Cats and dogs can have seasonal or food allergies that come and go, but often get worse as they grow older.
Seasonal allergies can be noticed by the marked increase of your dog or cat scratching more often and in particular body locations. Allergic reactions most often show up on skin, as areas of sensitivity may indicate a clue as to the source of their allergic reaction.
Here are some clues to look for as a starting place:
- Dogs with more itching on the hind quarters may indicate a flea allergy problem.
- Pollen allergies can show up in the under belly and thigh areas indicated by raw areas or just constant scratching and trying to get relief.
- Other reactions, such as rubbing their face or chewing a foot, may indicate food allergies or something else.
Most of the time these are only temporary and fairly mild signs of discomfort, especially with seasonal allergies. But if sores, scabs, hair loss, or patchy areas of irritation occur, it may be time to be more aggressive to ease your pet’s distress.
Before you decide to visit a vet or find a natural soothing and healing remedy to ease their symptoms, you may want to first try to minimize their exposure to potential sources of allergies. This can often eliminate or drastically reduce the problem.
Best tips to eliminate or minimize potential allergy sources:
1. Frequent and regular grooming including bathing, brushing, and combing can help reduce the amount of pollen, fleas or other irritating sources from constant contact with their skin.
2. Vacuuming and dusting regularly can also keep the allergens away, especially if dust, pollen and other air-born irritants are the culprits.
3. Regularly clean your pet’s bedding – both vacuuming and washing the bedding and the area often.
4. Air purifiers and hepa filters on the furnace and vacuum can help keep possible allergy sources from recirculating or building up in the home and main pet area.
5. If you suspect food allergies, you can test your dog or cat by removing one key food type for a period of time to see if anything changes. Typical allergic food groups include: wheat, dairy, chicken, beef, and lamb.
In the meantime, make sure to use natural chemical-free products for bathing, cleaning their ears and teeth, and in any spray you apply to your dog or cat. There are some quality anti-itch pet shampoos you can use, including good natural formulas, some with oatmeal or soothing herbs which can help immensely.
Watch their irritated areas to make sure they don’t get infected or become more of a problem.
If all else fails or your patience gives out and your dog or cat seems to be in too much discomfort, you can schedule a visit to your vet. The more you can do to try to isolate and alleviate the problem the better, as the vet regimen could be lengthy and expensive if a series of allergy tests need to be run.
Remember that pets may be more sensitive to the environment than people at times. If you are having greater allergies to pollen this season than normal, the same source may be causing distress for your furry family member too. So help your pet and help yourself too with a cleaner environment to start!