Dog’s itch from time to time but if your dog is itching more than normal, it’s natural to question whether there is a problem. As hay fever season is already underway and we brace the itch season for Smudge (who has a slight intolerance to grass pollen), today we’re focusing on hay fever in pets. Read on if you’d like to understand what hay fever is, how it impacts our pets, and how to help manage hay fever for our darling cats and dogs.
What is hay fever?
According to the NHS, ‘Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes, and throat. Pollen is a fine powder from plants.’
Symptoms occur when your immune system reacts to pollen as if it were a foreign invader, trying to expel it. As hay fever is caused by pollen, it is considered an environmental or seasonal allergy.
Can dogs get hay fever?
Yes! Our little Smudge suffers from hay fever and tends to itch, sneeze and lick more than the norm from late April. Dogs can suffer from hay fever just like we hoomans do. It’s relatively common, with up to 10% of dogs in the UK predicted to suffer in some extent from seasonal allergies and much more common than food intolerances. Dog (and cat) hay fever has a special name: atopy, which is also known as an inhalant allergy.
Some breeds are more likely to suffer from hay fever than others. These are listed as; Pit Bull Terrier, Bichon Frise, Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Dalmatians, Yorkshire Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Irish Setter, Schnauzers, West Highland Terriers. The reasoning for some of these are that their facial and nasal structure makes them more susceptible, or even their type of coat. It is also thought that pups that don’t spend much time outdoors in their early years can be more susceptible, as they haven’t had the chance to build up any resilience.
How about our kitties? Can cats get hay fever?
Indeed they can! Cats can suffer from hay fever just like us. Your kitty may be affected from birth, or develop the allergy with time as it develops into a larger reaction. If your kitty’s biological parents suffer from hay fever, it’s likely they will inherit the allergy too.