TYLER, TX (KLTV) -Spring is here, and that means it’s also time for allergies. Not just people are affected; your pets can suffer, too.
Is your dog keeping you awake at night because he is constantly scratching or chewing his paws?
“It’s something we see all year round but especially during the spring time when allergies are worse for us. That’s when it’s the worst for our dogs,” said Dr. Seth Shirey, a veterinarian at Starnes Animal Clinic.
He may be suffering from allergies to pollen or fleas.
“It doesn’t take much. I mean just dogs going outside to urinate and defecate in the yard, touching that grass, inhaling that pollen. You can’t get away from that, whether you’re inside or outside,” Shirey explained.
He said they’re similar to human allergies and are even caused by the same things, but the symptoms are different.
“Instead of reacting to those allergies by coughing or sneezing and having watery eyes, they react to those allergens by inflamed itchy skin,” Shirey said.
For Howard Kirkpatrick, pets are part of the family.
“It’s important for him to be comfortable because it’s my responsibility to take care of him as a pet owner,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick recently took his dog Spanky into see Shirey for his seasonal shot after noticing his four-legged friend itching all the time.
“He can get so bad that he starts gnawing raw spots off on himself. If I don’t take care of it or have it taken care of, he’ll start scratching so much,” Kirkpatrick said.
Shirey recommended watching out for rashes or swollen, itchy skin, especially in the areas where two types of skin come together.
“You will notice probably the two main things that owners notice when it comes to allergies is either licking the paws, chewing at the butt right over the tail head, or shaking or flopping those ears,” Shirey said.
Experts say treating allergies can be tough; it’s trial and error.
“We have a lot of options when it comes to treating. There are injections, both steroid injections and non-steroidal. You want to avoid steroidal as much as possible because of the effects of the systems in the rest of the body,” Shirey explained.
Whatever path people decide to take, acting sooner rather than later is the best option.
“If we catch this when the skin is just red and inflamed, boy, I can shut it down immediately, and we will really have no issues as long as we stay on top of it and medicate it appropriately,” Shirey added.
Veterinarians say your best bet is to work with them to figure out your pet’s specific allergy.
Shirey said baths are a good way to cut down on those allergies and get the pollen out of the animal’s fur. He says he wouldn’t recommend bathing them more than once every two weeks.