Did you know that your dearly loved doggies can also suffer from seasonal allergies, just like us humans? During this season, dogs can suffer from spring allergies as the weather warms up, flowers bloom, and pollen counts rise all around.
These environmental changes can trigger dog allergies that can run for several weeks. You can easily prevent these allergies from flaring up by staying in control of your dog’s immediate environment, especially through regular flea control and bathing.
Watch out for symptoms manifested by your dog. If your pet is scratching, licking, and chewing, or has scabby and flaky skin, it’s possible that it has acquired one of the following common spring allergies:
1. Flea Bite Allergies
Spring is the season for fleas to multiply, and this could make your dog prone to flea bites. Forty percent of dogs in America are affected by flea bites allergy, and studies show that the protein contained in a flea saliva is the main allergen.
The treatment for this allergy is two-fold: (1) Treating your dog, and (2) Treating your house. You must make your house flea-free. If they keep multiplying, then your dog will continue to scratch.
Take note that extreme scratching can cause hair loss and hot spots for your pet. To relieve the itch, give your dog more frequent baths, using medicated soaps, shampoos or topical sprays. (Check your dog’s vet to make sure the products you use are safe!)
2. Atopic Allergies
Allergens like pollen, molds, and dust, when inhaled by your dog, can cause atopic allergy. It usually results in severe itching. At least fifteen percent of dogs in America suffer from atopic allergy.
To treat this allergy, administer medications prescribed by your dog’s veterinarian, which may include steroids and antihistamines to help alleviate the symptoms. You also need to keep your pet away from the allergens that may be causing the allergic reaction.
To alleviate the problem invest in a good quality air cleaner for your home. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters get rid of more irritants than regular air filters.
3. Food Allergies
This is probably the least common type of spring allergy for dogs, making it slightly harder to pinpoint. Dogs may start developing allergies to certain foods, and it may not be obvious until you see the symptoms, which include increased scratching and red, swollen patches on the dog’s skin.
Common food allergens include beef, chicken, lamb, dairy, and fish, although dogs can become allergic to almost any kind of food. If you suspect your dog to be suffering from food allergies, consult your dog’s veterinarian. Slowly introduce your dog to hypoallergenic prescription foods or foods prepared at home, and see if the allergy subsides.
The best way to diagnose your dog’s condition is to consult a veterinarian. A knowledgeable veterinarian can perform tests to prove the presence of an allergic reaction. A proper treatment plan can be recommended to your dog as soon as a positive blood or skin test is administered.
If you’re lucky, your furry friend will never be bothered by ear infections, but many pets are frequently up to their ears in trouble. Dogs and cats have long ear canals, and they are warm, dark, and moist — a perfect environment for yeast and bacteria to thrive. For this reason, you should peek into your pet’s ears each time you bathe or groom them; if something seems (or smells) off, you’ll want to get to the vet as soon as possible.
Some pets are just naturally prone to ear infections, and there are a number of predisposing factors, including a history of allergies, floppy ears, a history of ear infections, increased ear wax production and excess ear hair. Ear infections are generally caused by overgrowths of either yeast or bacteria (or both!), and often there are underlying causes, such as allergies or polyps, that contribute to their recurrence.
signs + symptoms
Ear infections are typically accompanied by thick brown or yellow discharge and a foul odor. Crusts or sores on the pinna (ear flap) or inside the ear are abnormal, and usually indicate an infection. Painful, red, or ulcerated ears and swollen ear flaps are other hallmarks of trouble. Pets sometimes shake their heads excessively due to the itchiness and discomfort of an ear infection, which can contribute to the formation of hematomas in the ear flap. It’s important to seek treatment from your vet before an ear infection leads to other problems! Untreated ear infections can lead to narrowed ear canals and even deafness, and can be extremely painful for pets.
Your veterinarian will use an otoscope to examine your pet’s ear canal and tympanic membrane (ear drum), and take a swab of the aural discharge to observe under a microscope. Looking at what kind of infection is present (fungal or bacterial) will help him or her prescribe the most effective treatment.
