Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Allergies

It's that time of year, all the trees and flowers are blooming and spring is peeking out to greet us.
With all this beauty comes Allergies. If you suffer with any allergies then you know just had bad you can feel during this wonderful season. Have you ever thought about our pets having allergies? I know I hadn't. But indeed they can suffer just as we humans do to many of the same things that cause us to sneeze and be stuffed up.

For pets it can many times be worse than we suffer. Why? Because our pets are on the
floor and ground! We carry pollens, molds & Fungi in on our cloths and shoes. Walk
across the carpet and floors right where our pets live.

Grass, one of our pets favorite things, they love to run and play in it. Just watch a dog in the
spring! Old and young, spring brings out the playful side of our dogs and you will see many
of them out running and rolling around in that beautiful fresh new grass that's coming up.
But did you know that grass has pollens in it? There are over 9,000 different types of grass.
All carrying different pollens that can cause a pet to have allergies. The grass pollination period
extends from April to July in the northern hemisphere.

Grasses to watch out for are:
Bermuda Grass, this is a creeping low growing grass and is one of the most common allergy causing grasses. Other grasses that may cause problems are June/Blue grass, Brome grass, Meadow Fescue, Orchard/Cocksfoot grass, Redtop or Bentgrass, Sweet Vernal, Cultivated Wheat and Timothy grass.

Trees which can cause allergies:
Trees account for much of the worlds pollen and are the oldest living plants in the world. Pines, firs, cypresses, cedars and junipers all shed prodigious quanties of pollen.
Alder, Ash, Birch, Box Elder, Cottonwood/Poplar, Hazelnut, Hickory /Pecan, Maple, Mountain Cedar, Juniper, Oak, Pine, Sycamore, and Willow trees.

Yes Weeds are not only bothersome to us and are gardens, they can cause allergies for
both us and our pets. Here are some that are known to cause problems.
Cocklebur, Dandelion, English plantain, Kochia, Lambs Quarters, Marsh Elder, Mugwort,
Pigweed, ragweed, Sheep Sorrel, Russian Thistle, Sagebrush and Wormwood.

Molds, Fungi & Yeast:
Molds, fungi and yeast are of allergic significance year around. these life forms are simply
ubiquitous. While there are some seasonal variations and certain peak periods most molds
survive indoor and outdoors through the year. Mold spores easily and quickly establish new colonies making them virtually impossible to eradicate.

Many fungal spores are found in soil and plant debris and get picked up by your pet inadvertently. Molds reach peak concentrations following a rain shower. Spore dispersal typically increases during the afternoon hours.

Molds, fungi and yeast can exist on the fur and skin on your pet. Pets that lick their paws and scratch themselves provide a warm moist suitable environment for spore growth.

Other Allergens:
Dust Mites, live in house dust and thrive on high humidity. They have a life cycle of about 2 to 4 months. Upholstered furniture, mattresses and carpeting are natural habitats for mites. Mites feed on human and animal dander and are practically impossible to eliminate. Killing mites with pesticides merely results in dead mites which is also a potent allergenic source.

Flea hypersensitivity is due to a protein material in flea saliva, waste and eggs. Fleas are the most common external parasite of companion animals and are an important cause of skin disease. There are some 1,500 species of fleas and is by far the most common allergic skin decease in dogs and cats. A symptom of flea bite hypersensitivity is an itchy and crusted dermatitis in animals that are sensitive to them.

Other items your pet could show a allergy to are:

Human hair, wool, cotton, kapok ( which is used as stuffing for cushions and furniture),
Orris root (found in potpourri to sustain color and fragrance), Jute, Sisal and house dust.

A bit over whelming isn't it. We're not trying to scare you about your pet. But rather to make
you aware that if your pet shows symptoms of allergies these might be some of the reasons.

Ideas to reduce exposure for your pets:
Frequent washing with a hypoallergenic shampoo will remove most pollen and mold from your pets skin and fur. Although temporary it is something that is very important to do. Furthermore pets that aren't bathed regularly will carry around pollen and mold and shake it off everywhere they go.

Outdoors: On windy days and during peak pollination times keep your pet indoors.
Keep pets off wet grass and away from piles of leaves, grass cuttings and rubbish.
Keep pets from running in fields and indoors when mowing or raking leaves, or watering plants and lawns.

Indoors: Keep your pets bedding and surrounding area clean. Use a disinfectant when pet is not around on their bedding using hot water and drying completely. Keep pets away from basements, cellars, bathrooms, laundry rooms and the refrigerator. Keep indoor areas dry and use a dehumidifier or air conditioning. Keep your pet off carpets, beds and furniture. Avoid dusty cans or bags of pet food. Do not give your pet leftover human food from the refrigerator.

More information can be found at

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