Managing environmental allergies
Allergies are on the rise, especially at this time of year, not only for us, but for our pets as well. Dermatitis cases are on the rise and our first instinct is to believe that it is the result of a food sensitivity. Although food issues are becoming more common, we cannot overlook environmental sensitivities. . It is important to note that environmental allergens affect the external part of the body (skin, paws, ears) and the digestive system. Pollutants and allergens are breathed in and inevitably swallowed; the gastrointestinal wall reacts to these allergens, as does the outer skin. It is possible that an environmental allergy contributes to a digestive sensitivity with digestive reactions, or at least that it is presented in this form.
Unfortunately, we cannot control what is in the environment, so we must do our best to manage the irritation present in our pets at this time of year.
Environmental allergens get trapped in our pets’ hair and can cause constant irritation. It is important to remove these particles by regularly cleaning our pets with a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo. Between baths, a good weekly routine is to wipe down the most exposed areas of our pets and those where they are tempted to lick (which would lead to ingesting the allergens). The floor is where the highest concentration of irritants is found. Rinsing or wiping our pets’ paws when they come into the house can greatly reduce the risk of contact with irritants as well as their ingestion. Hairless bellies are also at high risk for irritation and should be wiped daily to prevent licking and injuries.
When pets are dealing with allergies, it is important to strengthen their immune systems as well as all the essential functions of their bodies. When the immune system is active, the body is under physiological pressure. In this situation, nutritional needs may increase. It is important to provide sufficient protein, quality fats, vitamins and bioavailable minerals to support whole body health.