Springtime is a perfect time to head outdoors. Unfortunately, it’s also a purr-fect time for your dog’s or cat’s allergies to flare up.
Just as their human parents are susceptible to seasonal allergies, Max the dog and Molly the cat may find themselves with infections, itchy skin and other symptoms due to springtime allergens.
So, what can you do to put your pet out of his or her allergy misery? We’ve collected advice from the American Kennel Club
, pet insurance provider Trupanion
, Tufts University’s veterinary school
, Dogwood Veterinary Hospital & Pet Resort
, the Whole Dog Journal
, the Drake Center for Veterinary Care
and Dr. Sara Skiwski
, a holistic and integrative veterinarian.
Seasonal Allergy Relief for Pets
1. Limit time outside
One of the easiest ways to keep your pet allergy-free is to keep them away from allergens. This may mean spending more time inside to avoid run-ins with environmental triggers of your pet’s allergies. This can help avoid allergy symptoms like itchiness, ear infections, skin infections, skin redness and inflamed eyes.
2. Do some spring cleaning
Your pet may be tracking allergens into your house from outdoors. To keep those allergens in check, regularly sweep and vacuum your home, and frequently wash bedding and blankets.
3. Practice fur care and foot care
To help ensure your pet’s fur remains pollen-free, give them a bath after they’ve romped outdoors. Use a shampoo that gently cleans the coat, paws and inside of the ears without irritation. If there’s not enough time for a full bath, quickly soak the paws to help remove at least some allergens.
An alternative to a bath or a soak: Wipe down the fur and paws with a damp cloth. You could go a step further by initially spraying the fur and paws with a bottle containing witch hazel, and then wiping the fur and paws with a cloth.
4. Purify the air
Installing an air purifier equipped with a HEPA filter can reduce airborne allergens (such as pollen) in your home. You also might look into a HEPA vacuum for cleaning your rugs, carpeting and furniture.
5. Fight off fleas
Fleas are active in warm weather, including the springtime, and can be a source of allergy symptoms. Consider using flea control products
to reduce the number of flea bites that your dog or cat may suffer.
6. Ask about prescription medication
Anti-inflammatory drugs (such as steroids) prescribed by your veterinarian may be a treatment option. You also might inquire about immunotherapy or topical steroids. If your pet is suffering from allergy-related infections, you may want to check out treatment with antibiotics.
7. Feed your pet an anti-inflammatory diet
A high-carbohydrate diet can cause or worsen inflammation that accompanies allergies. However, a diet low in carbs, particularly grains, and low in processed foods can decrease inflammation.
8. Investigate raw local honey
Raw local honey may help combat your pet’s environmental allergies. The “raw” aspect is important, because it means the honey is unpasteurized and unprocessed, thereby locking in all the good stuff. The “local” aspect is vital, too, as locally produced honey contains small amounts of pollen from your area. This helps boost your pet’s allergy-battling immune system.
9. Turn over a new (nettle) leaf
For centuries, the stinging nettle leaf
has been a popular remedy for symptoms of seasonal allergies. Some research has shown that it reduces inflammation, decrease itching and improve immunity. Herbal pet supplements may include stinging nettle as an ingredient.†
10. Consider quercetin
A supplement with quercetin
, a bioflavonoid, can combat allergy symptoms like itching, scratching and redness. Many pet parents turn to quercetin as a natural antihistamine.†
11. Bump up the intake of omega-3 fatty acids
Products (such as supplements) that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
may ease allergy a pet’s symptoms like itching and scratching. These fatty acids provide anti-inflammatory benefits.†
12. Look into coconut oil
Topical use of coconut oil
, a natural moisturizer, may soothe your pet’s dry, itchy, irritated skin. In addition, a fatty acid in coconut oil known as lauric acid may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Chat with your veterinarian before trying coconut oil as an oral therapy, as it may produce side effects like diarrhea.†
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.