Ease spring­time al­ler­gies in your dog or cat

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Ju­lia Sz­abo

Noth­ing to Sneeze At Ease spring­time al­ler­gies in dogs and cats.

The ar­rival of spring brings warmer weather, greener grass, and longer days to get out­side and en­joy them. But with the rites of spring comes a dreaded wrong: hay fever, trig­gered by the pollen that blan­kets the great out­doors at this time of year. No mat­ter where you live—an ur­ban me­trop­o­lis or the ru­ral coun­try­side—pollen can make life mis­er­able.

Symp­toms of sea­sonal al­ler­gies in hu­mans in­clude runny nose, itchy skin and throat, and itchy runny eyes. But did you know that dogs and cats are also sus­cep­ti­ble, though their symp­toms are di er­ent?


An­i­mals can’t tell us they’re su er­ing, so we must learn to rec­og­nize their hay fever symp­toms—ex­ces­sive head­shak­ing; scratch­ing and bit­ing at their own mad­den­ingly itchy skin; and ir­ri­tated, in amed skin, ears, and paws—and seek the help of a com­pas­sion­ate vet­eri­nar­ian be­fore these symp­toms de­velop into life-threat­en­ing in­fec­tion. In peo­ple, hay fever man­i­fests in res­pi­ra­tory symp­toms, but pets ex­pe­ri­ence pollen al­lergy through dis­ease of the body’s largest or­gan: the skin. “Skin prob­lems caused by al­ler­gies are a se­ri­ous med­i­cal is­sue that can dras­ti­cally di­min­ish a pet’s qual­ity of life,” says Heather Peikes, VMD, Dip. ACVD, a board-certi ed vet­eri­nary der­ma­tol­o­gist based in New Jer­sey.

Vet­eri­nary der­ma­tol­o­gists typ­i­cally treat sec­ondary skin and ear in­fec­tions with an­ti­his­tamines, and some­times omega-3 sup­ple­ments are rec­om­mended. Cus­tom­ized vac­cines may be given based on the re­sults of skin test­ing. e vac­cine may be ad­min­is­tered as an in­jec­tion ev­ery one to three weeks, or as a sub­lin­gual pump (drops given by mouth). If the an­i­mal does not re­spond to vac­cine ther­apy, there are med­i­ca­tions that can pro­vide relief. To lo­cate a vet­eri­nary der­ma­tol­o­gist near you, visit


Pet par­ents can take sim­ple steps to pre­vent al­ler­gies from pro­gress­ing to the point where they re­quire pre­scrip­tion meds and a cus­tom­ized vac­cine. e

rst and eas­i­est anti-al­lergy strat­egy is a dili­gent daily wipedown. Ap­ply a clean, damp towel to dogs and cats af­ter they spend time out­doors to re­move pollen; do this ev­ery time they come in­side. (Yes, it’s a chore; to make it eas­ier, pre­pare stacks of tow­els and a jug of wa­ter right by the en­trance door to your home, so there’s no track­ing of al­ler­gens through­out the house.) Fo­cus es­pe­cially on pets’ paws and paw-pads, tak­ing care to wipe be­tween the toes, where pol­lens ac­cu­mu­late and cause enormous ir­ri­ta­tion. “Cats don’t love baths, but they do en­joy a thor­ough, full-body wipedown,” says holis­tic vet­eri­nar­ian Michele Yas­son, DVM, who prac­tices in New Paltz, N.Y. “It’s how the mother cat grooms her kit­tens, and it’s a great op­por­tu­nity to bond with your cat.”

As for dogs, if your dog loves to go swim­ming, now is the time to in­dulge—and al­ways fol­low up with a thor­ough tow­elingo to re­move pollen residue, mak­ing sure to gen­tly wipe in­side ears to pre­vent ear in­fec­tion.


Re­move shoes and out­er­wear when you en­ter your home so pol­lens aren’t tracked into the in­door en­vi­ron­ment you share with your pet. Grass cut­ting ex­ac­er­bates pollen al­ler­gies, so when it’s time to mow the lawn, be sure all win­dows and doors are closed, and if pos­si­ble, ask your neigh­bors to tell you their land­scap­ing

Giv­ing your pet lo­cal honey in small doses is help­ful for pets with pollen al­ler­gies.

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