Unlike humans who typically suffer only with respiratory symptoms when they have seasonal allergies, dogs and cats can experience other symptoms as well, like inflamed ears, runny eyes, skin irritation and overall itchiness. Now you can zero in to the root cause of your pet’s misery and help keep allergies from spiraling out of control.
According to a recent survey, over half of pet owners don’t realize seasonal allergies can make their dog or cat feel miserable – just like them.
And that’s unfortunate…
Allergies are extremely common among both cats and dogs today. In fact, it’s one of the top reasons for my patients’ visits.
You know how allergies can make you feel, but do you know how your pet experiences them? The symptoms may not always be the same as yours.
You may notice a red chin or swollen paws, watery or blood-shot eyes, a runny nose, or coughing and sneezing in your pet. But you’re also likely to see a whole different set of symptoms…
Unlike humans who typically suffer with respiratory symptoms when they have seasonal allergies, with dogs and cats, allergies can show up as skin irritation, itchiness and inflammation.
When affected by allergies, your pet’s skin can become very itchy. She may start scratching excessively, and even bite or chew at areas on her body. Your pet may lose hair, develop rashes, hives, open sores or “hot spots,” or inflamed ears, especially with dogs. Ears and feet are often affected.
Seasonal allergies can affect your pet’s entire body, from head to tail. And they can affect your pet’s behavior, too, making him irritable or snappish.
If you find your pet rubbing herself against any surface she can find – including her face against the carpet – it may be her desperate attempt to relieve the miserable itchiness!
“How Do I Know If My Pet’s Symptoms Are From Seasonal Allergies?”
Your pet’s symptoms can result from one, or both, types of allergies:
- Food allergies
- Environmental or seasonal allergies
In my practice, I find that many cats and dogs suffer from both types. And most of the pets I see show signs of environmental allergies that last from spring through fall.
To help figure out if your pet’s symptoms may be from seasonal allergies, these 3 questions can provide valuable clues:
- Do symptoms come and go, or are they constant?
- Do the symptoms look exactly the same in January as they do in July?
- Do they become better or worse as the seasons change?
When your pet’s symptoms change with the seasons and don’t remain the same throughout the year, chances are he’s suffering with seasonal allergies.
Year-round symptoms are likely from food sensitivities or dust mites. If you suspect food allergies or sensitivities, you can find out how to get your pet tested on my Healthy Pets website. I almost always suggest to my pet patients’ owners to rule out food sensitivities first.
However, because many pets suffer with both types of allergies, if you don’t see significant results within 3 months on a food sensitivity trial, consider treating her for seasonal allergies, especially if the symptoms appear seasonal.
Left Untreated, Seasonal Allergies Can Turn Into a Year-Round Nightmare
When your pet encounters something he’s sensitive to in his environment, his immune system launches an attack. Allergens are substances that provoke an exaggerated immune response in sensitive animals.
At a young age, the immune response may be minimal with only mild reactions, such as itchy ears or a red tummy. A traditional veterinarian typically only provides symptomatic treatment to help provide relief.
Because nothing is done to address the root cause of the allergic response, it’s almost certain your pet’s symptoms will return the following year when the temperatures rise again.
Only this time – the second year – your pet’s symptoms are now more severe. The itching has increased, or he’s developed an ear infection or even some hot spots.
Again, a traditional vet treats the symptoms until the season changes and the symptoms disappear once again.
Each year the symptoms worsen. Instead of going away, the reactions to the unaddressed root causes become even more intense.
Symptoms that may have previously erupted only in the warmer months, from May to September, are now raging year-round, creating continuous misery for your pet!
Ideally, you want to address potential root causes at the first sign of any type of allergic response. For many sensitive pets, this usually occurs between 6 and 12 months of age. Most develop their seasonal allergies within the first few years.
A traditional veterinarian might choose to give your pet steroid drugs to suppress the response to allergens. In my opinion, this isn’t an appropriate action for many pets as it depresses immune function.