Lately I have noticed my pets scratching a lot. At first I didn’t think too much about it; like humans, animals get itchy and will scratch from time to time. But this seemed to be a little more than normal. Then I thought, fleas? But after a thorough examination I knew that wasn’t the cause. Stress? Although that can cause obsessive behaviour such as scratching or licking nothing had changed to induce a stress response, so we quickly ruled that out.
Then we finally figured it out. After some research, we discovered that just like humans our pets can suffer from environmental allergies.
Unlike humans – who may suffer with itchy, watery eyes and sneezing – dogs tend to express their allergies through their skin.
When allergy causing molecules (allergens) in the dog’s environment are absorbed through the skin, the result is often inflammation and itchiness (what veterinarians call atopic dermatitis).
Interestingly, these allergens can be any of the same common allergens that people suffer from, such as: mould, mildew, dust mites, insect bites, ragweed or various pollens.
The reality is these allergies present themselves quite differently in dogs than in humans. That’s why it’s so important pet owners know the signs.
One of the most telling signs of seasonal allergies in dogs is itching and scratching. Dogs with seasonal allergies will be reluctant to have their ears handled, may scratch a lot, have itchy, red skin or excessively chew on their paws.
An easy way to remember the signs is to think ESP: Ears, Skin, Paws.
Dogs displaying any of these signs should be attended to by a veterinarian for a thorough exam and diagnosis.
Thankfully, there is help available and our pets can find relief from their allergy symptoms.
Veterinarians have a number of treatment options to both alleviate discomfort of the symptoms as well as address the underlying issue of seasonal allergies.
These options can include:
- Topical therapies
- Oral medications
- Soothing shampoos
- Desensitization (immunotherapy or allergy shots/drops)
- Veterinary exclusive pet food specifically designed to address environmental allergies
Royal Canine Skin Care pet food is formulated with a patented skin barrier blend, antioxidants and essential fatty acids to help with the management of environmental allergies, Skin Care is clinically proven to reduce signs of atopic dermatitis.
Clinical research has shown that diets formulated specifically to address a dog’s environmental allergies play a key role in restoring the skin barrier.
Additional information can be found at royalcanin.ca/itchypetseeyourvet or on Twitter by following @RoyalCaninCA or #ItchyPetSeeYourVet.
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