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Achoo! Spring is pet allergies time...

A timely reminder on pet allergies plus the most common dog breeds affected by allergies and how to protect your pet this spring season, thanks to Pet Insurance Australia.

“Many pets across Australia might be starting to show common symptoms of spring allergies around this time of year,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “From flaky dry skin to the dreaded itch, sadly many pets will be feeling the effects of the warmer weather and increased pollen.”

Common Symptoms of Dog Allergies include:

✔️ Head shaking
✔️ Scratching
✔️ Chewing/licking feet or underbody
✔️ Dry dull coat
✔️ Flaky skin
✔️ Rashes
✔️ Hot spots – red irritated areas
✔️ Itchy on the base of the tail
✔️ Hair loss
✔️ Redness under legs

“Allergies have become far more common in our dogs and cats over the past 10 years,” Crighton says. “At some stage, most pet owners will notice their companion animals becoming itchy or uncomfortable due to allergy. We have noticed claims have tripled over the past few years for allergy-related conditions.”

Common reasons include grass, fleas, pollen, food, plants, household chemicals, or another type of contact allergies like shampoo

Since Covid lockdowns were enforced in 2020 many owners are now noticing their pet's allergies and scratching behaviours, allowing pet owners to seek treatment and advice.

“With spring here, we typically see a big jump in cases for atopic allergies,” Crighton says. “This is mainly due to the increase in pollen and grass, but also the emergence of many flowers.”

For pet owners finding the cause can be confusing and frustrating. The hardest part of diagnosing pet allergies is finding the root cause of the problem. Being able to eliminate the stimuli causing the allergy can also lead to headaches for pet owners.
“If your pet is allergic to grass or pollen trying to eliminate this from your pet’s environment is basically impossible,” she says.
“For pets suffering from detrimental allergies, immunotherapy may be suggested and performed by a Veterinarian Dermatologist, while other pets may benefit hugely from adding additional Omega oils to their diets.”

What is Immunotherapy for Allergies?

Known as allergy shots, Allergen Specific Immunotherapy or ASIT, is a very effective treatment to help pets cope with airborne allergies. It can help reduce symptoms and reactions, while some pets can experience a complete cure for their allergies. 

The procedure consists of periodic injections, that contain small amounts of the allergen. Gradually, this is increased. This treatment stimulates the immune system to tolerate the allergen, rather than traditional methods of suppressing the reactions with drugs.

“The key with all pet allergies is quick treatment. Itchy dogs and cats need to be seen by a veterinarian to discuss the possible cause, and help with the itch or possible infections,” Crighton recommends. “Yeast infections can be a common complaint of allergies, they are not only incredibly uncomfortable for your pet, but they can also lead to further complications.”

Other treatments for keeping on top of pet allergies include antihistamine therapy and oral cortisone alongside specially designed shampoos.

Top Tips for Prevention

If your cat or dog typically suffers from spring allergies it’s a good idea to keep them inside on windy days, when mowing the lawn, or following rain when pollen counts quickly rise. 

Also consider increasing their Omega intake in the form of Fish Oil, Flaxseed, or Evening Primrose. Always speak to your vet before supplementing your pet's diet. 

It’s also handy to remember that supplements can take up to six to eight weeks to work. Also feeding quality and nutritionally sound diet is important for our itchy friends.

Top 10 Breeds affected by Allergies

1. West Highland White Terrier
2. Bull Terrier
3. French Bulldog
4. Australian Bulldog
5. British Bulldog
6. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
7. Bullmastiff
8. Boxer
9. Shar-Pei
10. Boston Terrier

Related Topics:

Environmental allergies in dogs: a pain in the skin!


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