Spring brings with it wonderful weather, beautiful flowers, baby animals and…seasonal allergies. Just as many humans suffer from itchy, scratchy throats, runny noses and weepy eyes, pets too can suffer from the effects of seasonal allergies. Like their human counterparts, pets’ immune systems run into allergens or antigens that it dislikes, like mold, mildew, pollen and dust mites, and reacts in ways that are unpleasant for the pet. Fortunately, there are things pet owners can do to help their furry companions cope with these environmental irritants.

Recognizing a Pet’s Allergies

Pets in general can respond to seasonal allergies in ways that are different from humans, and specific pets can respond in specific ways. Usually, pet allergies result in skin inflammation or irritation, more commonly referred to as allergic dermatitis. The pet will respond to this condition by scratching himself excessively, or even by chewing or biting at certain parts of his body or rubbing himself against the carpet, furniture or walls. Unfortunately, this only serves to make the condition even worse–to the point where their skin will become so inflamed that it is very sensitive and sore to even the gentlest touch. In really aggravated conditions, the pet may even experience hair loss, hot spots, scabbing and open sores on their skin.

Other signs and symptoms of pet allergies include ear infections, respiratory symptoms like watering eyes, sneezing, runny nose and a general redness of mucous membranes. If your pet is suffering from seasonal allergies, it is important to take action to help them deal with these allergies.

Dealing With a Pet’s Allergies

As is the case with humans, full allergy relief usually comes through a multi-tiered approach. Some effective strategies include:

● Washing your pet’s body to get rid of allergens in their coat. Since you may be giving them baths at least weekly or even more often, it is advisable to find a shampoo that is specially formulated for inflamed or sensitive skin and will not dry out their skin.

● Washing your pet’s paws every time them come in from outdoors. This will help minimize the amount of allergens they bring into the house.

● Cleaning and vacuuming floors and bedding on a regular basis, using non-toxic products, in order to keep the home as allergen-free as possible.

● Strengthening your pet’s immune system by providing well-balanced, high protein meals that are free from unnecessary fillers and animal by-products.

You can also make sure your air conditioner filters are changed every month and that your vacuum has an allergen filter. If your pet is still very uncomfortable, consider checking into an over-the-counter antihistamine medication through your veterinarian.