Seasonal Allergies For Your Long Beach Dogs & Cats
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
It’s that time of year. The grass, trees, and flowers are springing to life. The days get longer and much to the excitement of your four-legged friend, so do your evening walks! And then…
Just like that, seasonal allergies have begun. Queue the sneezing, runny noses, and itchy, watery eyes. The symptoms are easy to recognize in yourself, but what about in your pup?
We get so many questions about allergies and treatment from our clients, so we wanted to provide a resource of what allergies are, how to spot them, and ultimately how to manage them.
What to Look For:
The truth is, allergies are fairly common in dogs. Their symptoms can be a little less obvious, but they are also easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for.
Chewing and licking of feet: Have you ever seen your pup do this? We know we have! Chewing and licking can be a great indicator of your dog having an allergic response to something.
Pink Stains: It is also common in lighter colored dogs to see pink staining of the fur, especially around and in between the paws.
Excessive Scratching: This includes the well-known acrobatic scratching of the head with their back paws, as well as rubbing their bodies against rugs, couches, bushes, or other surfaces.
Hair loss: This can be a scary one! Hair loss can occur in patches or can be sporadic. It can also be very disconcerting. However, once you recognize the cause, it is often an easy fix to remove the allergen or treat it. Your pup will be back to normal before you know it!
Red patches: You may have seen or heard of these before and may know of them as hot spots. They can be ugly to look at and very uncomfortable for your dog. But, with proper treatment, under the care of a vet, they are often easily resolved.
Human Reactions: Of course, your dog can present allergies similarly to humans as well! Sneezing and itchy eyes? If your pup looks the way you feel when you’re having allergies, it might be a sign that he’s having them, too!
Environmental or Seasonal Allergies:
Sometimes you may notice that your pup is having a reaction that might be caused by things such as dust, dust mites, grass, pollen, or flea bites. If you notice that there are lesions on the top or bottoms of your pup’s feet, it most likely is an indicator that there are some environmental allergies going on.
Here in Long Beach, there are always things blooming in the warm weather, so your dog can be exposed to new seasonal allergies at any time. The more he’s exposed, the more intense his reactions can become as well. If your pup is having allergic reactions, here are a few things you may be able to do to help ease your dog’s suffering (as always, please consult your veterinarian before implementing any of these remedies):
Fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acid supplements like fish oil can help strengthen the skin’s barrier, reduce inflammation, and can help all types of allergies.
Antihistamines: The same over the counter antihistamines that people take can be given to dogs to help reduce itching. However, not all over the counter meds are created equal. We suggest chatting with your vet about which one will work best for your pup and to get the correct dosage.
Flea control and prevention: It’s common for dogs to have an allergic reaction to flea saliva, which can cause itchy spots and red bumps. Ridding your dog of a pesky flea infestation can be a difficult task. Check with your vet to make sure you have the appropriate flea and tick medicine and make sure to apply as directed. You can help keep fleas out by regularly vacuuming, using a flea comb, and washing your dog’s bedding weekly with hypoallergenic, non-toxic detergents.
Testing: For severe allergies, a skin test can help pinpoint the problem of moderate to severe allergies. Allergens can be pinpointed by which injections cause reactions. Your vet can create an immunotherapy shot that can be given at home or by your vet.
Antibiotics: If your dog’s constant licking, chewing, or rubbing has created a skin infection, talk to your vet about some topical antibiotic.
Environmental control: Taking a few simple action steps such as preventing your dog from making contact with known irritants can go a long way toward providing relief. It could include some lifestyle changes, especially if your dog is allergic to things such as grass. If you can’t make a change to your environment, try giving him a foot bath immediately after a walk to ensure the irritants are removed from his paw immediately after your walks. Keeping up with a regular bath schedule can also help with built-up bacteria.
Steroids: For severe cases, steroids might be required to quickly reduce itching. Talk to your vet first to see if this is the right course of action for your dog as steroids can cause other negative side effects.
In some cases food allergies may be why your dog might be having a reaction, especially if you notice that your dog is breaking out after mealtime. However, food allergies only account for 20% of all allergies, so make sure to talk with your veterinarian before making any major diet changes!
If your dog is breaking out during or after mealtime, it could be an indicator that they’re allergic or have an intolerance to certain proteins such as chicken, turkey, or beef. Not all foods are created equal and you’ll find that many foods include a different ratio of grains and proteins. It’s important to find one that your dog thrives on.
Food allergies affect the gastrointestinal tract and can show up as vomiting and diarrhea and can even lead to inflammatory bowel disease. However most food intolerances can show up similarly, so it may be difficult to determine what is an intolerance and what is an allergy. For dogs, the most common food allergies are beef, chicken, and/or dairy. For cats, they are beef, fish, and/or dairy. However, you may have a pet who doesn’t have any food allergies or intolerances!
Diagnosing a food allergy involves getting your veterinarian involved to ensure proper dietary regimes for eliminating potential allergy causing ingredients via a therapeutic diet and reintroduction of foods to determine causes. If you think your pet is suffering during mealtime, make sure to make an appointment with your family vet to ensure the correct course of action towards proper dietary nutrition and healing. If you’re in the Long Beach area, we recommend our friends over at the Bixby Animal Clinic.
In the end, our dogs are not so different than us, and they don’t like suffering from allergies either! We all want our dogs to be happy, healthy and care-free. Spring and Summer may present its challenges but with a little observation, trial and error, you’ll be back in the great outdoors -- together, in no time!