CAN MY PET GET HAY FEVER?
Hay fever is a source of summertime stress that affects up to one in five Brits, but you might be surprised to learn your pet can suffer from it too.
As the weather gets warmer, flowers, trees, and grasses start producing pollen, which can cause your pet’s skin to get sore and itchy.
We’ve spoken to Dr Karlien Heyrman, Head of Pets at Pets at Home, to find out the symptoms to watch out for and the best way to treat them.
What are the symptoms of hay fever in dogs and cats?
Dr Heyrman said: “A very common symptom is itching, so it’s important to watch out for any excessive scratching, nibbling, and licking on areas including their paws, eyes, ears, mouth.
“This can cause your pet’s skin to appear red, sore, or flaky and, in very severe cases, can lead to the skin getting infected and them losing patches of fur. Make sure to seek advice from your vet if the skin becomes particularly inflamed.
“It’s also worth remembering that different kinds of pollen can trigger hay fever in your pet, so keeping a diary of their symptoms can help you identify the most probable cause.”
What’s the best way to treat a pet’s hay fever?
Dr Heyrman said: “Although there's no cure for hay fever there are things you can do to help treat the symptoms and make your pet more comfortable.
“It’s always best to speak to your vet to understand whether your pet’s symptoms are hay fever and then determine which treatments would suit them best. This could include medicated creams, sprays, and shampoos for irritated skin, as well as ear, eye, or nasal drops in the rarer case that it’s causing their nose or eyes to run. In more serious reactions, the vet may recommend other medications or injections to help with their discomfort.
“It's important to remember that skin irritation can also be caused by other conditions, including allergies to something other than pollen, such as fleas, house dust mites or something your pet has eaten.
“If you’re unsure, or if you have any questions about hay fever, it’s always best to book an appointment with your vet.”
How can I reduce the impact of hay fever?
Dr Heyrman said: “While you can’t prevent hay fever entirely, there are steps you can take that can help decrease your pet’s exposure to pollen.
“If possible, avoid going outdoors when the pollen count is at its highest, which is usually around midday in the months between late March and September. It’s best to go for walks early in the morning or late at night instead, when the pollen count is lower – the Met Office shares the latest pollen count on its website.
“Gently wiping your pet's coat and feet after they've been outside will help to remove some of the pollen, regularly washing their bedding and vacuuming is beneficial, there’s also supplements for cats and dogs which should help to boost their skin barrier and reduce sensitivities.
“It’s also important to keep up to date with their flea and worm treatments. It’s worth setting a monthly reminder on your phone or consider a subscription service to get flea treatments delivered directly to your door.”
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About Pets at Home
Pets at Home is the UK’s leading pet care brand, bringing together more than 450 stores, over 350 grooming salons, and almost 500 veterinary surgeries and practices across the UK.
Providing one destination for all pet care needs – from nutritional advice, to grooming, veterinary care, to rehoming – Pets at Home is dedicated to making life better for pets and the people who love them.
Visit petsathome.com to find your nearest store and for further information.