergies. Not just for humans, these discomforts can bother our pets too. To keep the spring in your dog’s step this season, be sure you are familiar with the common signs, symptoms and treatments for allergies in pets.
Many times, allergies in people are triggered by inhaling the offending substance. With dogs, allergens are more likely to be absorbed through their skin or paws. Separate from food allergies and intolerances, seasonal allergies are commonly caused by fleas, dust, grass, mold spores, pollen and weeds.
Symptoms of seasonal allergies are the body’s immune response to one or more allergens and can vary widely, making the exact cause difficult to diagnose. And since your dog can’t tell you exactly where the discomfort is, you’ll need to know what to look for. Typical signs and symptoms include scratching and/or biting, which can then cause excessive shedding, damage to the skin or even infections. Dogs may also obsessively lick their paws or scoot their hindquarters along the ground to alleviate itching. In some cases, your dog may show signs of respiratory problems or develop an ear infection, either of which will likely need medical attention from your veterinarian. Our team here at Simonton Veterinary Clinic are here for any medical needs your pet may have.
The best way to deal with an allergic response is to remove the cause, but that is not always possible. If the culprit is fleas or flea saliva, you can work to rid your pet’s environment of all fleas. But more often than not, seasonal allergies are not that simple. If you suspect pollen is a problem, you can avoid taking your dog on walks early in the morning or late in the day when pollen levels are the highest. You can also try to avoid fields and parks that contain “extra” sources of allergens such as grass and weeds. When you finish your time outside, clean your dog with a quick bath or wipe-down with pet wipes to remove excess pollen and irritants. Pay special attention to your dog’s feet!
Maintaining a clean home will also help with seasonal allergies, for people and pets alike. Replace air filters, dust the furniture and vacuum often to keep the air and surfaces cleaner. Be sure to clean your dog’s bed, or keep it covered with a blanket or towel that is easier to wash. You can look for medicated shampoo to use at bath time and topical solutions to soothe mild skin irritations.
While seasonal allergies can require some extra diligence to keep them in check, we hope you and your pets will still be able to enjoy some time relaxing or playing outdoors together this spring.