Signs of Seasonal Pet Allergies
Did you know dogs and cats can be susceptible to seasonal allergies just like humans? It’s commonly called “atopy,” mainly caused by airborne environmental allergens like pollen, mold, and dander. However, pets generally have a different allergic reaction than humans, primarily occurring through skin reactions.
Symptoms of atopy:
- Itchiness and inflammation of the skin (feet, armpits, inner thighs, abdomen, eyes, or mouth)
- Inflamed or infected ears (mostly dogs)
- Excessive scratching, licking, biting, or chewing
- Rubbing body against walls, furniture, carpet, and other surfaces
- Hair loss, open sores, and scabbing
- Asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems
Respiratory reactions are less common but can occur, including runny nose, watery eyes, and coughing and sneezing. Certain dog breeds are genetically more susceptible to atopy.
“Seasonal allergens can definitely cause pets a fair amount of discomfort, even resulting in skin injuries from itching and scratching. Be sure to seek testing and treatment if you notice symptoms causing your pet distress – especially if you’re seeing recurring symptoms,” said DoveLewis Criticalist Ladan Mohammad-Zadeh, DVM, DACVECC.
Year-round allergens affecting pets are commonly caused by foods and fleas. Food allergens can cause skin irritation, gastrointestinal upset, and diarrhea. Hypoallergenic and elimination diets tend to be the best route for eliminating symptoms and determining the offending food source. Flea allergies may cause severe itchiness and scratching, which can result in lesions, scabs, and hair loss. You can monitor your pet for fleas and flea dirt with a monthly flea combing. Seek veterinary care if you see your pet experiencing any of these symptoms.
For environmental allergens, here are a few prevention tips to make your pet more comfortable during the spring season:
- Frequent baths to remove environmental allergens
- Foot soaks to prevent tracking allergens indoors and contaminating living space
- Keeping pet areas and bedding clean with regular cleaning
- Anti-inflammatory diets to reduce allergic responses