Recognizing pet allergies and things you can do to reduce your pet's suffering.
Spring is right around the corner and although we welcome the upcoming months and the great weather that comes with it, we don't welcome the watery eyes, itching skin or the endless sneezing, those of us with allergies have to endure! We as pet lovers understand how much our animals love us, and delight when they mimic our playful behavior and funny faces, but when they sneeze and cough and itch as the warm weather increases, they're not being copycats...they have allergies as real as our own. They don't welcome those awful symptoms any more than we do. Those of us who have allergies know how quickly we seek relief from the annual suffering and need to remember that our pets may be in need of similar relief. If your pet is exhibiting allergy-type symptoms, visit your veterinarian as a precaution to make sure the symptoms are indeed allergies, and also to find out if there are any medications or things that can be done to give your pet some relief. It's important to realize that allergies in pets, as in people, are genetic.
As the warmer weather arrives, we often throw open windows for that nice breeze, not worrying about our allergies because we can take medications to give us relief, but forget our furry friends may also be suffering with the increased allergens flying around and piling up. The symptoms cats and dogs suffer aren't hard to spot, and often mimic our own allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing and itching. Dust and pollen, as well as other airborne particles that seem more prevalent in the warmer months can cause sinus irritation in cats, just like they do in people. One symptom which could be something other than allergies in cats, is watery, runny eyes. Although this is a relatively common problem in cats, particularly kittens, this can be a sign of something more serious such as an upper respiratory condition, so make sure you check with your veterinarian to make sure this condition is signaling something more serious than allergies.
How about that fan that was stored in the attic all winter, or those ceiling fans in rooms that are beginning to see heavier usage in the warm weather? Remember, they need to be vacuumed before using them each season, so that the excess dust, mites and parasites that congregate on them when they are dormant, don't suddenly get thrown into the already over-populated, pollen-laden air. Pollen, dust and mold can cause irritation to a dog's skin, particularly where it settles into his bedding, or places where he frequently lays or rolls around. Try and vacuum these areas frequently to keep the level of pollen and other airborne pollutants to a minimum. How can I cure my dog's itchy, flaky skin if he's already scratching? To give your dog some immediate relief, you can give him a bath with a gentle pet shampoo with skin conditioners, making sure to rinse his fur thoroughly, to help calm the skin. However, unfortunately there could be any number of other reasons for this condition, so take your dog to the veterinarian to make sure the cause is indeed allergies or some other environmental parasite and not some other serious condition.
Though allergies often cause skin problems in dogs, and runny noses, itchy eyes, and sneezing in cats, another cause may be something as simple as an allergic reaction to a cleaning product you used when doing your spring cleaning. To help reduce irritation, whenever possible try to use natural or organic products and don't use excessive amounts. Cigarette smoke or fumes from cleaners, paints and warm weather chemicals used around the home, may also be the source of your pet's "allergies".
Help keep your pet healthy no matter what the season with a good diet and regular visits to the veterinarian. No questions are silly or unimportant, and no condition your pet suffers should be left untreated, so don't hesitate to call your vet if you're unable to give your pet relief, or if their condition worsens.
Pet Assure is the largest veterinary network in the U.S. with over 5,600 veterinarians.