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Pollen And Your Pet: Managing Hay Fever In Cats And Dogs
As the Summer rolls on and temperatures continue to stay high, it feels like heaven here in Cornwall as we can fully enjoy the beautiful beaches and wonderful walks this part of the country has to offer.
However at Natural Cornish Pet we know there are some of us that dread the warm and dry weather as it signals the onset of hay fever, and as you may or may not know this sadly can affect our perfect pets too.
Hay Fever In Dogs And Cats
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen when it comes into contact with the nose, mouth, eyes and throat. Pollen is a fine dust produced by male plants that contain the plant equivalent of sperm cells, and is mostly produced between March and September. In humans the classic signs of hay fever are a runny nose, itchy eyes and headaches, hay fever in dogs and cats however manifests itself in slightly different ways.
In dogs a pollen allergy will more than often affect the skin, so if your dog is excessively scratching and nibbling their skin and fur during the summer months a possible cause could be hay fever. Cats react a little differently and may get sore and itchy skin too, but can also suffer with sensitive paws, sneezing, wheezing, snoring and weeping eyes. Many of these symptoms can also be signs of other ailments, such allergies to fleas and bacterial infections, and you should always seek veterinary advice if you think your animals are suffering in any way. As with human hay fever this allergic reaction very much depends on the type of pollen one is allergic to and what area of the UK one lives in. Tree pollens are more common in spring, whereas pollens from weeds and grasses tend to release in summer and early autumn. You should be able to track when your animals have a reaction and why, and in turn prepare to use precautions when they become appropriate.
At Natural Cornish Pet we have had many years of experience in looking after animals and have picked up a few tips about how to manage a cat’s or dog's hay fever along the way.
Managing Hay Fever In Your Dog Or Cat
As there is no cure for hay fever in people or animals the best we can hope for are preventive measures that will enable your dog or cat's summer to be tolerable. There are certain treatments that are available from your vet such as medicated eye drops, topical shampoos and antihistamines. If your pet is having severe allergic reactions and seems uncomfortable they should always be taken to a vet and home treatments should never be attempted without taking proper medical advice. With this being said however, at Natural Cornish Pet we know there are a few easy to follow preventive steps that can reduce your pets contact with pollen and allow them an easier path.
With dogs it's important on days with high pollen counts to walk them early in the morning and later in the evening as this is when the pollen counts are at their lowest. For both your feline and canine friends it's important to maintain a regular grooming routine with consistent bathing and brushing as this will reduce the occurrence of pollen on your pets coats after walks or adventures outside. If you don't have time for a full bath after every walk or excursion try taking a damp cloth or sponge and wipe down your pet's fur to remove as many allergens as you can.
It is also essential to keep washing bedding and soft toys regularly as these will be likely sources of contamination after your pet has been in contact with pollen. It is also important to regularly hoover your carpets and floors as this too will be somewhere a lot of pollen will be transferred and somewhere your pets will be close to on a regular basis. For those of you with a garden it's best to keep the grass short on lawns as this will prevent it from going to seed and producing more pollen. With dogs it's also a good idea to plan walks away from overgrown areas and places with longer grasses and weeds. And finally on those particularly warm and windy days, if your pet does seem to be suffering, it's best to keep them inside when you can and keep the doors and windows closed where possible.
It's best to remember that hay fever in dogs and cats is rare and does share symptoms of other common ailments such as fleas, ticks and bacterial infections. If you think your pet is suffering from hay fever it's paramount that you get it checked by a vet. If and when your pet is diagnosed try some of the handy tips above from Natural Cornish Pet and help your animals stay comfortable this summer.
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