Now that we’re well into spring, there is a flurry of pollen, grass seeds, spores, and dust about that can trigger seasonal allergies – not just in humans but also in our pets.
If you suffer from allergies yourself, you know this can make you feel pretty miserable. And it’s no different for our pets.
So how can you identify and manage your pet’s seasonal allergies? Read on to find out the most common signs your pet may have an allergy, and a few steps you can take to make them feel more comfortable.
What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies in pets?
Before you can try to manage your pet’s seasonal allergies, the first step is to recognise the signs that they may be affected. Here’s some common indicators to look out for:
- Skin irritation – Have you noticed your pet licking, biting, chewing or scratching their skin more often? They might have irritated or inflamed skin caused by an allergy.
- Sores – In severe cases, allergies can cause intense irritation, prompting your pet to incessantly scratch and bite their skin. This can result in wounds that are prone to infection, leading to the development of red, pus-filled sores that may spread if left untreated.
- Hair loss – Untreated skin allergies can progress to the point where your pet’s relentless scratching, licking, chewing, and biting causes noticeable hair loss. This is particularly common in cats, where itching can trigger over-grooming.
- Runny nose or watery eyes – Much like many humans who suffer from allergies, pets can also experience symptoms such as a runny nose and red, watery eyes.
- Coughing and sneezing – If your pet starts coughing, sneezing or wheezing (more common in cats) they may be experiencing spring allergies.
- Itchy ears – If you’ve seen your pet vigorously scratching their ears or repeatedly shaking their head, it could be due to itchy ears. Pollen or seeds entering their ears can cause itching and, if untreated, lead to ear infections.
What can you do to soothe your pet’s spring allergies?
- Anti-itch products – Topical treatments including creams and sprays may help to give your pet a break from the itching. However, be careful to only use products specifically made for pets. Human treatments might do more harm than good for your furry friend.
- Remove allergens or pollens – Consider a lukewarm bath for your pet (avoid hot water to prevent skin irritation). Using hypoallergenic oatmeal-based shampoos made for pets can soothe itching and inflammation. If bathing isn’t an option, gently wipe down their coat, underside, legs, and paws after walks or outdoor play.
- Flea and tick preventative – Another important aspect of managing your pet’s spring allergies is to ensure they are protected from fleas and ticks. These pesky parasites can exacerbate allergy symptoms and introduce other health issues.
- Change your walking routine – Pollen levels tend to be higher on dry, windy days, and up until about midday. To reduce your pet’s allergen exposure, on windy days, opt to stay indoors. Otherwise, plan your walks for later in the day when pollen levels are typically lower.
- Allergy relieving medications – Pet-safe allergy relief medications may provide some relief. The correct dosage will depend on your pets’ weight and their individual needs so it’s best to chat to your vet for advice before starting your pet on a new medication.
When should you take your pet to the vet?
If your pet seems itchy, or irritated, they show signs of infection or have any areas of skin redness or inflammation, it’s a good idea to get them checked out by a vet. Unfortunately, the symptoms of seasonal allergies often don’t go away on their own and may even get worse if left untreated.
The experienced vets at Moorabbin Veterinary Hospital are here to help you get to the bottom of what’s causing your furry family member’s allergy symptoms.
To make an appointment at our Hampton East vet hospital, you can book online or call us on 03 9555 4808.