Seasonal allergies, those unpleasant symptoms such as watery, itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, an itchy palate and sneezing, impact millions of individuals worldwide. Most often experienced during the seasons of Spring and Summer, common allergens include pollen, grass, mold and weed. While many believe that seasonal allergies are exclusive to humans, our furry friends can suffer from them as well.
A common allergy found in cats and dogs is to inhalants, many of which are seasonal. Inhalants include those allergens listed above, with pollen being particularly potent to allergic cats and dogs in Spring and Summer. Seasonal allergies effect dogs and cats in similar ways to humans, with symptoms such as itchy skin, watery eyes and runny noses. Once you have consulted with your veterinarian and had your pet diagnosed with seasonal allergies, there are several ways to treat these symptoms at home.
A great way to begin treating seasonal allergy symptoms at home is by limiting your dog or cat’s exposure to the allergens. If your pet is allergic to grass, weed or tree pollens, keep him or her inside with the windows closed when the pollen counts are high during allergy season. If you allow your cat regular access to the outdoors, consider keeping them strictly inside at the height of allergy season. While it is more difficult to limit the exposure of dog’s, aim for walking them, for example, along the street on the sidewalk as opposed to at the park or in fields. If you find your backyard to be hazardous, opt for games you can play together inside.
You can also bathe your dog or cat with a shampoo designed to soothe the skin and reduce itching, such as those made with oatmeal and similar ingredients. While many believe that frequent bathing results in dry skin, which increases itchiness, bathing regularly during allergy season actually reduces the amount of allergens your pet can absorb through their skin.
If you have a diagnosis but limiting exposure to allergens and bathing are not effective enough, return to your veterinarian for further treatment. While home remedies may work for some dogs and cats, many need further intervention. Your veterinarian can prescribe treatments such as medicated shampoos, steroids, prescription creams and injections to help Fido or Fluffy feel better as soon as possible.