April showers bring May—Achoo! Ok, level with me here, and let’s cut the clichés. The springtime is a welcome relief from winter, but it brings a whole other set of issues. If Mother Nature has had you reaching for the antihistamines, you must not forget your pup! Our pets can definitely experience seasonal allergies. So pop a Claritin and keep reading, we’ll help you figure out if Fido needs special attention too.
They're Just Like Us
Dr. Mark Macina, a vet who specializes in dermatology at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan says that any allergy a human can have, a dog can possibly have too. So when it comes to seasonal allergies, your pet could be allergic to weeds, grasses, trees, and even pollen. The list is basically endless.
Signs Your Dog May Be Suffering From Allergies
- What You’d Expect: Just like you, your dog is likely to have itchy, runny eyes, and sneezing if he’s allergic to something.
- What You Might Not Expect: Allergies can often affect a dog’s skin, since their coat can trap whatever they might be allergic to and pull it close to their body. If this is the case the skin will become red, moist, and sometimes scabbed. It will also be very itchy.
- Other Symptoms: If Fido is obsessively biting and licking himself, especially licking his paws, it’s time for a trip to the vet.
What You Can Do
- Test Pet Allergies: Just as with people, there’s not an easy cure for allergies in dogs. You’ll just have to do what you can to make your dog more comfortable. Your vet can test your pet for allergies in a manner similar to the way humans are tested, through interdermal skin testing. Then your vet can make recommendations, and possibly tailor vaccines and medicine that pertain to your dog’s specific situation.
In the meanwhile, here are some basic things you can do at home!
- Consider A Raincoat: When it rains lightly, it can help dampen pollen and keep it from flying around and bothering both dogs and humans. However, if it pours, rain can actually kick up allergens and make things worse. We all know that pouring rain doesn’t stop Fido from having to go potty, so consider getting him a functional and stylish raincoat! He’ll turn heads, give you a great photo op, and also stay allergen-free.
- Wipe Down Your Pup: If you go out for a quick walk, and your dog doesn’t get messy enough for a bath, consider using specialized dog wipes on his face, fur and paws. Daily wipes make your pet more comfortable, reduce allergens in your home, and will generally keep your furniture and floors clean from dirty paws.
- Extra Bath-time Fun: To get those skin-irritants out of your dog’s fur, you’ll need to wash him. Make sure to use gentle, soap-free shampoo specialized for dogs. Be sure to rinse well during bath time, and consider a gentle, all natural conditioner to help retain skin moisture and a healthy coat during periods of more frequent bathing.