Humans aren’t the only ones affected by hay fever. It’s true—when allergy season rolls around, you may not be the only one sneezing and itching. Your pet may be too.
Pet allergies are usually caused by the same thing human allergies are: your pet’s immune system meets an allergen or antigen it doesn’t like and reacts the same way our bodies do. The allergens that set off allergic reactions in pets are often similar to ours as well, including pollen, mold and mildew, and dust mites.
The most common reactions among pets come in the form of dermatitis. Itchy skin, rash, and hair loss are all common signs. Pets can also suffer from the same hay fever we do, so coughing, sneezing and wheezing are also red flags your dog or cat may be suffering from allergies.
Hay fever is no fun, for you or your pet.
Photo by protographer23/Courtesy Flickr
The good news? There are quite a few ways to treat pet allergies, and they don’t have to come from your medicine cabinet. Here are a few ways you can treat your dog or cat at home:
• Monitor the pollen count. By monitoring the pollen count, just as you would for yourself, you can tell whether it’s safe to go on a long hike with Fido, or whether a quick trip outside is best that day.
• Wipe your pet’s paws when they enter your home. This will help your allergies as well as your pet’s, because it will prevent them from tracking pollen throughout your home. Taking your shoes off at the door will help as well.
• Dust and vacuum your house regularly. Dust mites may be to blame for your pet's allergy woes, so it's important to keep your house as spotless and dust-free as possible to help relieve symptoms.
• Give your pet a bath weekly. This may be a struggle, but a dip in the tub once a week will also help prevent home exposure to outdoor allergens.
If your pet’s itchy skin still prevails after you try the above tips, turn to these at-home treatments to give your furry friend some relief:
• Peppermint oil: Simply rub over your pet’s red patches of skin for itch relief.
• Chamomile or oat straw: Mix either of these herbs with bath water to sooth your pet’s skin.
• Apple cider vinegar: Draw a bath mixed with half apple cider vinegar and half lukewarm water. Allow your pet to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
• Oatmeal: Give your pet an oatmeal bath just like your mom did when you had the chicken pox. Simply mix 1/2 cup grinded oatmeal with lukewarm water until the oatmeal dissolves. Allow your dog to soak 10 to 15 minutes.
If after trying a few of these methods relief still seems nowhere in site, visit your family’s veterinarian to get your pet back to doing what it loves—spending time with you—rather than suffering from seasonal allergies.