Does my pet have hayfever and what to do about it? From symptoms to treatments

·2-min read
The cause of allergies in pets is the same as it is in humans (AFP via Getty Images)
The cause of allergies in pets is the same as it is in humans (AFP via Getty Images)

Now that we’re in the midst of hayfever season, you might be wondering if your pets can suffer from hayfever too.

Each year, millions of people in the UK experience hayfever. It happens when flowers start to release pollen, and cause an allergic reaction which has symptoms similar to a cold.

So, can dogs and cats get hay fever too? Here is everything you need to know.

Can dogs and cats get hayfever?

Because the cause of allergies in pets is the same as it is in humans, pets can become irritated by high pollen counts, too. That means cats and dogs can be affected.

What are the signs of pet hayfever?

Both humans and pets can be allergic to pollen and suffer during hayfever season, but the signs of irritation are slightly different. So, what should you look out for? In humans, a runny nose, watery eyes and feeling short of breath are signs of allergies.

But if your dog or cat has hayfever, here are some things they may do:

  • Lick or bite their paws.

  • Excessively scratch.

  • Develop red skin around the eyes, ears and between paws.

  • Shake their head.

  • Rub their ears.

  • Appear tired and lethargic on days with high pollen counts.

Take your pet to the vet if they show any of these signs. But it’s also important to be aware that some symptoms of hay fever in cats and dogs can be signs of other, unrelated health issues.

What are the treatments for pet hayfever?

Your vet may recommend medication to help your pet manage their symptoms during hay fever season, according to the Met Office.

You could also try a food-elimination trial to rule out anything that is linked to diet, as your dog or cat could be allergic to more than one thing.

However, it’s not advised to give your dog or cat human antihistamines (as some could be toxic for them) or try any home remedies.

Common treatments include medicated ear and eye drops and specially-designed antihistamines. And essential fatty acid supplements may also help to treat a pet with hay fever.

You can also help your dog by walking them early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid high pollen counts at around midday. Try to keep your dog’s ears clean and wipe their fur, skin and paws down with a damp cloth to remove excess pollen after a walk.

Wash their bedding regularly, and use an air filter system to help with the allergy in the house, as well as hoovering the home as often as you can.