Late summer through fall is a time of year when allergies are very common in pets. The combination of warm, moist air, more time spent outdoors, time spent swimming, and the presence of lots of grass and pollen and mold in the air, all conspire to make our pets itchy. Whereas humans tend to sneeze, have runny noses and itchy eyes, dogs tend to have itchy skin, ears, feet and bottoms when they have allergies.
The first step you can take to keep your pets from having an allergy flare up is to make sure they are on an effective flea and tick preventative. Dogs and cats are very allergic to fleas, and it makes them very itchy! So keep the fleas off of them!
More frequent bathing during allergy season can also help keep itchiness at bay. As long as your pet doesn't have any sores, you can use a good all purpose dog shampoo and bathe as often as a couple times a week. Make sure you use room temperature water (hot water tends to irritate their skin), rinse the shampoo out completely, and dry them off thoroughly.
If your pet is noticeably itchy for more than a day or two, if sores are beginning to develop, or if they are beginning to smell bad, you need to take them to the vet. Allergies very often lead to skin infections. If your pet has a skin infection, it will not go away on its own. It needs to be treated medically. If it is not treated, your pet will continue to be miserable, and they may even pose a threat to your health. Although it isn't common, dogs can sometimes spread their skin infections to the humans in their home, especially if the person has an immune system that is not functioning well or if they have skin problems of their own, a burn for example.
Every pet that comes to our clinic will have their skin, ears and nails examined for infections. We will then prescribe medication (oral or topical) to treat whatever infections we find. If the pet is still itchy after taking care of the infection, we may prescribe additional medications to reduce their itchiness.
Pets with mild season itchiness in most cases can be treated with one medication or another for a few weeks to keep them comfortable during itchy season. Pets with more severe or long standing allergies may benefit from additional testing to find out precisely to what they are allergic.
If your dog (or cat) is itchy, don't let them be miserable. We can help them! Call today for an appointment: