You’ve seen or felt it all before: the sneezing, the itching, the watery eyes, the irritated nasal passages, and so on. But your dog is now displaying some of the behavior typical for fall allergies in humans. Could your dog have fall allergies too? Is this even possible? What signs and symptoms should you be concerned about, and when is the appropriate time to pick up the phone and call the vet?
Can Dogs Be Affected By Hay Fever?
The answer to this may not be quite what you’re thinking. If you see your dog struggling with what seems like hay fever or fall allergies, you might be correct. However, in dogs, it is often referred to as atopy. Some of the symptoms of atopy are similar to what humans would experience with hay fever. Atopy is also most common in the fall season. Some of the signs and symptoms vary greatly from hay fever. Fall allergies in dogs can range from mild to serious. Learn the signs to watch for, as well as when the appropriate time to contact your vet is going to be.
Dogs can have an allergic reaction or ongoing allergies caused by a variety of things including food, fabrics, cleansers, shampoos and detergents, and bites from fleas. The symptoms of dog allergies can vary depending on the cause. It can take some detective work to ferret out the offender that causes the allergic reaction. Sometimes the cause is obvious and other times you may have to use the process of elimination or get the advice of your vet who can help to treat the allergies and their symptoms when they are severe or do not go away.
Allergies can make your dog very uncomfortable and cause a great deal of distress. If you were having difficulty breathing, or itching and scratching all the time, you would react the same way. Your dog can’t tell you what the problem is, so that is when you as their companion have to discover and solve their allergy issues.
An allergic reaction is the body telling itself that something dangerous is present and trying to ward off that offender. Some dogs will have no reaction whatsoever to something that may give another dog a severe reaction. Like us, dogs are individuals and their bodies handle things differently.
Some of the same allergens that affect humans can bother your dog as well. If you notice your dog sneezing or they have developed a chronic cough, it’s a good idea to pay attention to what is around them when they are having the worst reactions. It may be ongoing or may be acute and only occur when they are exposed to a specific allergen. For instance, dogs can be allergic to cigarette smoke the same way humans can. Scents can also set off an allergic reaction. Chemicals we use for cleaning or even perfumes can irritate your dog and make them sneeze or cough.
If you notice your dog incessantly scratching various parts of his body with no signs of invasive skin parasites such as fleas, he may simply have dry or itchy skin that needs basic attention to help ward off the irritation. If you have ever experienced dry itchiness on your own skin, you know how annoying it can be. The constant rubbing and scratching can make a dog start to lose patches of hair or develop sores or open wounds.
Just like you, your dog can have food allergies. Not all dog food is the same. Cheap dog food might include products that keep the price low, but that keeps the quality low as well. Your dog may suffer from poor nutrition, or their system may not be tolerating all the added fillers used in cheap dog food. Buy a good quality, healthy dog food like CANIDAE to insure they are getting the nutrients they need to maintain optimum health on the inside, as well as the ingredients necessary for a healthy skin and coat. A consistent, healthy diet helps maintain healthy skin.
A healthy immune system protects us from diseases. It’s a remarkable network of tissues, cells and organs all working in harmony to protect the body from infections, viruses and other microorganisms. However, sometimes the immune system reacts to something it believes is harmful to the body, overreacting in the way it responds. An estimated 15% of people are allergic to cats, dogs and other animals, but it’s our feline friends that cause more people to sniffle and sneeze than dogs. It’s estimated one in seven children between 6 and 19 years of age are allergic to cats. The reason has nothing to do with their hair though; the instigator is a protein found in cats.
Cat allergies in people are triggered by an overreaction of a super sensitive immune system to a protein (allergen) in cats called FEL d1. Scientists have isolated seven cat allergens that contribute to an allergy, but the FEL d1 protein is the most common reason why people are allergic to felines and it’s because of the size and shape of this specific molecule. It’s found primarily in a cat’s saliva, skin and urine.
The protein is spread on a cat’s fur as she grooms herself and can be deposited on your skin when she licks you. Someone who is super sensitive to cats can develop a rash on their chest, face or neck. When reacting to a perceived threat, the immune system releases a chemical, histamine, which causes congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching and watery eyes. Symptoms can range from mild irritation or sneezing to life threatening flare ups in asthma sufferers. An allergic reaction to cats can happen immediately or appear four to eight hours after contact with a feline.
My dad has extreme cat allergies, so we were never able to have a cat when I was growing up. As a young adult, one of my best friends had a cat. When I was at her house for more than an hour, my eyes would get red, swollen and itchy. Then my throat would start to feel scratchy. After one or two times, I came to the conclusion that I had cat allergies like my dad. From then on, if I was going to hang with anybody that had a cat, it had to be somewhere other than their house.
Fast forward to the time my husband and I decided to extend our family by taking in a dog that was in dire circumstances. Probably because of my limited exposure to cats, I’ve always been what’s known as a dog person. On the other hand, my husband has always been a cat person; in fact, Julia included him in this article: Real Men Do Love Cats! 7 ‘Cat Guys’ Tell All. Being a dog person, it was fixed in my mind that we were just going to rescue this one specific dog. At the time, my husband was in complete agreement.
At the shelter, we met the sad pup and were preparing to bring her home when one of the shelter workers ran up to us and shoved a ball of fur into my husband’s hands. Obviously this was a wily woman who was great at her job because she pegged us as suckers almost immediately. My husband looked up at me (don’t tell him I’m sharing this part) with tears in his eyes and said “He looks like Rudy.” He loved all the cats in his life but as a young boy he had a particularly strong bond with a cat named Rudy. What was I going to do?
You know the rest of the story. That little ball of fur came home with us too, and now I’m completely under his command. He gets the best of everything including FELIDAE cat food.
At first, however, I was concerned about my allergies. According to Unleashed Magazine, approximately 15% of the population is estimated to be allergic to cats and/or dogs. The statistics go on to reveal that about one third of the people who are allergic to cats are currently living with at least one cat in their household. I love it; only one in five people avoid cats because of allergies. What they do instead is try to minimize the symptoms.
Catzowey! I’m itching to tell you about my itches that have gone arrivederci and bye bye too, and you must believes it cuz itza for sure my fur is more meowvalous and shiny than ever in all a cat’s 9 lives. And it’s not cuz I went to the deeziner fur salon and had a makeover! But I would purr to let you in on a giganticat secret.
For the first 4 years of my catzowey life, I was itching. Yep, just itching and scratching and biting my handsome man-cat fur like gnawing on myself. It was not so comfy having to live like this and strike a pose on the catwalk at the same time! My photo shoots were done around not showing my itchy tummy cuz I itched so much that I ate all of my EyeTailYun tummy fur right off of my bod. And like that’s not a furry worry, then I started on taking all the furs off of my famous legs. CATZOWEY! When I looked into the mirror, I didn’t see my EyeTailYun buffed self but instead saw what I thought was a long lost scraggly relative! Catzowey, it was me looking half naked from biting off my handsome fur coat.
Oh sure, I visited abundacat dreaded V E T persons – more than I want to remember and they all said “he needs allergy tests.” Then most of them said I was probably having an environmental reaction! Holy Cannoli – like I’m allergic to my sofa?
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.