Springtime Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Allergies in pets

Seasonal allergies not only affect us but they can also affect pets as well.  In the spring, when many of us simply get the neti pot or Benadryl going- we also need to remember our pets with springtime allergies.  It may be a little harder for dogs and cats with environmental allergies to avoid the elements. Fortunately, veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL offer cool tips to help keep hot spots and other problems at bay during allergy season.

Be Alert and Monitor for Allergy Symptoms

Is your dog or cat’s itching keeping you up at night? Or, does your dog or cat have frequent ear or skin infections? If so, your dog or cat may have allergies.  Many times, we hear owners say “they kept me up all night because every five minutes they were chewing on their skin”.  Lange Animal Clinic veterinarians notice an uptick in pets with skin allergies this time of the year.

Allergies in cats are less common than in dogs.  Though cats with true allergies will typically show signs of hair loss and have scabs or open sores. Discharge in a cat’s ears or excessive scratching also are common symptoms.  Allergy symptoms in dogs can include excessive licking, redness in areas of the skin known as “hot spots” or hair loss.

Observe the Pollen Count

Allergy season for dogs and cats are similar to humans, so keep a close eye on the pollen forecast in Central IL area and monitor your pets for symptoms.  If your pets are outside gallivanting in the flower garden then be certain to get a damp cloth and wipe down your dog or cat’s paws to remove any pollen.  Additionally, help your family and your pets by remembering to take your shoes off at the door so that

After tiptoeing through the tulips, Dr. Robert O. Schick, a dermatologist with Georgia Veterinary Specialists, suggests wiping your dogs’ paws with a cool towel to remove pollen residue or scheduling a weekly cool water bath. Also, help all the animals (and humans) in your house and avoid tracking pollen into the house by removing your shoes at the door.

Ongoing Spring Cleaning

Traditional Spring cleaning will reduce the amount of dust in your home.  But continuous cleaning by dusting, vacuuming carpets, and sweeping/mopping floors will help minimize dust.  Your cat or dogs’ favorite areas should be cleaned well- especially around windows and by cleaning window treatments regularly.

Call Us Prior to Administering Medications

Be cautious about administering any over the counter medications to your pets and if you are unsure about doing so always contact one of our veterinarians first.  Antihistamines may help but proper dosages for your pets need to be closely observed.  Side effects are similar to humans such as drowsiness when using medications such as antihistamines.

Topical solutions provide limited relief

There are various topical solutions that may be used to provide limited relief for allergies and many contain hydrocortisone and are oatmeal-based.  These shampoos and solutions can help relieve itching and irritation.  Lange Animal Clinic carries a wide variety of topical solutions such as HyLyt Shampoo and Vetoquinol Aloe & Oatmeal Shampoo.

Where conditions are more uniquely severe, an intradermal skin test (allergy test) may help determine the cause of your pet’s symptoms. This test is usually conducted by a veterinary dermatologist specialist, and involves shaving a patch on the skin and injecting various allergens such as grass, pollen or dust.  Through process of elimination, the specialist can isolate the allergen and plan a course of action such as allergy shots or a vaccine. Keep in mind, treatment can be costly as the test alone can cost more than $225. 

Maintain monthly flea and tick treatment

Fortunately, there are many effective flea and tick preventives on the market to help control the pests and prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. Knowing what kind of product to use, and how to use it, is critical to the health and safety of your pet. Many are spot-on (topical) products that are applied directly to your pet’s skin, but there are some that are given orally (by mouth). Although medicines and pesticides must meet U.S. government-required safety standards before they can be sold, it is still critical that pet owners carefully consider their flea and tick preventive options (and closely read the label) before they treat their pets with one of these products.

There is no cure for allergies but proper preventive measures can be taken to minimize the negative effects they cause in dogs or cats.  For more information, please contact a Lange Animal Clinic associate.