Is your pet allergic to grass?
Are you suffering from hay fever and allergies this summer? Well, just like you, your pets may also suffer, particularly with grass allergies. But how can you spot the signs of pet allergies and help your pet?
Pet allergies are a lot more common than people think. They can suffer from bacterial allergies, food allergies, contact allergies, flea allergies and the most common – inhalant allergies.
The first thing to do if you think your pet is allergic to something is to identify what type of allergy it is – that way it will be easier to find the cause.
A tip to help you identify the allergy is to keep a diary of when the allergy appears or make a note of what doesn’t cause it to eliminate the allergen. Another way to identify the problem is to seek professional help by getting your vet to complete some allergy testing on your pet.
Grass allergies are a type of inhalant allergy and are the most frequent allergy found in pets. The condition is similar to hay fever in humans but in pets it normally affects the skin more than the respiratory system. It’s important to try and combat the problem, especially in younger dogs, as this seasonal allergy can turn into a permanent one.
Before you can combat the allergy problems, you have to identify the problem and to do this you need to look out for the symptoms. These can consist of severe irritation, particularly around the feet, armpits, stomach and face. Usually pets will chew and scratch their skin so severely that their skin can become infected and they may lose their hair.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to treat grass allergies. Of course avoidance is the best treatment but this is very difficult to do. One preventative measure you can take is to keep grass at your home cut short and fence off areas if necessary.
Bathing your pet regularly so that the grass pollen doesn’t stick to their coat is also advised and recent research by Pet Education has found that fatty acids have been found to reduce symptoms that are associated with allergies in dogs so feeding your dog a diet high in this ingredient could also help. Fatty acids can be found in fish oil, which is easy and safe to give to your dog.
If grass allergies persist then it’s possible to get steroids and antihistamines from your vet. These medicines can stop the allergic reaction as soon as your pet is exposed to the irritant. Another consideration are allergy injections, these are only usually prescribed as a last resort and give pets a small amount of grass pollen over a series of weeks or months with the aim of helping them build up resistance over time.
Pet Education’s research shows that allergy injections have an 80% success rate in reducing and possibly preventing allergy symptoms but they should only ever be used as a last resort.