Once your vet has determined whether yeast or bacteria is present, he or she will likely have a technician thoroughly clean your pet’s ear canals. Getting rid of all the discharge provides a clean slate so that treatment can start. Drops placed into the ears once or twice a day can treat typical outer ear infections. More complicated infections, or those that involve the middle ear, will need to be treated with oral medications like antibiotics or steroids, as well as topical solutions. Your veterinarian will prescribe what is best for your pet depending on his particular infection. Persistent, severe ear problems sometimes require surgery.
Spring is finally here in the Lehigh Valley, which usually marks the beginning of the busy season here for us at Allentown Animal Clinic. There are some hazards that are more common in spring, and taking appropriate precautions may help your pet avoid an unfortunate vet visit, or allow an issue to be managed before it worsens.
Allergic reactions become increasingly common in the warmer weather. Allergic reactions may present as an acute allergy, such as in the event of a bee sting, or as a less acute presentation as with flea bite hypersensitivity or pollen allergies.
Bee stings: Being stung by a bee, wasp or sometimes even a bull ant bite can cause an acute allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis. Typically owners see their pets being fine one moment, with a very swollen face the next. It’s usually not painful, but a pet’s face can become so swollen that they cannot see, and their lips become very fat. There is a risk of the airway becoming affected and your pet having breathing difficulties. All pets may suffer severe side effects, so we always recommend contacting your veterinarian even if you have tablets at home for such an event. Short faced dogs and cats are particularly at risk. Most dogs don’t learn that they react to insect stings, so many also become repeat offenders.
Skin Allergies: Dogs and cats can be allergic to pollens, grasses and dust mites just like we can. They tend not to get the sniffles and symptoms that we typically associate with hayfever. Instead they tend to get itchy. They may develop itchy feet, itchy abdomen, itchy tail base or even itchy ears and face. The pattern of itch will depend on the individual pet and what they are allergic to. Typically if a pet is allergic to a particular plant they will be worse at one particular time of year, and for most pets that is spring or summer.
Garden Hazards: The big hazard in the garden for pets in spring are things we put there, Snail Bait being one of the most frequent poisonings seen at emergency centres. There are no ‘pet safe’ snail pellets. Snail baits that claim to be pet safe contain Iron EDTA, which will cause severe intestinal injury and potentially liver failure. Other types of snail bait cause seizures until death. If you do have a snail problem, consider a beer trap instead. Fertilisers and compost can also be toxic if eaten, and there have been several reported cases of theobromine toxicity in dogs that have eaten cocoa mulch.
Snakes: While we rarely see snake bite envenomations locally, there are venomous snakes living in Melbourne. They are more likely to be encountered near parks with native vegetation, such as Braeside Park and Kingston Heath Reserve. If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake, or even seen them playing with a dead snake, please contact a veterinarian immediately.
Love is in the air, so are abscesses: Cats are seasonal breeders and the warmer weather means any non-desexed cat is going to be feeling increasingly amorous. However, it’s not all romance for these cats and we often see our feline friends, even those who are desexed, for cat fight injuries including abscesses. Occasionally we see cats who are becoming stressed by the roving neighbourhood tomcat marking his territory in their yard and subsequently developing toileting problems themselves.
Heatstroke: The first unseasonably hot days are often the ones where we see most cases of heat stroke, particularly in elderly dogs. Please do not exercise your dogs in the heat. Dogs do not sweat like humans do and are dependant on panting to cool down. Dogs which are elderly, overweight, short faced or that have cardiac or respiratory disease are particularly at risk. Having a bowl of water to drink is not enough, dogs must be able to cool down in hot weather.
Spring is a wonderful time of year for both you and your pet, but please keep these points in mind while you enjoy the great outdoors.
By Marc Lallanilla, Assistant Editor | February 20, 2014 04:25pm ET
As winter’s snow slowly melts, people may be happy to see that sidewalks are finally free of ice and slush. But those ice-free sidewalks and roadways may hold an even more dangerous threat: death by electrocution.
