Why Does Spring Makes Your Pet Scratch?

Though springtime brings beautiful flowers and warmer weather, some pet owners can mark the changing season by how itchy their dog or cat becomes. Humans aren’t the only ones vulnerable to allergies; animals can suffer from them too. Here are somethings you can do to ease the discomfort and to help your pet feel better.

Check for external parasites

Your pet may be scratching itself because of several reasons, and they all require your attention. If your dog or cat has any areas of hair loss, redness on the skin, or you see something crawling around the fur, contact your veterinarian for appropriate treatment as your pet could have fleas, lice, mites, or ringworm (a fungus that can also infect people).

Is it allergies?

Constant scratching, itching, or chewing could also be a sign of an allergy. Your pet could be reacting to a seasonal allergen such as pollen or mold, or to a non-seasonal one like dust. It may also be a flea allergy. Some animals are so sensitive to flea bites that they can scratch and get very uncomfortable from just a few flea bites–you may not even see any fleas at all! This is called flea allergy dermatitis.

It is vital to consult the veterinarian so that he or she may investigate the itching, and the condition can be treated accordingly. The doctor may take a blood sample to look for underlying metabolic issues, scrape the skin, or take hair samples. Oftentimes, animals respond to more than one allergen, and this makes it difficult to pinpoint specific causes.  An antihistamine, steroid, or other medication may be prescribed by the veterinarian to reduce the itching. He or she may also recommend that you use a medicated shampoo and creme rinse to soothe the skin.

Food allergies are also common causes of itchy skin in animals. An allergy is not always the result of eating something new. In fact your pet may be allergic to something it has been eating for quite a while. Though blood tests for food allergies are not reliable, your veterinarian will be able to discuss performing a food trial if this is suspected in your pet.

Contact allergies or contact dermatitis can also cause itching in pets. If this is the case, the irritated skin usually happens at “contact points” which are the places where the animal lies or comes into contact with the allergen. Common offenders include a new shampoo, room freshener, and carpet or floor cleaner.

Itchy, irritated skin can be quite uncomfortable for a pet, so it is a good idea to investigate the condition sooner rather than later. Though it may not always be possible to track down the exact cause of the allergy, together you and your veterinarian can devise a plan to help your dog or cat get some relief from the itchiness that spring can bring.