‘Tis the season of allergies. You are sniffling, sneezing, and itching all day long, but did you know your animals may be suffering from seasonal allergies too? The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia (HSNEGA) asked our medical director/veterinarian, Dr. Feroli, the causes of animal allergies and how to help relieve their symptoms.
In order to relieve your pet’s symptoms, first you need to distinguish if the animal has a food, flea, or environmental allergy. Animals with food allergies typically experience chronic diarrhea and gas and are itchy all over. The symptoms of animals with environmental allergies take the form of skin irritation or inflammation, a condition also known as allergic dermatitis. This condition may be caused by pollens, dust mites and molds, various types of grass.
If your pet has an environmental allergy they may develop another symptom known as a hot spot; however, these can occur with flea and food allergies too. Hot spots are typically only found on dogs when their natural bacteria overwhelms an area of skin. A hot spot is an inflamed, infected skin area where the animal may experience bleeding and hair loss. The only way to really tel the difference between food and environmental allergies is a response, or lack of response, to diet changes.
If you see your pet exhibiting any of these symptoms, the best remedy for them is to take the animal to the vet. Your vet may suggest supplements such as Quercetin, Bromelain/Papain, Omega-3 fatty acids, or coconut oil. Some of these supplements work to suppress the release of histamine while others decrease inflammation.
Another remedy to try is giving your animal a bath to wash off any allergens they may have come into contact with. Medicated baths that target itchiness and redness are something to try based on your vet’s recommendation; however, over-bathing may make symptoms worse so only wipe your animal off with a damp cloth. A vet may even prescribe medications such as steroids, antihistamines or Apoquel.
Here at HSNEGA, we know the importance of letting your animals out to play. Just remember to wipe off any allergens your animal may come in contact with as soon as they are back indoors if they have an environmental allergy. With that said, we wish you the best summer full of fun and sun!
Written by Leah Hodges, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern