Until I had a dog of my own, I thought seasonal allergies in pets were just a gimmick thought up by pet care companies. Having owned an Australian Shepherd for over three years now, and having dog-sat my parents’ 9-year old Shih Tzu many times, I can safely admit that I was wrong. Seasonal allergies in pets is not only real, it is quite common. Similar to humans, dogs can be allergic to a variety of environmental allergens including ragweed, pollen, dander, dust, mould, and mildew, but unlike humans who manifest allergy symptoms a variety of ways, pet allergies are mainly expressed through their skin.
Without the appropriate care, when seasonal allergies were at their peak, my parents’ Shih Tzu, Callie, constantly scratched behind her ears, licked her paws and bit her skin (to the point that it would bleed). Upon learning that Callie suffers from seasonal allergies, my parents, at the recommendation of their veterinarian, switched her food to Royal Canin. The formulaic Skin Care and Skin Support food by Royal Canin assists in treating non-specific skin disease and environmental allergies in dogs. The Skin Support formula has improved Callie’s condition by prohibiting bacterial growth and helping her skin heal. Although she still scratches from time to time, it’s nowhere near as bad as it was and her skin no longer bleeds from persistent scratching.
The three areas to pay attention to when suspecting seasonal allergies in your dog are their ears, skin, paws (ESP). Dogs suffering from seasonal allergies will scratch a lot, won’t want their ears touched and may excessively chew on their paws. It is recommended that dogs displaying any of these signs see a veterinarian for a thorough exam and proper diagnosis.
In addition to feeding your pet quality food that is high in fatty acids and formulated to strengthen skin, there are other ways to help manage your dog’s seasonal allergies, including:
- Bathing: Nothing soothes itchy, irritated skin like a lukewarm bath. If your suffering pet enjoys baths, try bathing them. Just make sure to use a gentle, allergen-free shampoo (or none at all).
- Grooming: Make brushing your pet a part of their daily routine. Allergens can easily stick to fur, and brushing is a great way to get them out. Besides that a soft brush feels great on itchy skin!
- Vacuuming: Those outdoor allergens can easily make their way indoor. By regularly vacuuming you minimize the irritants in your house and make your pet (and anyone else who may be suffering) a little more comfortable.
Together these three simple things, combined with quality food, such as Royal Canin’s Skin Care and Skin Support formulas, will minimize your dog’s allergies and make spending time outside in the warmer weather all the more enjoyable!
*Please note: I received compensation for writing this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*
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