My Dog and I: It’s the season to be sneezin’!

Fall is a wonderful time of year, especially, when you are a dog owner. Judging by my own little bundle of love, my Frenchie, Oskar, he enjoys the cooler and less humid days of the season. But these are also the days where leaves and dried-out weeds release sometimes invisible masses of pollen, and other irritants and allergens into the air, right where Ozzie likes to sniff, dig up his heals and is waiting to inhale them.

Just like humans, dogs can trap allergens in their sinuses, and as we all know, fur is also a magnificent magnet for pollutants, which means that Oskar, or your dog, could be covered in triggering pollens. Add to that a mild fall temperatures where fleas are still around and you have one unhappy dog.

In my store I have seen allergies manifest in various ways, but the symptom we have seen the most is plain and simple (and annoying and painful) itching. We have pups that chew their feet raw, some rub their noses, or scoot their little buts across the floor, and others lick their bellies until they are flaming red. Then there are my mystery pups that are so busy itching that they won’t even take time out for a treat; and yet their skin looks perfectly fine.

If you suspect your dog or cat may have allergies, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for an evaluation. Allergies can turn into a chronic and often frustrating (not to mention very costly) disease condition, but in most cases it is treatable. The key, or course, just as with humans, is early determination.

itchy-petsRegardless of the season, in most cases your vet can treat environmental allergies with a combination of methods, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Some of these methods can include:

• Regular bathing with a mild shampoo (preferably oatmeal- or aloe-based, hypoallergenic or medicated)
• Omega-3 and 6 fatty acid supplements (one of my favorites is Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon oil. Farm-raised salmon has its goodness pretty much destroyed by the antibiotics fed to the fish in order to keep the salmon population healthy)
• Allergy shots (also known as allergen-specific immunotherapy)
• Prescription medications (to treat secondary bacterial and fungal infections)

So, don’t despair. And if you feel uncomfortable with your vet’s diagnosis and or treatment choices, go get a second opinion –you would do that for yourself, too. No?!

Happy autumn!








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