Season of the itch: Treating pets’ allergies
By Dr. Gerald Bellin, DVM
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC
The itchy season is in high stride right now for our pets. This can be very irritating for not only our furry friends but us as pet parents too. You may remember the sleepless nights because your doggie is shaking the bed all night with scratching or licking its feet until they are hairless and bright red. This is commonly a result of seasonal environmental allergies, or “atopy.”
Allergies can present in many different ways depending on the source of the allergy. Most commonly seen are environmental, flea, and food allergies. Most of us think allergies show up as stuffiness, congestion, and puffy eyes, but this is not the case for our pets. Dogs and cats usually have continued skin and ear problems over weeks to months.
Just as in humans, these allergies are a lifelong commitment. There may be chronic skin irritation, itching, licking, and skin infection as the allergies progress. Eventually, we need to help our pets feel less uncomfortable or painful.
There are different ways to support our pets’ immune systems. As a result, veterinarians will slow down and reduce pets’ allergy signs. Over-the-counter products such as vitamin E and omega fatty acids will help support your pet’s skin as an effective barrier to allergies. Omega fatty acids can be found in many different forms, such as pills, capsules, oils or lotions to put on food, and topical lotions.
What we will see in these supplements are primarily omega-3 fatty acids or fish oils, which help reduce inflammation in the skin and also joints. Some supplements will even have omega-6 fatty acids such as linoleic acid from vegetable oils. Omega-6s help stimulate skin and hair growth but will also sustain bone health, regulate metabolism, and even maintain the reproductive system.
Allergies cause havoc to our pets and us if left untreated. The results of severe seasonal allergies can cause chronic ear and skin infections, which lead to the itching, licking, and sleepless nights.
If these sleepless nights have arrived, there still are options. Ask your veterinarian about what many clients refer to as the “miracle drug” for allergies, having minimal side effects. Even newer is an injectable treatment that will reduce the itch within a day and provides continued relief for four to eight weeks.
If your dog is having allergy issues, please contact your veterinarian for an evaluation and to discuss a treatment plan to get your furry friend on the way to feeling much needed relief from the itchiness.
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC is located at 210 Airpark Road in Marshfield and online at wildwoodanimalhospital.net.