Spring is in the air and with the days getting longer we are able to spend that much needed time outdoors with our pets. However for some of us spring means allergies and we are not alone, dogs and cats can also suffer as a result of the increased pollen in the air at this time of year.
Although allergies can strike at any time of year and can be caused by a number of things including food, cleaning chemicals and dust mites, spring is a time when pet allergies can be at their worst and these allergies tend to be caused by outdoor triggers such as grasses, tree shrub, pollens, farm crops such as cereals, oil seed rape, mould spores and ragweed.
Unlike humans whose allergy symptoms are usually respiratory, symptoms to watch out for in dogs and cats are most often skin-related including itchiness, irritation, hot spots and inflammation - a condition called allergic dermatitis. Excessive licking can also be a sign there is some skin irritation.
The area's most common for itching include paws, ears and face. Pets may also try and rub themselves against carpets and furniture to satisfy the itch. Excessive itching can cause the skin to become damaged, sore, and dry. Signs of allergic dermatitis include areas of hair loss, open sores on the skin, and scabbing. It is also common to get secondary bacterial infections of the skin due to these self-inflected lesions.
Another effect of itchy skin than can develop in dogs (rarely seen in cats) are hot spots. A hot spot is an area of inflamed, infected skin that occurs when your dog's natural bacteria overwhelms an area of their skin. Typically the skin will be very red, and often there is bleeding and hair loss.
There are a number of topical treatments that can be used to both ease the itching for your pet as well as natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory products to help treat any sores. Skin balms can also be used to moisturise and protect the skin, forming a barrier to let the skin heal. We have selected our top 10 products which can be used to treat itchy skin below, however the full range is available here.
In addition to topical treatments it can also be a good idea to bathe your pet frequently if you notice they are excessively itching or licking their skin using a shampoo which is chemical free. Brands who stock these shampoos include Wild Wash, Serendipity Herbals, Hownd and CSJ.
Please note: If your pet only has a reaction such as itching during the spring and summer months then they are most likely to have an allergy to something at that time, such as tree and or grass pollen. If, however your pet continues to have allergic reactions outside of these seasons, then this likely points to an all-the-year source so you may need to see your vet for allergy tests.
Our Top 10 Products for Itchy Skin in Cats and Dogs:
1.Dorwest Evening Primrose Oil for Cats & Dogs – Evening primrose oil which contains omega-6 fatty acids and a high content of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) has active anti-inflammatory and anti-itch compounds. Evening Primrose oil can be added to food, dropped into the mouth or it can be applied to your cat or dog’s skin to help with dry or itchy skin issues. £10.40
2. Green Relief (formerly known as Mixed Vegetable) tablets from Dorwest. Using selected fresh green plants and their seeds, Green Relief tablets contain natural anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, anti-bacterial and pain-relieving compounds making them an effective treatment for reducing the irritation associated with many common skin conditions. £9.30
3. Diet' Dog Itchy Skin Complex (Granules) are a a powerful natural aid to skin allergies and skin and coat problems (hair loss, bold patches, sore patches, redness, itchy skin and coat, eczema, skin rashes). This product helps improve skin and coat condition, fight skin conditions and relieve symptoms of itching and scratching and allergic reactions in general. From £14.49
4. Diet' Dog Skin Relief Spray is a steroid free, natural product specifically designed to rapidly help relieve itching and scratching commonly associated with pet skin problems such as eczema/skin irritations (dust mite, fleas etc.) and dermatitis. It provides relief straight away. It can also prevent further scratching, biting and licking, calm, cools and soothes irritation and inflammation and promote the healing of damaged, grazed, wounded, sore, inflamed and irritated skin and tissue. £10.99
5. Phytopet Herbal Allergy Aid is a fast acting liquid botanical extract with a non-drowsy combination of botanical extracts to help pets with hot itchy skin conditions caused by allergies. The combination of herbs have been shown to have anti-Histamine and anti-inflammatory actions. Use for allergic reactions and hot inflamed itchy skin. Contains: Huang Qin, Ginkgo, Eyebright and Nettle. From £6.99
6. Proflax Skin and Coat Superfood - a daily superfood supplement which helps to soothe, itchy, sensitive skin, promote a shiny coat, alleviate allergies, reduce hair shedding and has a calming effect. This product is ideal for dogs that suffer from seasonal allergies, have dry flaky skin, dull coats or excessive moulting. From £13.49
7. Dr Mercola Seasonal Support has been developed to give greater comfort to pets during allergy season by helping to support an optimally functioning immune system, allowing it to re-balance itself when confronted with environmental allergens, as well as supporting a normal inflammatory response to potential allergens by helping to maintain normal histamine levels. £25.99
8. Hilton Herbs Bye Bye Itch Lotion is specially designed for seasonal itching in dogs and horses. Contains coconut oil, aloe vera, MSM, rosemary essential oil and lemon grass essential oil. Soothing and cooling perfect for pets prone to seasonal skin irritation. Helps soothe irritation and encourage healthy hair growth. £9.00
9. Wild Wash Healing Paw (and Skin) Balm is super conditioning made with sweet almond oil, Frankincense and Kanuka. Moisturising for dry skin and paws as well as helping form a barrier to protect the damaged skin. Great for use on hotspots, itchy spots, cuts and grazes, to moisturise nails and dry noses and for dry patches. Suitable for both dogs and cats. £12.95
10. Wild Wash Pro Conditioning Dog Shampoo For Itchy and Dry Coats is a natural pH balanced pet shampoo with super conditioning and anti-irritating soybean phospholipids and neem. A natural flea deterrent, with its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. Nutrient rich Sea Kelp nourishes and promotes hair growth whilst Aloe Vera soothes and calms. £14.95