We hate seeing our furry friends suffering from allergies, itchy and miserable. Diagnosing and managing allergies in pets is an ongoing battle, because aging pets may suddenly show signs for the first time, or their signs may worsen. Try these tips to battle your allergy sufferer’s itch.
#1: Schedule a veterinary visit for your pet
The most important step in managing your pet’s allergies is a visit to our hospital. While allergies are one of the most common causes of itchy skin, many other conditions, including mange, thyroid conditions, bacterial infections, and some forms of cancer, can make your pet scratch. We need an accurate diagnosis before choosing a treatment plan that will make your pet comfortable. If you wish to try at-home care, always check with us first before giving your pet supplements or over-the-counter medications, which may cause harmful side effects when given with medications your pet is already taking. We can also help with dosing questions and the supplements that best suit your pet’s particular needs.
#2: Invest in high-quality flea prevention
If your pet is struggling with itchy skin, a flea-prevention routine is the best course. Even if your pet doesn’t have a flea allergy, she will be more comfortable if you prevent insects from biting. Research your flea-prevention options, taking care to choose a product that suits your pet; for example, some pets can’t tolerate the flavor additives in oral flea preventives, while others have sensitive skin and can’t tolerate a topical product. Whether you choose an oral or topical product, ensuring that it’s high quality and recommended by your veterinarian is most important, because many over-the-counter products are ineffective and can even make your pet sick.
#3: Bathe your pet routinely with soap-free shampoo
Many pet owners bathe their pets with baby shampoo, believing it is gentle on animals, but baby shampoo actually strips all the healthy oils from your pet’s coat, leading to dry skin and an even itchier pet. Stick with soap-free shampoos to avoid removing healthy skin oils and refrain from over-bathing. If your pet is battling a skin infection as well as itchy skin, medicated shampoos that can help are available.
#4: Remove pollen from your pet’s skin
We understand that bathing your pet may be a challenge, and frequent baths can harm your pet’s skin, but there are alternatives. Your pet may react to pollen she picks up when she walks or lays in the grass, creating an itchy, irritated mess of her belly and paws. Remove the allergen by wiping your pet’s feet and belly with an unscented baby wipe when she comes indoors. Dark tea, such as a Lipton tea bag steeped until it’s strong and dark, is another option. Keep the tea beside your door and wipe your pet’s paws and belly when she comes inside. The tannins found in tea act as an astringent and anti-inflammatory agent, reducing the allergic reaction. Tannins can also be found in red wine, but who wants to waste wine wiping off their dog’s paws?
#5: Set an ear-cleaning schedule for your pet
Many pets don’t appreciate their ears being cleaned, especially when they are inflamed and infected. Teach your pet that ear cleaning can be a pleasant experience by starting regular maintenance when her ears aren’t painfully infected. Set a regular ear-cleaning schedule and invest in a quality cleaner that combats yeast and bacteria. Monthly cleanings should be sufficient maintenance, although you may need to clean your pet’s ears weekly during allergy season. When you routinely clean your pet’s ears, you can also keep an eye out for signs of excess debris, redness, or irritation that may indicate an infection is brewing. Preventive ear cleanings also help avoid painful ear infections, a common sign of allergies.
Is your pet suffering with seasonal allergies and itching for relief? Schedule an appointment so we can halt your furry friend’s allergy flares.