Spring is a beautiful time of the year. Nature, no longer in hibernation, slowly comes to life again reawakening our senses. But as plants and flowers start to bloom so pollens are released causing our senses to react more than we would like. Many of us are all too familiar with seasonal allergies such as hay fever, but have you considered your pet?
Surveys show that more than half of pet owners aren’t aware their furry companions are feeling just as miserable thanks to pollens and other environmental triggers. Our pets are not immune to pollen, dust and mould as they can often experience their own type of hay fever. Instead of sneezing, pets typically experience itchy skin causing them to scratch, lick and bite incessantly hoping for the slightest relief. There are three types of allergies to watch out for this spring…
Occurs when a dog’s skin reacts to pollen, triggering an allergic response such as itching and swelling. Often the skin can become flaky and dry and the feet particularly sensitive causing the dog to lick, bite and scratch the affected areas excessively.
Also known as atopy, it occurs when a dog breathes in pollens from trees, plants and grass causing itchiness and respiratory problems. Usually, this will cause the dog to become itchy all over the body, which becomes extremely uncomfortable! The origin of this disease is unknown although it has been shown there is important hereditary predisposition, i.e. allergic parents will probably have allergic offspring.
Fleas will often lie dormant during winter and re-emerge in springtime. A flea allergy is a complex allergic reaction to proteins in the saliva of the flea. It accounts for between 50% and 80% of all allergic skin disease in dogs. Just one flea is all that is needed to cause the allergic reaction, often presenting symptoms of severe itchiness and swelling. Excessive scratching, biting and licking by the dog can quickly result in open sores and loss of hair.
– by Dr. Megan Kelly, holistic vet consultant to Regal Pet Health