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Pets can also suffer from springtime allergies

It may sound strange, but it’s a fact; Fido and Kitty can also experience springtime allergies when pollen and airborne irritants are at their highest. In fact, according to claims data from Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), pets get sneezy too and usually around the same time of year that their owners do.

The VPI data shows that dogs suffer from more allergic reactions, including ear infections and skin rashes. Cats on the other hand seem to have fewer allergies or symptoms, although they can also be susceptible to asthma and bronchitis just like humans.

Pets typically have one of three different types of allergies - flea allergies, airborne allergies and allergies to food. It’s in these three areas that pet owners can take positive steps.

For example, owners can help prevent flea allergies if they make use of a year-round flea protection. This way the animal will be less likely to get a flea bite in the first place. If your pet is already allergic to fleas, year-round protection is a must.

When it comes to inhalant allergies, the same things that apply to humans apply to pets. Pollen season is likely to aggravate any inhalant allergy or asthma in your pet. If your pet does have pollen allergies, you might see itchy skin and hair loss, usually on the head, neck, or ear areas. Keep in mind that human antihistamines won’t necessarily work for your dog, so speak to a qualified veterinarian if you think your pet has pollen allergies.

Food allergies can be as tricky with pets as they are with humans. Your pet can also have patches of itchy skin and hair loss due to a pollen allergy. However, if your pet has a food allergy you should see this type of reaction year round, as opposed to a seasonal pattern. Interestingly enough, your pet could be allergic to the same substances you are! Typical food allergens in pet foods are chicken, beef, wheat and corn.

If your pet has food allergies, don’t despair. A vet can often suggest a diet that will keep Fido fed, yet itch-free. There are new pet food products based on protein and vegetable sources like rabbit, venison or rice that serve as alternatives for pets with food allergies. If your pet does require a special diet, stick with it! It can make all the difference in your pet’s health and happiness.

April 3, 2006

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