Allergy season is in full swing, and both pets and people are affected every year. Just like humans, dogs and cats can experience the same environmental allergy conditions that can make them miserable all season long. These five signs can help you determine if your pet is suffering from allergies.
The number one sign of allergies in dogs and cats is itching. Pets will tend to lick, chew and scratch themselves as well as rub on carpet, furniture or grass as way to “scratch the itch.” Often times, pets will lose their hair and develop red skin, bumps, crusts and even pus-filled pimples on their skin as a result of the irritation which allows bacteria into the skin causing an infection.
2. Red, Watery Eyes
This time of year, many pet owners notice their pets have red, watery or itchy eyes. Dust, pollen, dander and other allergens floating in the air can cause irritation to the sensitive conjunctiva tissue (the white part of the eye). Typically, allergies are worse in the spring and fall, but in warm climates they can persist year round. Pets often find relief by rubbing their face on the carpet, furniture, or floor or by scratching and pawing at their eyes.
3. Paw Licking
If your pet has allergies, you’ve probably seen them licking or chewing at their feet. This is a very common sign of environmental allergies. Paw licking occurs because pollen, dust and other allergens stick to the fur and skin causing irritation and itch. Your pet’s paws are constantly in contact with grass and pollen as they walk outside through the yard, dog park or even down the sidewalk. As a result, pets with allergies tend to have the most itch on their feet leading to excessive licking and chewing. All of that saliva mixes with bacteria on the skin and causes brown discoloration or “bronzing” on the fur on the feet. If you notice that the fur on your pet’s paws are becoming discolored, you can
4. Ear Infections
If your dog or cat seems to always be getting ear infections, chances are they have allergies. Head shaking, scratching at ears or holding one ear up or down in an unusual way, are signs of ear infections. Brown, black or yellow debris in the ear canal along with a foul smell are other indications of infection. If you notice a pattern of recurrent ear infections, there’s a good chance that allergies are the underlying cause!
5. Sneezing and “Reverse Sneezing”
Just like people, dogs and cats can have allergy induced sneezing fits. Often times, dogs can experience a “reverse sneeze” in the spring and summer months. This is caused by irritation in the sinuses and appears as though the dog is having a hard time inhaling in through the nose. Although reverse sneezing is usually harmless, it can often be scary for pet owners. If your pet is experiencing sneezing or any discharge from the nose, it is important to have your veterinarian examine your pet and prescribe proper medications to control the allergies and secondary sinus infections that can occur.
Medications are available to reduce the signs of allergies. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, allergy medications can make a big difference in keeping your pet happy and healthy!