The sun is shining, the grass is green, and, for many of us, allergy season is in full swing. Pet allergy season often mirrors those in people. You may be wondering, though, what is your pet actually allergic to? Read on for the Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic’s top five list of the most common summer pet allergens.
Our Top Culprits
Pets can be allergic to almost anything. Unlike humans, who tend to have respiratory symptoms (stuffy nose, anyone?), our animal friends tend to exhibit their allergies as skin conditions like itching, redness, ear infections, and hair loss.
Many times it can be difficult to deduce what your pet is actually allergic to. In the case of pets with atopic dermatitis there may be multiple causes. There do tend to be some common players, though.
The most common summer pet allergens that our veterinarians see include:
- Flea bites: Some pets are actually allergic to flea saliva, resulting in intense itching and flea allergy dermatitis
- Insect encounters: Bee stings, spider bites, and the like can result in local swelling and hives.
- Pollens from grasses, trees, and weeds: These airborne allergens can lead to overall itchy skin and may result in an irritated underbelly and/or paws where they make direct contact with the skin.
- Environmental molds: These can be found in the wet grass and near bodies of water.
- Dust and dander: These indoor allergens often subside in the summer as we open our windows, but some pets continue to experience issues year-round.
What You Can Do About Summer Pet Allergens
When it comes to many summer pet allergens, you can’t necessarily avoid them. That doesn’t mean, though, that things are hopeless.
For one, we are better than ever at controlling fleas. We have safer, more effective flea control options each year and can virtually take flea allergy dermatitis out of the equation. Controlling fleas is a great way to start treating any pet who suffers from allergies.
For some pets, symptomatic management of seasonal symptoms can be controlled with topical therapies and/or systemic medications such as Apoquel or Cytopoint. Frequent bathing or rinsing of the skin can help to remove irritants and pollens.
For those with more intense symptoms or a longer lasting allergy season, intradermal skin testing for allergen identification and desensitization may also prove useful.
If your pet has allergic symptoms, it is best to not wait to seek help. The earlier that we can intervene, the more likely conservative options will work. Call us right away if you notice your pet itching or licking their paws, or if you notice skin changes such as redness, odor, or hair loss.
Summer pet allergens can be irritation (both literally and figuratively), but we are here to help.