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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

Spring is in the Air: Managing Spring Pet Allergies

A boxer dog with its eyes closedEven though Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow this year, spring is still right around the corner – especially here in the Pacific Northwest. While we all may be looking forward to some warmer temperatures, the change in seasons often comes with changing allergy symptoms.

Spring pet allergies can be challenging but, with a little preparation, you can prepare to manage your pet’s symptoms in the months ahead.

What Causes Spring Allergies?

Pets can be allergic to many things, including pollens from trees and grasses. The start of the spring allergy season is brought on by the increase of pollen in the air as plants begin to come out of their winter dormant period. This starts a little earlier in the Pacific Northwest than in many other areas of the country, due to the mild weather of the region.

As early as February we can experience an increase of pollens from trees, such as cedar, juniper, and alder. By March the early spring allergy season is in full swing, though grass and weed pollens usually don’t start to make an appearance until later in the season. You can check out the daily pollen forecast for your city with a fun app on our Facebook page.

Common Signs of Spring Pet Allergies

As spring begins, many people and pets begin to show signs of allergy symptoms. Most people suffer from respiratory symptoms related to allergies. This includes sinus problems, runny noses, and sneezing. Pets, on the other hand, often have skin related signs.

So how would you know if your pet is suffering from allergies? As the weather changes, be on the lookout for these common signs of spring pet allergies:

  • Intense itchiness
  • Biting or chewing at paws, ears, face, underside, or under the tail
  • Rubbing the face or body
  • Areas of hair loss
  • Open sores
  • Increased odor
  • Red or splotchy skin
  • Shaking of the head
  • Scratching the ears
  • Red or watery eyes

Managing Pet Allergies

Pet allergies can be very frustrating to deal with because there is no cure for them and because not all pets respond the same way to treatment. Likewise, there is no way to completely avoid common springtime allergens, making the season a rough one for those suffering.

If your pet is having mild allergy symptoms you might try:

  • Bathing your pet in a shampoo recommended by a veterinarian
  • Using foot soaks to address paw licking or chewing
  • Removing allergens from your home by thoroughly cleaning and vacuuming
  • Administering an over-the-counter antihistamine as recommended by your veterinarian

However, if your pet is experiencing more severe allergy symptoms, Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic is often able to help. Perhaps one of the most effective treatment options we offer is allergy specific immunotherapy shots, which can be given by you at home to your pet.

Just like people, pets can undergo allergy testing via an intradermal skin test in order to determine what environmental allergens affect them. Utilizing the test results, personalized allergy shots can be developed for your pet. Over time, these shots can help build up a pet’s tolerance to the things he or she is allergic to. While immunotherapy is not the answer for every pet, they are a valuable treatment option for many.

Allergies are no fun for anyone. With a little preparation and help your pet can make it through the spring allergy season more comfortably this year, and for years to come. Be sure to keep an eye out for early signs of problems and don’t hesitate to contact us if your pet needs help.