Now that Fall seems to be officially upon us, let’s talk about a very important topic that comes right along with this festive season… Allergies!
That’s right, pets can suffer from allergies just like you can, but because they can’t tell us when they feel yucky, we have to know what signs and symptoms to look out for! While dogs and cats can certainly suffer from year-round allergies, the Fall is a special time of year when the air is full of allergens sprouting from their environment.
There’s a whole host of plants that sprout in the chillier days that release pollen into the air such as ragweed, sagebrush, pigweed and goldenrod. Additionally, the Fall is a particularly busy time for mold and dust mites to be rampant in the air. These inhalant allergies are breathed in by pets and can seriously irritate their lungs. Spores from these factors can also settle into the skin and hair of dogs and cats alike, irritating the heck out of their skin and causing itchiness and hot spots. While these allergens tend to only last a few months out of the year, it is so important to recognize when your pet might be suffering so you can act to ease their discomfort.
Just like hoomans, dogs and cats can display the following symptoms of allergic reactions:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Excessive skin itchiness
- Redness and irritation on the skin
- Painful, upset stomach
- Ear and eye infections
- Skin bumps
- Hair loss
- Scratching and/or chewing on feet or skin (hot spots)
- Sneezing and reverse sneezing
While there’s a pretty solid chance these symptoms can be attributed to allergies, it is also important to rule out other causes such as fleas, ringworm, or other types of infections.
Dogs who have overactive immune systems are more likely to suffer from allergy reactions, as their bodies tend to attack agents that aren’t actually harmful. This over-reaction of the body’s immune system manifests in extreme itchiness and other allergy symptoms.
If you notice these symptoms in your pet, please make an appointment at your vet! There are several ways to treat allergies, depending on the severity and the animal. Your vet may choose to prescribe oral medications to get them through the allergy season, medicated shampoo, immunosuppressants, or desensitization therapy injections. It may take a few trial and error runs to determine which treatment works best for your pet, so patience is a virtue!