If you live anywhere like Atlanta – the city that turns yellow in the spring – you know about allergies. Allergic reactions usually arise from harmless compounds, but as in humans, if left untreated, pet allergies can become serious.
The symptoms of seasonal allergies are fairly typical for us pet parents, ranging from sneezing and nasal congestion to coughing, watery eyes and a scratchy throat. And according to Novartis, allergies can be far more dangerous for our pets. It’s a total conflict with the notion we should be outside with our pets.
What to look out for
Cats and dogs are more prone to frequent itching, scratching and licking, and subsequent hair loss and skin irritation, according to researchers. And left untreated, the reactions can – and often do – cause bacterial skin infections. Sometimes it’s a “hot spot,” which is typically treated with over-the-counter medications. But a recent Novartis survey indicated most pet parents didn’t know when the effects of allergies were more serious.
- 44% of pet owners surveyed admitted that they didn’t realize their pets can suffer from allergies as do humans
- More than half of pet owners did not realize pet allergies are more likely to manifest during the human allergy season
- 43% of pet owners admitted that they wouldn’t know how to tell if their pet was suffering from an allergy
- Fewer than one in three pet owners are aware of one of the most common allergic skin diseases – atopic dermatitis in dogs and allergic dermatitis in cats
- 70% of pet owners admit they know little or nothing about treatment options available for pet allergies
- 80% would like to know more about how to recognize and treat pet allergies
- 46% of pet owners suffer from an allergy themselves, the most common being hay fever
If your pet is scratching, coughing, biting his fur or coat, or chewing his feet this allergy season, it’s best to ask a veterinarian for help. At home, it’s widely recommended we provide relief by wiping pets down to remove allergens after being outdoors and increasing the number of baths. Medicated shampoos or sprays can provide relief to pets and may reduce hot spots or infections from biting and chewing.
Read more from the Novartis study.