Featured Article: Springtime Allergies in Pets

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Spring is an exciting time for humans and dogs! Flowers are blooming and the temperatures are rising. However, like humans, allergies can sometimes get the best of our furry friends. In this article we explore  triggers, prevention, and remedies. We also reached out to top NYC veterinarian, Dr. Popkowski at Worth Street Veterinarian Center to gain more insight about allergies. Dr. Popkowski is a native New Yorker and completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Cornell University.

Bark Baby Bark: “Are there certain breeds that are more prone to skin allergies?”

Dr. Popkowski: “Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are over represented, especially those with light color coats. Many Terriers and Schnauzers are also prone.”

Bark Baby Bark: “As a dog care company located in NYC, we were curious to know if there were different allergens in the city as opposed to a rural or suburban environment.”

Dr.Popkowski: “For some reason the city is a very allergenic environment, however, my experience is that some pet’s allergies get better when they leave the city and others worsen.”

Symptoms:
If you are wondering wether your pet has allergies or not, here are some symptoms to look out for.

  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy ears and ear infections
  • Paw chewing due to swollen paws
  • Constant licking
  • Increased scratching
  • Secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections may cause hair loss and scabs on the skin

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Triggers & Treatment Options:

1) Diet: Dr. Popkowski educated us on the importance of monitoring your pets diet, “The gastrointestinal tract is the largest immunologic organ in the body, so you can imagine how important it is to pay attention to what we feed allergic pets. I strongly believe that the less processed diets with limited ingredients may be more effective at preventing some of the food components in the allergic process. My preventive approach includes a diet that ideally has a limited amount of ingredients and no grain, I would typically supplement that with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids found in fish oils.”

2) Environment: Like humans, pets suffer from environmental allergies as well. “When we perform allergy tests in pets, most dogs will have multiple allergens that they react to, usually a couple of trees, weeds and some indoor allergens like dust mites and molds. As you can imagine they are quite difficult to prevent and the treatment varies tremendously among pets.” Dr. Popkowski stated.

  • If dust is an issue for your pet: make sure to clean your pet’s bedding once a week and vacuum rugs, curtains, and other dust collecting materials at least twice a week.
  • Ask your vet about prescription shampoos which will help remove pollens and environmental allergens from your pet’s skin. Dr. Popkowski recommends rinsing paws daily with water and washing your pets skin with a shampoo every 3 weeks or so.
  • Discuss with your vet if you think your pet will need medications. Medications such as Benadryl and supplements may be prescribed. Allergy injections are also an option as well. Be sure to consult with your vet before trying anything.

3) Natural remedies: We always want to use the safest and best products for our pets and our homes. However, sometimes it’s hard to use natural remedies to effectively treat allergies. Prevention is really the best treatment. “Allergic reactions come in multiple ways, unfortunately in most cases, by the time the signs become noticeable to the owners, the natural remedies aren’t potent enough to stop itching,” said Dr. Popkowski. So clearly the best remedy is trying to prevent pet allergies from getting ahead of you.

We want to thank Dr.Popkowski for speaking with Bark Baby Bark and for providing us with more information about pet allergies. To learn more about Worth Street Veterinary Center and Dr. Popkowski, please visit their blog at https://worthstreetvet.wordpress.com.

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