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Seasonal Allergy Symptoms in Pets

symptoms of allergies in petsCoughing, runny eyes and nose, stuffiness and congestion – people agree that seasonal allergies are miserable!

But did you know that pets can suffer from seasonal allergies, too?

Pets with seasonal allergies will exhibit very different symptoms from people. Here are some of the top symptoms to look for:

  • Constant scratching and licking 
  • Chewing of feet and pads
  • Scratching or rubbing of the face
  • Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections
  • Recurrent hot spots in dogs and facial scabs in cats
  • Asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems (more likely in cats)
  • Foul odor from skin or coat may indicate secondary infections

Environmental allergens that are inhaled or come in contact with skin and cause irritation are known as atopy. Seasonal examples of atopy include ragweed, which will usually occur in the fall months. Reactions to spring pollens from trees and other plants will most commonly occur during April and May when trees and flowers are in full bloom.

Scratching is the single most common symptom of allergies in pets. Dog will often chew their feet and pads, which is a huge tip-off that they’re dealing with an environmental allergic reaction to pollens, mold or dust mites. This condition is known as allergic dermatitis.

Ear infections in dogs are also quite common symptoms of allergies. If you notice your dog or cat scratching at their ears, it’s likely that some form of allergen is causing irritation.

There are many products and treatments available to help ease allergy symptoms. Consult your veterinarian to find the best solution for you and your pet.

 

Five Basic Steps for Pet First Aid Readiness

Emergencies can happen at any time. Would you know what to do in case of an emergency with your pet? Here are five great Pet First Aid steps you can take today.

1/ Every home should have a First Aid Kit, including one specifically for pets. Basic Pet First Aid kits are available online and through some veterinary offices, but with a little guidance from your vet, you can easily put together your own.

Remember, emergencies are not always health related, so it’s smart to include important phone numbers (see tip #2), health records, current photo/s, feeding instructions, along with copies of your pet’s registration and microchip numbers.

2/ Keep emergency numbers near your home phone and put them into the contacts list for your cell. Start with your regular veterinarian, the poison control center, plus the nearest 24-hour emergency vet clinic (handy for after hours). If your pet is microchipped (and it should be) be sure to record the actual microchip number. When was the last time you updated the contact information tied to the micrchip? If you’re not sure, check.

National Animal Poison Control Center: 888.426.4435
Pet Poison Helpline: 800.213.6680

3/ Take a Pet CPR class! The American Red Cross and many other organizations offer training and certification classes for Pet CPR. YouTube also has a wealth of video training. Search “Pet CPR classes” plus your city to find a range of resources, both online and off.

4/ Of course there’s an app for that! The American Red Cross offers a free Pet First Aid app for smartphones. Owners have access to step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid emergencies. In the interest of being prepared, it might be a good idea to download the one for people, too! Text “GETPET” to 90999, or visit the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for direct downloads.

5. Know when to seek emergency veterinary help. The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) emergency list:

  • Severe bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t stop within 5 minutes
  • Choking, difficulty breathing, or nonstop coughing and gagging
  • Bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, or blood in urine
  • Inability to urinate or pass feces (stool), or obvious pain associated with urinating or passing stool
  • Injuries to your pet’s eye(s)
  • You suspect or know your pet has eaten something poisonous (such as antifreeze, xylitol, chocolate, rodent poison, etc.)
  • Seizures and/or staggering
  • Fractured bones, severe lameness, or inability to move leg(s)
  • Obvious signs of pain or extreme anxiety
  • Heat stress or heatstroke
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea – more than 2 episodes in a 24-hour period, or either of these combined with obvious illness or any of the other problems listed here
  • Refusal to drink for 24 hours or more
  • Unconsciousness

Poison Prevention Week – Keeping Pets Safe

It’s National Poison Prevention Week, so it’s a great time to review the signs of poisoning. Knowledge is power, and recognizing the signs of poisoning in pets can literally be a lifesaver. The sooner you can act, the more likely a good outcome.

If your pet exhibits any of the following signs or symptoms, call your vet immediately!

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Black or bloody stool

HOW TO PREVENT ACCIDENTAL POISONING

Lock away toxic chemicals. Cleaning fluids, weed killer, antifreeze, pesticides, and fertilizers are just a few of the items you probably have around your home and garage. Keep them out of reach of pets and little hands.

Keep medications out of reach. Medications are meant to heal, however, they can also harm. Blood pressure, heart meds, antidepressants, and pain killers like NSAIDs and acetaminophen are some of the common medications that are very toxic to animals (and children!). Best to keep them in a high cabinet.

Restrict access to foods and plants that are harmful to dogs and cats. While it’s tempting to slip your pets treats from your plate, many foods can be toxic to animals. Don’t forget, many plants can be hazardous too!

Foods That Can Be Poisonous to Pets
Plants Toxic to Pets

Pet Poisons from A to Z

Be prepared in case of a pet poisoning emergency. Keep hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal on hand in case of an emergency. Post the numbers for your preferred vet clinic and other emergency numbers near your phone. Don’t forget to program them into your phone to save valuable time. Speaking of phones, there are many pet health and emergency apps available for free download at the Google Play Store and Apple Store.

Outside of your vet, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435

National Walk Your Dog Month

National Walk Your Dog Month is your New Year’s Resolution with a twist! If you’re like most people, your annual list of resolutions included goals like ‘lose weight’ and ‘get healthy’. If you’re really like most people, that resolution is fading fast, so it’s time to act.

Pet parents can take a step towards achieving these goals simply by grabbing the dog leash and asking, “Wanna go for a walk?”

OMG! OMG! WALK! GO! GO! NOW! 

The sheer joy and unleashed excitement of your pet’s reaction will have you smiling and laughing while their tails are wagging.

The entire ritual of preparing for, and then going on the walk will not only boost your mood, but also help release your body cortisol and endorphins associated with positive health benefits like:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased endurance
  • Reduced pain & stress
  • Strengthened immune system

All this begins before you even get outdoors!  Happily, Arizona’s winter weather is usually pleasantly warm and sunny, so enjoy the time you have in cooler months – get out and explore.

Once you, Max, and Bella (Rover’s top pet names for 2017) are outside, take the time to really connect with the world around you. Dogs love to follow their noses, so try to allow them some leeway without losing control. During your journey, they’ll want to sniff out who’s been around recently, and leave a little dog graffiti here and there (don’t forget your poop bags). 

Regular exercise helps burn off excess energy that can lead to undesirable behaviors like chewing, scratching or digging. A bonus is there should be a lot less whining or barking for attention. But make no mistake, they will keep you on track by reminding you when it’s time to for your walk. Dogs thrive under regular routines, and so can you.

Best of all? You’ll both lose weight and get healthier.