Fall is Almost Upon Us – Seasonal Allergies in Dogs and Cats

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The arrival of fall is almost here, and along with bringing crisp cool weather, pumpkin lattes and apple picking, the time for seasonal allergies are also upon us.  If your dog or cat is chewing at their paws or suddenly scratching at their ears, or you yourself have just started taking your own seasonal allergy medication, then you may know what I mean.

Well, it is not a coincidence, along with the 40 million people who suffer from seasonal allergies, there are also many dogs and cats who are suffering along with them. Seasonal allergies do not only occur in the spring, but may also occur in the summer and fall. Just like us, our dogs and cats can be allergic to pollens, grasses, weeds, dust and dust mites, among other things.  Although we usually experience itchy or watery eyes, runny nose, sinus infections and asthma symptoms from seasonal allergies; most dogs and cats suffer from ear infections, itchy skin and feet, “hot spots” and hair loss instead.  So if you have recently seen your dog or cat start chewing or biting at themselves, pulling their hair out or scratching or shaking their head, it may be seasonal allergies!

If you yourself have allergies, you know there is no “cure” for them, but there are some things that you can do to alleviate allergy symptoms, and the same is true for our pets.  Year round, and especially during allergy season, it is important to support healthy skin, coat and ears by feeding your pet a food high in omega 3 fatty acids or giving an omega 3 fatty acid supplement.  Omega 3 fatty acids can also help to decrease and prevent skin inflammation caused by allergens.  There are many forms of omega 3 fatty acid supplements available, including capsules, liquids and powders; so if you need help finding an omega 3 fatty acid supplement that is right for your pet call us and we can always assist you.

Your pet’s hygiene is another thing that is important year round, but especially during allergy season.  By cleaning your pet’s ears and bathing your pet routinely, you will not only be removing offending allergens, but will also be able to monitor for any changes early on so that infections do not develop.  We recommend using an ear cleaner such as Euclens® for ear cleaning to promote healthy ears and remove wax and debris without excess moisture buildup.

As for bathing your pet, although there are many over the counter shampoos available, for allergy prone pets you will get the best results with a shampoo specially formulated for allergies by veterinary dermatologists.  One excellent choice is Duouxo Calm® shampoo which helps by removing allergens as well as decreasing inflammation, moisturizing the skin and restoring the skin barrier to prevent infections.

If despite your best efforts, your pet does develop an ear infection, skin infection or “hot spot” due to allergies, medications such as antibiotics, antihistamines or other allergy medications may be prescribed.  For some pets we even recommend starting allergy medication before seasonal allergies occur to prevent infections from occurring.  Never give your pet your own allergy medication as dosing for people and pets are different and some human medications are toxic to dogs and cats.

If you have any questions about allergies in your pet, the staff here at Williston Park Animal Hospital is always happy to answer any of your questions and to help get you and your pet through the allergy season.

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