NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Allergies are hitting many of us right now, in what experts say is one of the worst seasons in years.
As CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported Wednesday, pets are also experiencing those miserable symptoms – with veterinarians reporting a spike in recent cases.
The sneezing, along with constant scratching, watery eyes, coughing and runny nose, has made some dogs miserable the last few weeks thanks to grass, weeds and pollen. Just ask Marcelo Gomes.
“It kind of breaks your heart, of course,” Gomes said. “You want them to be perfect and frolicky.”
Gomez’s mini-dachshund, Lua, has a severe case of environmental allergies. She is scratching so much that her fur is coming off – the patches on her back side are visible.
“She won’t stop licking her paws at night,” Gomes said.
Lua is one of many pets flooding Dr. Jennifer Chaitman’s Upper East Side veterinary office for allergy testing and treatment. CBS2’s Gold asked Chaitman if dog owners should limit their pets’ time outside as a precaution.
“That would help, but then I feel bad for the dog,” said Chaitman, of Veterinary Internal Medicine and Allergy Specialists. “So my approach would be let the dog go outside and when the dog comes, in shampoo it.”
Chaitman advised giving dogs two baths a week with unscented hypoallergenic dog shampoo, and after they are outside, wiping off their face with a cold, wet washcloth.
She also advised keeping windows shut, and washing pets’ bedding twice a week.
“I think it makes a huge difference,” Chaitman said.
Chaitman said if your dog has mild allergy symptoms for a few days like coughing or sneezing, they do not require a trip to the vet. But she warns pet owners to pay attention to two specific symptoms that might warrant a visit.
“If the dog is up all night and can’t sleep, and if they scratch off skin and the area is red and thick underneath,” she said.
If the allergy is severe, dogs may need antihistamines, injections or medicated drops under the tongue – something Lua the dachshund will have to have.
“You just want them to have a really good life,” Gomes said.
Chaitman said pets may also deal with increased seasonal allergies again in August.