Spring is in the air—literally. You might not see it, but you can certainly feel it. Pollen, the biggest culprit of the allergy season, comes alive at this time of the year. It blows around on a breeze, hailing from the many trees and grasses that surround our beautiful state. And if you’re like many seasonal allergy sufferers, that gentle breeze is followed by a sneeze. We’re used to breaking out the Benadryl at the first sign of trouble, but did you know your pet might be suffering along with you?

Recognizing the symptoms

Pets and their humans both experience an immune response to allergens like dust, mold, and pollen. But unlike people who suffer mostly through respiratory symptoms, the histamines that plague dogs and cats primarily affect their skin and coat. It’s a very itchy situation that also causes inflammation.

In fact, one of the first signs your pet is uncomfortable is a general redness throughout his body. Puffy eyes, swollen paws, and a deep pink rear end are all clues that something is bothering your best buddy. Scratching is the biggest indicator that those allergies are literally getting under your pet’s skin. In dogs, you might notice raw, painful hot spots forming from excessive gnawing, licking, and chewing. For cats, excessive grooming can leave bald spots.

Does your pet rub his head and ears against the furniture or drag his bottom across the carpet? Both are his attempts to make that itch go away.

Home treatments to try

When seasonal allergies strike, there are several things you can do at home to help ease your pet’s discomfort:

Frequent baths and foot soaks

Bathing your pet helps get rid of the pollen that’s lingering on his coat, his paws, and inside his ears. Ask your vet about special shampoos that are designed to be gentle on irritated skin. A foot soak is a quick and effective alternative to a full scrub-down and helps those sore, swollen paws feel better.

Extra cleaning around the house

A pet that has been in the yard and rolling around under trees and bushes is more than likely transferring pollen from his feet and his fur into the house. Frequent sweeping, vacuuming, and washing of blankets or bedding that your pet comes into contact with can help keep the allergens at bay.

Stay indoors

Limit time spent out in the elements in exchange for quality time with your pets inside.

Invest in an air purifier

Consider investing in a HEPA filter air purifier that can reduce or eliminate airborne allergens like pollen and dust, and even pet odors. Go a step further by using a HEPA vacuum to tackle allergens already trapped in the carpet, on rugs, and on the furniture.

When to seek advice from a vet

If home care doesn’t seem to be helping your pet’s symptoms or you notice worrisome hot spots, sores, discharge, or yeast (typically in the ears), seek professional advice from a veterinarian. She can prescribe oral and topical treatments or suggest natural supplements to boost immune health and reduce inflammation. She can also help determine if your pet’s allergy symptoms go beyond the seasonal variety.

The caring doctors at Dogwood Veterinary Hospital are your “purrrfect” partners in managing your pet’s seasonal allergy symptoms. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment at (919) 942-6330. We look forward to meeting you.