Terrier in Grassy Field

Do Pets Suffer From Hay Fever?

by Sam Salvati - 5/21/19

Many people will agree that spring is a beautiful time of year. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining. But with spring comes allergies.

Seasonal allergies - or hay fever - affects more than 50 million American adults according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

But what about dogs and cats? Does spring mean sneezing and sniffling for them, too? Knowing what to look for when it comes to allergies in pets can help you make sure you're getting your fur baby the pet care they need.

How Do Pets Experience Allergies?

While pets do experience allergies, their symptoms tend to manifest as itchy skin and ear infections, rather than hay fever-like symptoms that many humans experience.

For this reason, veterinary dermatologists are on the front lines when it comes to treating canine and feline allergies.

Skin symptoms most commonly manifest on the face, ears, paws, armpits and groin. For this reason, secondary skin infections are typically the most concerning progression of seasonal allergies in pets.

“Certain bacteria and yeast take advantage of inflamed skin and a ‘leaky’ skin barrier to cause these secondary infections,” says Christine Cain, chief of the Clinical Dermatology and Allergy Service at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “Thankfully, allergies are not typically life threatening in pets, but they can significantly impact the quality of life of the pet and the owner.”

Treating Seasonal Allergies in Pets

If you suspect your pet is suffering from allergies, try starting with your regular veterinarian before seeking out a doctor who specializes in dermatology in animals.

Some pets, says Cain, may undergo allergy testing and benefit from a custom-made set of allergy shots or oral drops.

It is also very important to address and treat all secondary skin and ear infections, which often contribute significantly to patients' discomfort.

Pasadena native Sam Saltavi is the adoring dog dad to Pablo, Ester and Farris. He enjoys keeping abreast of and writing about the latest developments in pet care.