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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

The Pollen Problem: A Closer Look at Spring Allergies in Pets

A dog sniffing a flower in a field

With Spring in the air, it means trees, grasses, and flowers everywhere are in bloom. While this is a welcome change in weather, those who suffer from spring allergies may have a slightly different outlook.

Unfortunately, humans aren’t the only ones who are affected by the change in season. Many pets experience seasonal allergies, although the symptoms they display can be quite different. The more you know about spring allergies in pets, the better equipped you’ll be to get your companion the help they need.

Allergies 101

An allergy results when the immune system overreacts to the presence of an innocuous foreign particle. Some people and pets are genetically inclined toward this immune response. Some of the allergens that cause problems for pets include tree and grass pollen (most common), dust/dust mites, mold, fleas, and certain food items.

Springtime Scratching

Unlike humans, who typically experience upper respiratory reactions to pollen and other airborne particles, spring allergies in pets usually manifest as itchy skin, also called “atopy.” Some signs that your pet may be dealing with spring allergies include:

  • Excessive scratching or licking of the paws, legs, belly, and/or groin area
  • Pawing at the face, eyes, or ears
  • Head shaking
  • Red, scabbed, or swollen skin
  • Red or inflamed ears
  • Foul odor
  • Watery eyes

Hotspots (sores caused by excessive licking and scratching) are a big concern when it comes to skin issues. Untreated hotspots can lead to secondary infections and cause unnecessary pain and suffering for your pet.

Getting a Handle on Spring Allergies in Pets

Spring allergies can pose a serious health risk to your pet. If you suspect your pet is suffering from allergies, please schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. We can pinpoint the cause of your pet’s atopy and work together to develop a plan that may include prescription medications, over-the-counter antihistamines, immunotherapy, or medicated shampoos/creams.

You can also help your pet at home in the following ways:

  • Soak your pet’s paws daily to ease inflammation and to prevent tracking allergens into the home.
  • Bathe your pet regularly using a hypoallergenic shampoo/conditioner as recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Vacuum and dust your home on a regular basis to prevent the buildup of allergens.
  • Wash pet bedding, blankets, and pillows weekly.
  • Feed your pet a high-quality diet, and ask your veterinarian about omega-3 fatty acid supplements (found in fish oil).

Protect your pet’s skin and overall health by taking preventive measures against spring allergies and remaining alert to possible triggers. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the staff at the Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic with any questions or concerns.