cat scratching itself

Has your pet been unusually itchy lately, pawing on their face or constantly scratching? They may be dealing with allergies. While many of us deal with the usual spring sneeze-fest, seasonal allergies in pets may manifest in ways that pet owners may not assign to allergies. 

Let’s take a closer look at pet allergies, their symptoms, and how we can work together to relieve the discomfort for your fur friend.

Seasonal Allergies in Pets

Seasonal allergies are also called environmental allergies, atopy, and airborne allergies. An allergy is an overreaction to an allergen, which can include those that are present in the air or environment. 

Allergies can cause great discomfort in your pet when left untreated. While seasonal allergies may be more pronounced during the spring, they can be present throughout the year, depending on where you reside and your pet’s specific allergies.

Some of the common allergens that bother pets include:

  • Dust mites
  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Grass
  • Weeds
  • Flea bites
  • Mold
  • Fungus

Signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies are:

  • Excessive itching
  • Biting at skin and feet
  • Hives/hot spots
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting/diarrhea

You may notice that your pet is more lethargic than usual, or doesn’t have their normal appetite. When the allergies are more severe, they can cause skin infections, asthma, and increase your pet’s risk of other illnesses related to an overtaxed immune system.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing allergies in pets relies on examination and diagnostic testing. Sometimes allergy testing is required to assess the specific allergens at work. On some occasions, and with more severe cases, we may prescribe a steroid or other medications.

One of the best ways to treat allergies is through at home care and reducing your pet’s exposure to the allergens.

  1. Bathe your pet often.
  2. Use HEPA air filters throughout the home.
  3. Switch your furnace filter to one that better filters dust and other allergens.
  4. Vacuum and dust weekly.
  5. Launder your pet’s bedding and bed every few weeks.
  6. Consult your veterinarian on over-the-counter antihistamines (never use them without consulting them first).
  7. Cut down tall grass and weeds in the yard.
  8. Minimize your pet’s exposure to the outdoors until the blooming season is over.
  9. Keep your pet on a parasite preventive throughout the year, including fleas, ticks, and heartworm.

To learn more about seasonal allergies in pets, please contact the team at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital.