WASHINGTON - Allergy sufferers will tell you the season has arrived in many parts of the country, but it's not just humans who suffer. This time of year can be no fun for your pets, too.
Dogs and cats can suffer from allergies right along with their pet parents, but there are things you can do to help. The first step, though, is recognizing that whatever symptoms your pet is suffering from could be allergies-- and figuring out what they might be allergic to.
Dr. Eric Cryan, owner and chief veterinarian at NoVa Mobile Vet in Virginia, said the hot and dry weather can cause your pet to suffer from symptoms including coughing, sneezing, watery eyes just like humans. But your pet might manifest allergies in other ways, like skin issues, itching, hair loss, ear infections or even gastrointestinal issues.
How do you know if your pet is suffering from seasonal allergies-- or some other kind of allergy? Dr. Cryan said some tests that are usually done on humans, like skin tests, are harder to pull off on dogs or cats because they don't sit still (and they're furry!). However, there are blood tests and other kinds of tests that a veterinarian can perform to determine if allergies are what is causing your four-legged friend to suffer.
Dr. Cryan said pets who suffer from environmental or food allergies tend to be allergic to multiple things, which can make trying to figure out what they're reacting to even more challenging.
Once you know what your pet is allergic to, you can move onto the business of treating them. Dr. Cryan said it's best to use the least amount of medicine possible to get the job done. Instead, he recommends starting with supplements and changes in diet to try and provide your pet with some relief.
If that doesn't work, your veterinarian may prescribe antihistamines, antibiotics, steroids and some other newer drugs that have less side effects than steroids used in pets years ago. They may come in the form of pills, drops or injections.
Pet parents can also try holistic treatments including acupuncture, Omega-3 fatty acids and other natural treatments to give their furry friends some relief.
Some breeds are more susceptible to allergies than others. And believe it or not, some pets can even be allergic to humans, just like some humans have animal allergies!
More information: NovaMobileVet.com