Monday, 17 August 2015

5 Tips for Dealing with Hay Fever and Seasonal Allergies in Dogs.

This may be a little late, if you or someone you know is a sufferer then you know it starts as soon as the weather goes above 15 degrees. As soon as the grass started to grow my dog Spud became an itchy scratchy sneezy nightmare. Poor baby. So after years of dealing with his allergies I have an action plan that maybe some of you can use if your pets suffer too.

1. Pre-emptive strike.

Before the itching gets severe you should consider some kind of anti-histamine treatment. My vet recommended Piriton, which works great, however it does have a drowsy element. My boy is a tiny tot, (well he's usually between 14-17 kilos) and half of one Piriton tablet twice a day is enough. If you're unsure of dosage, consult your vet.

Our vet also offered me a topical steroid which is sprayed on the itchy area and settles it, however it costs around £30 a bottle, plus I'm not entirely happy about using steroids as they haven't agreed with him in the past. Because the Piriton works for him, I decided to say no, however if you're desperate it is an option.

2. Stop them from scratching.

This may seem like you're being incredibly mean. We all know what it feels like when you can't scratch an itch but unfortunately dogs don't understand when to stop, and can cause themselves further problems. When the skin is over scratched it becomes very hot, which in turn can add to the itching. Also, my dog has had problems with his nipples. He rubs his belly on the floor (carpet, grass, one time even flag stones!) to soothe the itch but ends up with his nipples enlarged, sore, and sometimes they bleed. Stopping this would be a positive in the long run.

3. Cool the area.

If they do scratch and get themselves all hot and burning, you can cool the area with a cold compress or, I like to point a desk fan at his tummy and spray a little water from a spray bottle (you can pick these up anywhere for less than £1) on the affected area and the evaporation cools the skin right down. He loves it :)

4. Keep grass/plants to a minimum.

When the grass in the garden is long, it rubs on Spud's legs and tummy and makes him 1000x worse. The best thing to do is keep the grass as short as possible and, if you can, reduce their exposure. If you walk them through a park with tall grass, take the pavement instead.

5. Treat the affected area.

When the itching is still not under control there are a number of things that can be applied to the skin. Sudocrem is something that has been being used on nappy rash and eczema for years. On a rash on the dog's tummy, it can be soothing and stop the itching. I've been using Sudocrem on Spud for years (the traditional kind, in the pot) but recently I was sent a PR Sample of the new small tubes of a slightly more lightweight cream called 'Sudocrem Skin Care'* which also works great. It is lighter, and better suited to more regular use than the thicker heavier creams. Another option is Calamine Lotion. Used to settle itchy rashes like chicken pox, insect bites, and nettle stings, it's great for cooling and soothing the tummy. It also dries super fast and residue is left in the form of dusty powder as apposed to greasy cream. The biggest task you'll have here is getting your pet to lie still for the application. If they're anything like Spud they'll wriggle and thrash around impossibly.

Hopefully this helps if anyone's pets are struggling. And you can get your dogs back to happy little beauties like mine :)

1 comment:

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