As we prepare for summer by cleaning off the grill, finalizing vacation plans and ensuring we have our umbrellas ready for those afternoon rain showers, it’s important to also prepare our pets for the change in season. Many skin ailments begin with the start of summer and can be triggered by multiple factors. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately one out of five dogs nationwide suffer from some type of allergy.
Fleas, ticks and other insects, more prevalent than at any other time of the year in South Florida, are a main cause of skin issues for pets. Tree and grass pollen are also significant factors in triggering allergies. Another hazard pet owners should be aware of during the summer is sunburn. While the sun is usually shining throughout the year here in South Florida, it is particularly strong during the summer months and lighter pigmented animals, particularly those that are white, really should be protected with an SPF of 15 or higher. It is typically safe to use any sunscreen that is safe for a child on your pet. Additionally, too much time in the sun can lead to dehydration and stroke, so make sure your pet has access to plenty of fresh water.
Signs pointing to potential issues that pet owners should keep an eye out for include rubbing and itching the face, licking the paws, both the tops and the bottoms, and extreme scratching. If not addressed and treated properly, allergies can lead to even more serious issues such as secondary staph infections and a loss of sleep and appetite.
Among one of the most effective treatments for seasonal allergies in dogs is immunotherapy. This is a process in which the skin is tested using different allergens such as grass, weeds and dust mites to find out what is causing the allergy symptoms. Once diagnosed, the owner then gives the pet an injection once every three weeks to build up a tolerance. Our dermatology expert here at Miami Veterinary Specialists is happy to provide a consultation and can diagnose and treat a wide variety of skin issues, including those stemming from allergies.
So as you’re making final preparations for Memorial Day festivities, make sure to keep your furry friends in mind so that everyone in the family can have a fun, enjoyable summer.