Comforting our pets when they are under the weather
Friday, June 24, 2016
Itchy eyes, a runny nose and a sore throat are all too familiar for those of us who suffer from allergies. Although the changing of seasons is a welcome sight for many, the onslaught of pollen and mold can all too literally cause headaches.
But next time you reach for a tissue, keep in mind you might not be the only one suffering. According to Vetinfo, "allergies may affect up to half of American dogs," and research show cats are similarly affected.
There are several types of allergies that affect pets, the most recognizable for pet owners being food allergies. Other animals, insects and even people can cause allergic reactions in our pets, according to AllergicPet.com. But sometimes our pet's misery comes from a source that is more familiar.
Doctors Foster and Smith say that atopy is in fact the "most common form of allergy in dogs and cats," and it is often seasonal. PetFinder says common irritants for pets are dust mites, pollen and mold.
One way to tell which of these may be making your pet miserable is the time of year they are showing symptoms. Ragweed and molds are more prevalent in the fall as the weather turns cool, while pollen is the main offender in the spring. So if your pet is suffering from allergies during one time of year, it may be simple to discover the offender.
So how can you tell if your furry friend is suffering from allergies?
Dr. M. Sra from Winnipeg's Southglen Veterinary Hospital shares that the most visible symptoms are "inflammation, rashes, sores and scabs," but she also says some pets may sneeze, cough and have watery eyes just like their owners.
WebMD has compiled a list of common allergy symptoms in dogs, including:
- Constant licking of paws
- Inflamed or red skin in the ears — this can lead to an increase in ear infections
- Hair loss with flaky and red skin underneath
Cats show many of the same symptoms but may also wheeze, vomit or have diarrhea. Skin irritation and scabs are the most common symptom in cats suffering from allergies.
What can we do to provide our pets with some relief?
While we can't keep our dog inside all the time or put lotion on our cat's itchy skin, there are some ways we can help. Wiping your pet's paws when they come in from the outdoors and bathing them more often can remove the allergens from their fur and reduce further agitation even when they are not outdoors.
Other simple tasks may not just ease your pet's allergies, but your own as well. Consider vacuuming more frequently, even the furniture you and your pet sit on most. Changing your air filters can also keep pollens and molds out of the air your home. Veterinary Place says you can also give your dog doses of common antihistamines, such as Benadryl, but be cautious about giving your dog the correct dose.
If the symptoms are more severe, like "hot spots" (or skin sores) in dogs, then a trip to the vet may be in order. Your veterinarian will be able to treat any wounds properly and will have further recommendations for treating your pet's allergies. He/she may administer a scratch test to determine the cause or give your pet an allergy shot.
Marcelo Gomes puts it perfectly for pet owners when he tells WLNY, "It kind of breaks your heart of course, you want them to be perfect and frolicky."
While most pets don’t enjoy a visit to the vet or the sound of the vacuum, their days will be happier if we take a little extra time to remove allergens from our homes. Next time you are stuck in bed with a box of tissues, your furry friend is sure to show you their appreciation.
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