Seasonal allergies are not just a problem that plagues humans. In fact, VPI Pet Health Insurance lists allergies as the number one health condition affecting dogs, and cats are no stranger to the problem, either.
Generally speaking, the offending substances that cause you to experience allergic symptoms are the same culprits causing your pets’ allergic reactions. Your pets, however, won’t always show the watery eyes and runny nose that you’re used to associating with the change of seasons. What your pet experiences is quite different and most often manifests itself as a topical reaction in the form of red and/or itchy skin, ear infections, etc. In some rare cases, it also involves gastrointestinal symptoms, such as occasional vomiting or diarrhea.
Pets with seasonal allergies most often begin to experience their first signs and symptoms around the age of two to three years old. This is due to the way that allergies work: the body takes a certain amount of time after exposure to develop a sensitivity to a substance.
Some of the most common signs of seasonal allergies in pets include:
- Redness of the skin (with or without warmth that you can feel). While this allergic symptom may be observed anywhere on your pet’s body, it is most often seen around the face, paws, and under your pet’s belly.
- Itchy skin, which is most often noticed by the owner when the pet engages in certain behaviors, such as chewing the feet, constant licking of a certain place on the body, frequent scooting across the floor, or rubbing the face on carpet or furniture.
- Recurrent “hot spots” or similar lesions
- Sensitive or constant irritation of the ears. If this is the case, the pet owner will observe behaviors, such as pawing at the ears, frequent head shaking, redness and inflammation of the outer ear, etc.
If your pet is showing signs of seasonal allergies, speak with your veterinarian as soon as possible. You’ll be glad to know that you have quite a few options for treatment.
Remember that allergies are not a disease that can be cured, but it can be managed with any combination of immunotherapy, immunosuppressive medications, antihistamines, and topical mediations (such as creams, sprays, and shampoos). Every pet is different, so your veterinarian is your most useful resource for determining what course of action may be best for you.