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Allergy Awareness Month

Rainer Stropek [Flickr]

Pets love to play among the tall grasses, but grass and weed pollen can provoke an adverse reaction in some pets.  Paying attention to where your pet has been spending its time will be helpful if you need to figure out the cause of an allergic reaction.


We were out of town for a few days last week. A dear friend was checking on our cats while we were gone. She told us one of our furry friends seemed to have a problem with her face. You could see red skin in front of Sasha’s ears and over her eyes, and little sore places around her mouth. Our veterinarian diagnosed the problem as an allergy and gave her an injection. She was miserable for a day or so, but I’m happy to report she is doing much better now.

Occasionally we let Sasha go outside for supervised visits. It entertains her to sniff around and check out the greenery and such. If she begins to get too adventurous and it looks like she might be thinking of leaving the yard, we bring her back indoors. Our suspicion is that while she was “exploring” the outside world, she may have encountered something that did not agree with her.

Cats and dogs can be allergic to any number of things in their environment. One of the most common allergies is fleas, but an animal could also be allergic to dust mites, or pollen or even cleaning products used around the house and yard. Often the allergic reaction causes a skin irritation that makes it itch. If your pet is suddenly rubbing its face or scratching or licking its skin or chewing its feet, that may be an allergic reaction. Left unaddressed, the scratching, biting, chewing and licking can lead to an infection in the skin that could become a health problem.

Your veterinarian can help you determine just what your furry friend may be allergic to, and suggest options for controlling it. For example, with a flea allergy, keeping your pet’s area as flea-free as possible will help a lot. A food allergy can be addressed with a diet change. If it’s something like dust or pollen, it may be necessary to bathe your pet more frequently especially in the Springtime and Fall. Never give an animal any medication that was not prescribed by your veterinarian.

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, a good time to consider ways you can keep your best friend comfortable, healthy and happy, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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