Tuesday, 18 September 2012

4 Tips To Help Your Dog Cope With Seasonal Allergies

Dear Pet People,

It was about this time last year (mid September), that my allergy-free dog began to scratch, bite and lick his paws. It seemed as though Harry was scratching almost constantly throughout the day - the poor boy was even kept awake at night from being itchy. 

After ruling out all the other causes of Harry's itchiness, the vet diagnosed him with seasonal allergies. She assured me that Harry would feel much better after the first frost.  In the meantime, I needed to ease the itch - his paws were beginning to bleed and the skin near his elbows was starting to crumble off.  Determining the proper treatment of Harry's allergies was a bit complicated since he has canine liver disease (diagnosed in the spring of 2011).

I am by no means an expert, but here are some things I did to help my dog cope with his seasonal allergies:

1. Rinse the paws. Harry's vet suggested that I rinse his paws and forelegs in clear water each time he came in from outside.  This helped to clear away some pollen from his body. 

2. Moisturize with Vitamin E oil.  I opened Vitamin E capsules and massaged the oil into Harry's elbows to moisturize his extremely dry skin.  The oil seemed to really help his skin and temporarily soothed the redness. 

3. Benadryl.  I try to keep Harry as free as possible from medications that may stress his liver.  However, in this case I took the vet's recommendation and dosed Harry with Benadryl.  The Benadryl only helped a little, and it made him very sleepy and spacey.  When the Benadryl was no longer effective I had to consider a stronger medication.

4 Prednisone.  This wasn't a medication I wanted to give Harry.  As a dog with liver disease I knew that the steroid content would be harmful to his liver.  However, my feeling was that Harry needed to feel as comfortable as possible in what may be his last few months.  The vet prescribed a very low dose of Vanectyl-P tablets and it helped him.  

As it happened, I only needed to give Harry three tablets of the Vanectyl-P and then frost hit!  I was never more happy to see my summer flowers die! Not long after that, Harry stopped itching!  And he's still here one year later!!!!

Harry celebrating his 8th birthday!

These are some of the steps I took to help my dog cope with seasonal allergies.  Every case of itching in animals is different. Treatment that may be appropriate for my dog may not be appropriate for yours.  It's important that you speak with your vet regarding your pet's health issues and specific course of treatment.

Enjoy your pets,