The pollen count is off the charts, and humans aren’t the only ones feeling the effects. If you have a pet, you probably know that cats and dogs often suffer through pollen season too.
It’s because they have the same reactions to pollen that people do.
“Most dogs are allergic to tree pollens, weed pollens, sponge spores and mold spores,” said Dr. Timothy Lassett, a Bay Area veterinarian.
Lassett says even cats can get runny eyes and sniffles from pollen. But usually when our canine and feline friends have allergies, they get the itches.
“We’re talking about the dog that itches and chews and bites sometimes constantly, and sometimes people can’t even sleep because the dog is chewing during the night, keeping them awake,” Lassett said.
It can also affect their ears, but the good news is they can be treated. Just like in people, sometimes over-the-counter drugs can do the trick.
“The most simple method for cases that aren’t severe would be a combo of antihistamines and fatty acid supplements: omega three and omega six,” Lassett said.
Lassett said you can try any over-the-counter antihistamine for your dog like Chlorpheniramine, Zyrtech or Benadryl. But he says Benadryl is statistically the least effective for dogs.
If you want to try an over-the counter antihistamine for your cat or dog, it’s best to call and consult your vet for what dosage is safe and effective. But severe cases may require a trip to the vet for a prescription, or even allergy shots.
The same advice for reducing pets’ pollen exposure applies for people as well: keep the windows closed. Vacuum often, and know that every time they step outdoors, they’re getting a big dose of pollen.
“They’re gonna be bombarded, and they’re gonna get it every time they go outside,” Lassett said.
A lot of pets are also allergic to fleas — specifically flea saliva. So with the weather warming up, it’s a good idea to talk to your vet about the best flea treatment.
That’s especially important for those of you with cats, because many over-the-counter flea treatments are toxic — even fatal — for cats.