CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Seasonal allergies affect our pets just like they affect us. While we tend to get a stuffy nose or runny eyes, our pets instead will scratch or lick their paws. This act of licking and scratching can cause further problems.
Allergies are one of the top reasons people take their pets to the vet during the spring and summer months.
As temperatures heat up, man’s best friend will jump at every opportunity to play outside.
Dr. RuthAnn Lobos said pet parents need to be aware of how allergies impact their pets and why protecting their skin is important.
“It’s our barrier from external parasites and bacteria and all of that kind of stuff that keep our pets nice and healthy," she said. "A healthy skin coat can lead to overall health for our pets."
Whether it’s itchiness, hives, swelling, inflamed skin, or sneezing, Lobos said constant scratching can break the skin barrier and open it up to infection.
“Their skin can get really infected and they may need things like antibiotics or other topical therapies in order to get that skin coat back to where they need it,” she said.
Lobos also notes the most common type of allergy for pets is a flea allergy.
“A lot of pet parents think, 'If I don’t see fleas, then my pet can’t be allergic to fleas'. But it’s the saliva when that flea bites them and their body overreacts. So they feel like they’re crawling with fleas when in fact they’ve only been bitten by one,” she said.
Here are some tips to protect your pets from seasonal allergies.
- Have your pet on flea control year-round.
- Don’t overwash your pet because this can dry out their skin.
- A healthy diet with good sources of protein, omega-3, and fatty acids helps promote healthy skin.
- Be sure to examine your pet’s skin and feel around for anything unusual.
- Get outside and be active with your pet. This will boost their immune system and lead to overall good health.