It's that time of year again when allergies are at their peak. They can be annoying enough for us – all that sneezing, coughing, and wiping our streaming eyes when we're just trying to enjoy the summer weather is a real buzzkill!
But as animal lovers, there are certain members of your family who you worry could be struggling especially hard through allergy season: your pets. In this article, I'll take a look at four signs that may indicate your favorite furry friend is dealing with seasonal allergies.
Allergies in animals can lead to serious complications if left untreated. And as our pet pals can't tell us what's wrong, it's up to us to be on the lookout and spot any unusual behaviors or symptoms as soon as possible. So, let's dive in!
If your pet suffers from chronic ear infections it could be a sign that they're struggling with seasonal allergies. While there are many potential causes of ear infections, allergens in the environment are a common trigger.
Symptoms of an ear infection include head shaking, excessive scratching, redness and inflammation in and around the ear, and a foul odor emanating from the ears. If you notice any of these signs, it's important to take your pet to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
If your pet is experiencing frequent and persistent ear infections, there are a few things you can do at home to help ease their symptoms.
First, make sure you're cleaning their ears regularly with a solution recommended by your vet to help prevent the build-up of bacteria. You can also apply a warm compress to soothe pain and inflammation.
And of course, give them plenty of love and affection! Pets appreciate the extra TLC when they're not feeling well, and ear infections can be particularly distressing if they continue to occur.
Another common sign that your pet is experiencing allergies is if they're constantly licking or chewing at their paws.
If you notice your dog or cat doing this a lot, it could be a sign that they're trying to soothe itchiness caused by pollen or other allergens on their skin. This only provides temporary relief, however, and can lead to further irritation and inflammation.
Allergies can cause pets' paw pads to become dry, cracked, and even bleed. So, it's important to keep an eye on this behavior and take them to the vet if you think it might be caused by allergies.
Licking can also lead to hot spots, – open sores that can become infected – so it's doubly important to get your pet checked if you think this might be what you're dealing with.
If your pet is licking their paws excessively, you can try wiping them down with a damp cloth after they've been outside. This will help to remove any pollen or other allergens that might be causing the irritation.
You should also make sure their paw pads are kept moisturized. Use a pet-safe cream or balm for this to prevent them from becoming dry and cracked. Finally, if your pet is suffering from severe itchiness, ask your vet about using an antihistamine to help ease their discomfort. Just make sure you don't give them any over-the-counter medication without checking with your vet first, as these can be toxic to pets.
Seasonal allergies can cause pets' skin to become dry, red, and cracked, which can lead to hot spots – the open sores mentioned earlier that are painful and can become infected.
If you notice your pet scratching a lot or any bald patches on their fur, it could be a sign of an allergic reaction to seasonal allergens like pollen, ragweed, or grass.
If your pet is experiencing skin irritation, you can try easing their symptoms yourself. Giving your pet an oatmeal bath is a safe, all-natural way to help them stay calm and clean.
After bathing, it's a good idea to apply a pet-safe cream or balm to the affected areas. This will help to soothe itchiness and keep the skin moisturized. To further ease discomfort, an antihistamine may be a last resort if recommended by your vet.
Another common symptom of seasonal allergies in pets is excessive scooting or licking of the anal glands. Scooting is when a pet drags their bottom along the ground in an attempt to relieve irritation.
This behavior can be caused by environmental allergens like pollen that irritate the skin around the anus. Allergies can also cause the anal glands to become inflamed and impacted, which can be extremely painful for your pet.
If your pet is experiencing anal gland problems, you can try expressing their glands at home. However, this should only be done if you feel comfortable doing so and have been shown how by a professional.
Alternatively, switch them to them a diet rich in fiber to bulk up their stools and make it easier for their glands to do their job, and consider adding a supplement that supports healthy anal gland function to their food.
Seasonal allergies can be difficult to deal with, both for you and your pet. If you're not sure what's causing your pet's symptoms or how to ease them, it's always best to talk to your vet. They'll be able to give you a definitive diagnosis and help you create a treatment plan. Thanks for reading, and here's to a happy, healthy summer with your best pet pals!