Several blocks of busy Sixth Avenue in downtown Manhattan were cordoned off to pedestrians and vehicles yesterday (Feb. 19), following reports of a powerful electric current surging through sidewalk grates, manhole covers and the doorknobs of nearby buildings, Gothamist reported.
The problem was a defective electric cable, according to service provider Consolidated Edison (Con Ed). Though no injuries were reported, similar incidents in the recent past have proved deadly to people and pets.
In winter 2004, graduate student Jodie Lane, 30, was electrocuted to death while walking on a damp street in New York City. Con Ed later admitted that her death was the result of poorly insulated electrical wires.
In 2007, two dogs were electrocuted in as many days after walking on New York City sidewalks where snow and ice had melted. One dog died; the other was revived after its dog walker was able to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the pet.
And earlier this month, a pit-bull-terrier mix was electrocuted just steps from the front door of its owner’s Manhattan apartment. “We were entering the building when Bella started acting funny,” the dog’s owner told the New York Daily News. “She let out a cry. She didn’t seem to want to go into the building. Then, she went into a spasm and just laid there.”
Winter’s deadly shocks
It’s not a coincidence that these electrocutions all happened in winter, during periods when the weather was just warm enough to melt the snow and ice that had accumulated on roads and sidewalks.
Water can conduct electricity, though not very efficiently. The conductivity of water is greatly increased when salts and other inorganic chemicals (such as calcium, magnesium and chloride compounds) are dissolved in water.
And those dissolved minerals — especially sodium chloride (NaCl), calcium chloride (CaCl2), magnesium chloride (MgCl2) or potassium chloride (KCl) — are the exact compounds found in deicers commonly spread on sidewalks and roads to melt ice and snow.
So when ice and snow begin to melt, deicing minerals are dissolved in the meltwater, creating a perfect conduit for any electrical charge that may be present in wires that are frayed or have cracked insulation.
In the most recent case of electrocution, Con Ed was able to determine that the electric current from a frayed electric wire on a building’s scaffolding was responsible for the dog’s death.
Pets can bring untold amounts of joy and happiness…but a pet at Christmas time is a bad idea.
A puppy or kitten under the tree may be very exciting at first but the care and financial responsibility can be overwhelming during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Just like any gift under the tree these cute and cuddly furballs get played with for a while and then get set aside when the novelty wears off. A pet given as a gift is hardly free for the recipient. They require food, veterinary care, training….it’s a 10-15 year committment of time, money, and energy that may exceed their abilities.
Things to Consider:
The Atmosphere on Christmas Morning
A puppy between the ages of 8-12 weeks is at a stage where it adjusts best to leaving it’s litter mates and bonding with its new family. However, during this time it is imperative to not cause undue stress. The hustle of a holiday can frighten a young puppy and prevent it from forming healthy bonds with it’s new family in the future.
Sending the Wrong Message
Giving a live animal as a gift can send children the message that this is just another “object” that can be hidden in the closet with the rest of the toys after they get bored with them. The most valuable lesson a pet can teach a child is respect for living beings and that pets are members of the family. This message can easily get lost when a child opens a box with a wriggling, cuddly pet as a gift.
Puppies Grow Up
That cute, fluffy puppy is going to become an adult dog that needs training. They don’t come knowing what to do. They need to be taught where to go potty, not to jump on people, not to chew furniture, etc. The Humane Society reports that most dogs that end up at the shelters are between 7-14 months because of “behavior problems”. They also state that most puppies and kittens born in the United States never reach their second birthday due to being hit by a car because they ran away from the owners, starvation, injury from another animal, or euthanasia. This is due to many owners not understanding the what it would take to properly train and care for a pet.
If you have already decided that you’d like to give a pet as a gift this holiday season, perhaps think about giving a certificate for a pet to be purchased later once the hustle and bustle calms down after the holidays. Package the certificate with books on pet selection, pet training, and healthcare. This is a great way to introduce the joy pet ownership can bring without the undue stress of a new pet during the holiday festivities.