ATLANTA - This year’s spring pollen season has been early, and intense. Today, the pollen count is 1,967, marking the third time this month the count is in the extremely high range. Last April, it reached this level only once.
It’s not just people that are sniffling and sneezing through the spring. Pets are struggling too.
Veterinarian Roxanne Pettit said she can tell the pollen count is high just by the influx of pet patients at her practice.
“I don’t even have to check pollen.com. I see how many itchy dogs come in, and I see where they are itchy," she said.
Dog breeds with short noses, such as bulldogs and boxers, are especially vulnerable to pollen that’s breathed in.
"There’s less nose to trap stuff. Your nose is supposed to protect your respiratory track,” Pettit said.
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But for most dogs, and cats, skin allergies to pollen are more common than respiratory.
“We have runny eyes, runny noses... eyelids swell – all of that. Dogs get itchy. Most commonly, dogs will lick their paws and scratch their sides,” Pettit said
Pollen that sits on a dog's or cat's fur can be absorbed by the skin, sending your pet into an itching frenzy.
Pettit recommends bathing your dog more frequently during the pollen season. In between bathings, frequent brushing works best to remove pollen from the coat.
“De-pollen them a little bit. Wipe their paws; wipe their coat,” she said.
While over-the-counter antihistamines can ease your pet’s allergies, Pettit strongly suggested consulting with your vet first.
“Just because it’s something you can buy over-the-counter, you may not know the right dose to give,” Pettit said.
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