Spring Allergies in Pets and What You Can Do to Help
Although you might be happy that spring is approaching with some warmer weather, it also often means allergy season is not far behind. Those allergies might not just affect you, they could also affect your pet.
While human allergies usually are respiratory in nature, pet allergies typically affect the skin more often than not, such as skin irritation or inflammation, “a condition called allergic dermatitis,” according to the article, “If Your Dog is Itchy or Your Cat is Wheezy, You Need to Read This” at Healthy Pets.
Your pet’s allergies will cause itchy skin leading to excessive scratching. “As the itch-scratch cycle continues, her skin will become inflamed and tender to the touch,” the article said. “Other signs of allergic dermatitis include areas of hair loss, open sores on the skin, and scabbing.” Additionally, pets who have allergies often get ear problems, especially dogs. It is evident when the pet scratches her ears or shakes her head. An infection can bring about discharge and a bad smell as well.
The article said that other signs in pets with allergies include:
• Puffy red eyes
• Red oral tissue
• Red chin
• Red paws
• Red anus
And because allergies can easily become worse with time, seeing a veterinarian is important. “Your veterinarian may perform diagnostic tests to identify skin and ear infections and rule out diseases that mimic the symptoms of allergies,” according to the article, “It’s Spring and My Pet Itches! A Look at Seasonal Allergies” at American Veterinarian.
Treatments can vary but may include medicated shampoos and conditioners, antihistamines, antibiotics, and antifungal drugs, among others. According to the American Veterinarian article, your pet may do well to see a veterinary dermatologist.
Don’t let your pet’s allergies go without proper treatment. Seek out professional help to ensure your pet’s condition is managed properly.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Choosing the Right Pet Food
It’s not uncommon these days to see articles all over the Internet about pet food recalls, essentially scaring pet parents. What food should you choose? Dry food? Wet food? Store bought? Specialty store bought? Raw food? Home-cooked food? Natural food? How do you know?
First, begin reading labels and doing your own research. According to the Petful article, “A Quick Guide to Choosing the Best Pet Food for a Long, Healthy Life,” maybe your pet has been OK on a low-quality brand, but it might not be the best choice. “Even a claim of ‘human-grade meat’ is questionable,” the article said. “For example, meat that was once deemed safe for people may have spoiled and found its way into the pet food.”
The article states that if you’re searching for a commercial dog or cat food that is healthy as a base, when looking at labels, search for “high in protein and low in fillers.” Also, try to avoid the inexpensive fillers often found in lower-quality pet food.
Typically, many supermarket and chain store pet foods are low quality. Oftentimes “animal fat” is present, which can mean a variety of negative things. “Not to mention, the chemical additives and preservatives used to process animal fats may cause chronic allergies and skin problems,” the article said. “With a super premium food, you’ll get higher-quality fats — vegetable oils rather than highly processed animal fats.”
High-quality pet foods are free from by-products, fillers, and chemical preservatives and instead have ingredients that “include unrefined, minimally processed foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and proteins,” according to the article, “Why You Should Feed High-Quality Dog Food and Cat Food” at Chewy.com.
While a lower-quality food may meet basic requirements, the higher quality foods are better for your pet’s health and wellness.
How to Care for Your Senior Family Pet
As your pet gets older and becomes a senior, it’s important to be aware of any of the physical and mental changes that occur. Caring for a senior pet is different than a younger one, and that can include changes in diet and exercise, and more trips to your veterinarian.
If you have a dog, keep your eyes open for anything that seems out of the ordinary, as dogs can hide health issues, according to the article, “Caring for Senior Dogs: What You Need to Know” at Vetstreet.com. “Routine exams, preventive medicine and adjustments to your dog’s lifestyle can help your pooch stay healthy even as the years creep up,” the article said.
According to the article, here are some issues that may arise in your senior dog:
• Cognitive disorders
• Intestinal problems
• Dental disease
• Vision problems
Just as in dogs, cats’ health requirements also change with age. “Like people, aging cats are often faced with a wide variety of age-related, life changes and basic healthy habits become even more important with passing time,” according to the article, “Caring for a Senior Cat: 7 Healthy Habits” at Pet Health Network.
The following are some things you can do for your senior feline:
• Keep senior cats indoors
• Ensure your senior cat doesn’t become overweight
• Keep up on regular veterinary visits for appropriate vaccinations to prevent infectious diseases
• Grooming and hygiene including dental cleanings
• Keep senior cats active
Just as in humans, your senior pets face a variety of age-related health changes both physically and mentally. Monitor them carefully, take note if any major changes occur, and keep your veterinarian abreast of any issues. By doing so, senior pets can continue to live healthy and happy lives.