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Can Dogs and Cats Have Seasonal Allergies?

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? If so, you know how terrible they can make you feel. However, you may not be the only one suffering from this problem in your home. Your furry friends may also react to environmental allergens, making them unhappy and uncomfortable. As with humans, animals’ immune systems can perceive pollen and other allergens as a threat, leading to an adverse reaction. 



Do Cats and Dogs Get Seasonal Allergies?



The answer to this question is a resounding yes. When humans inhale allergens, they experience the familiar respiratory symptoms you know all too well. These include watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and sniffing. 


With cats and dogs, allergens can enter the body through the skin and inhaling. When they have seasonal allergies, proteins from the environmental allergens stimulate inflammatory cells. That leads to itching, which can cause infections and misery. 


Unfortunately for your furry companion, pets are more prone to seasonal allergies than wild animals. Domestic animals probably have a weakened immune system due to living indoors with their human friends. 



Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies in Cats and Dogs



You can protect your four-legged friend by knowing how to spot signs of seasonal allergies and address the problem immediately. The most common symptoms include:


  • Rubbing or scratching the ears with the paws or against furniture.
  • Hair loss and redness around the muzzle, chin, and eyes.
  • Waxy ear discharge with a foul odor.
  • Brown discoloration or bald spots on the body due to excessive licking.
  • Reddened, scaly skin.
  • Foot inflammation due to excessive licking.



The Need for Veterinary Care



Many of the allergy symptoms cats and dogs show are similar to those of other health issues. So, it can be pretty tricky to recognize them for what they are, but you must do so. As cats and dogs scratch their itchy places, they can create shedding, hot spots, and baldness. These can develop into infections and open sores. Your pet will only become more miserable without treatment.



Diagnosing Seasonal Allergies in Dogs and Cats



Seasonal allergies in your dog or cat manifest as itchy skin. It can be hard to tell them apart from other skin allergies, such as those caused by flea bites and food. So, scheduling a veterinary visit as soon as you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above would be best. 

Your veterinarian will look at a cyclical or seasonal pattern to your pet’s symptoms. They will also examine where the itching occurs and consider any dietary changes. The vet will then look for signs of flea dirt or flea bites and rule out other conditions. 


If seasonal allergies are the problem, intradermal skin testing will help your veterinarian determine the specific substance your cat or dog is reacting to before recommending the appropriate treatment.


Unfortunately, your pet cannot tell you exactly how they feel. So, it would help to know the signs and symptoms of seasonal allergies in pets. The symptoms they experience often differ from what people experience. While allergies may cause you to experience itchy eyes, your animal companion may suffer from itchy skin. 


For more on pet allergies, visit Santa Monica Pet Medical Center at our office in Santa Monica, California. Call (310) 393-8218 to book an appointment today.

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