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Stop the Scratch: Managing Your Pet's Seasonal Allergies



Vets get a huge number of calls about pet allergies this time of year — a whopping 25% of all pet patients seen through TeleTails have allergy complaints. Summer corresponds with a rise in allergies for two reasons: Warm weather means pets go outside more often, where dogs and cats will encounter allergy-causing plants are in full bloom.


Pets suffer from many of the same types of allergies as humans. For instance, many pets with allergies develop atopic dermatitis, a skin condition that shows up as an itchy red rash — a condition called eczema in humans. Luckily, we can diagnose allergies in pets fairly easily, and once treated, they’ll enjoy a big step up in their quality of life. Consulting with a vet may also improve the owner’s quality of life — one study also drew a connection between atopic dermatitis and behavioral problems, including excitability, begging for food, and excessive grooming.


But this is not a moment for Dr. Google. Some symptoms of allergies can also be a symptom of more serious diagnoses, so professional evaluation is a must. For instance, red eyes could be a sign of a dust allergy — but they could be caused by an glaucoma, or an ulcer. Both of those conditions require immediate intervention. Getting professional help saves clients from wasting time and money on remedies that may only prolong their pet’s suffering.


What Causes Allergies in Pets?


Habitats can make a big difference. Dogs in rural areas have lower rates of allergies than dogs in urban areas, likely because they are exposed to a wider variety of allergens. If you suspect your pet of having allergies, close the windows to keep pollen out. With the windows closed, you’ll want to turn your air-conditioning on — keep in mind that changing the air-conditioning filter can also cut down on allergens, as can adding a HEPA filter to get rid of dust and mold particles.


What To Look For — Signs and Symptoms


Allergies can manifest through a wide array of symptoms.


Itching is a clear sign of allergies, but all dogs and cats scratch. So how can clients tell allergies apart from normal behavior? If a dog or cat is experiencing an excessive itch, they’ll stop what they’re doing to lick, bite, or chew on themselves. On a scale of 1 to 10, if the intensity of scratching is a 6 or higher, it’s worth consulting with a vet.


Pet and human allergies often have environmental cau