• By: Beth Oleson, Marketing Director

Pollen is coming: help your pets cope

After a long, wet, dreary winter, spring is finally springing! But along with all the fresh green leaves and beautiful flowers comes lots, and lots, and lots of pollen. If you’ve already started sneezing, you’re not alone. Your pets may be in exactly the same boat and begging for a little relief.

When we think about pets and allergies, we tend to focus on the allergies they cause, not the allergies they experience. The truth is, pets can suffer from all the same types of allergies people can: contact allergies, food allergies, flea allergies, and yes, seasonal allergies too. Allergies are a common culprit for pets that are sniffly, sneezy, itchy, gassy, runny-eyed, or patchy-haired from time to time, and if you happen to notice that those symptoms kick up in the spring and fall, our good friend pollen just might be to blame.

Seasonal allergies manifest themselves very similarly in pets and people: running eyes, running noses, sneezes, coughs, mucus. Reducing exposure can be difficult, because pollen gets absolutely everywhere; and for dogs, staying indoors 24/7 isn’t really an option. A damp cloth can be a quick, easy, and helpful tool in your fight against allergies. After an outdoor romp, give your pet a good wipe-down to remove any pollen that might be hanging out on his fur or feet; do the same periodically for indoor-only pets who have the seasonal sniffles. A weekly bath routine can also be helpful during allergy season; use an oatmeal shampoo or something similar to avoid drying out their skin.

Adjusting your walk routine can help minimize pollen exposure, too. Pollen counts are typically highest in the early morning and late afternoon, so time your walks accordingly. And it may seem like less fun, but in the worst of allergy season, stick to the sidewalks and avoid too many romps through fields and parks.

And keep things clean! Despite your best wipe-down efforts, your pets’ fur carries pollen and other allergens with them wherever they go. Wash toys and bedding often – including yours, if your pets sleep with you. Lay towels or fleece blankets over their common hang-out spots to make clean-up earlier. Got carpets? Kick that Roomba up to 11 (or, if you have to manually vacuum like the rest of us, set a frequent routine and don’t let it slip).

As is the case for many of us, sometimes all your best preventive measures just aren’t enough to keep allergies at bay. If your pet is still itching, sneezing, and generally miserable despite all your pollen-busting efforts, it’s time to see the vet. Allergy medications come in all shapes and sizes, and your veterinarian can help you find the one that will give your pet the help they need.

Got questions about allergies, or pet care in general? Get in touch with us at manager@woodfordhumane.org or 859.873.5491.

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