It is allergy season and for some of us, that means doses of antihistamines and other medications to stop the runny nose and itchy, watery eyes.
What works for us, however, is not what works for pets suffering with allergies. There are many signs a pet can display to show they have seasonal allergies.
The most common sign of an allergy attack in pets is skin itching with subsequent scratching and rolling. Allergic skin reactions can occur locally (in one place on the skin). Pets can also get generalized irritations all over their body.
In some cases, allergy attacks may involve the respiratory system, as displayed with coughing, sneezing, and/or wheezing. Copious snot may or may not be present. With other seasonal allergens, there can be a runny discharge from the eyes or nose. If the mucous or runny eye material gets thicker, develops color or gets an off smell, that may indicate a secondary bacterial infection or another condition. You need to have your pet seen by a veterinarian sooner rather than later.
As for dosing animals with allergy medications, please leave that up to your veterinarian exclusively. Home trials of even the safest human drugs can result in death. If your funds are limited, let your veterinarian know and sometimes they can help with product samples or a few household tips to help.
Once your pet is correctly diagnosed, your veterinarian may prescribe certain medications. They may also offer medication and/or other means to assist the pet.
The Purple Leash Project
On another topic, consider the Purple Leash Project. Purina launched the project seven years ago when one of their associates learned 48 percent of domestic violence victims will not leave the abusive situation because, in most cases, the human shelter system will not let them bring pets.
Purina felt it was unfair that pets, who may be the only source of unconditional love and support for a victim, weren’t being considered when it came to sheltering survivors. So, the company decided to help.
Since its inception, Purina has helped one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the U.S. on its journey to become a leading voice and shining example of pet-friendly sheltering. They also helped found the PAWS Act Coalition in support of the Pets and Women Safety Act, which helps domestic abuse victims and their pets by advocating for federal resources dedicated to this cause.
Through the Purple Leash Project, together with RedRover and other allies, Purina continues to advocate for change and serve the needs of survivors and their pets by awarding grants to help domestic violence shelters become pet friendly. They also engage volunteers to help with the transformations and offer support for survivors with pets as new opportunities arise.
Locally, the great people at Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse struggle with victims that need protective sheltering and their pets. While they do allow emotional support/disability animals to accompany victims in their shelter, the doors are not wide open for any victim to bring any pet with them. That’s hard and understandable. ATVP did say they try their best to work with each client individually to find solutions to protect the victims and the pets.
Perhaps a grant application to the Purple Leash Project is in order?
Today, Purina’s goal is for 25 percent of U.S. domestic violence shelters to become pet-friendly by the end of 2025. Their long-term goal is to fundamentally change the landscape of domestic violence services for survivors with pets.
Powell is the public information officer for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides this column as a community service. For questions or concerns about animals you’d like to read about, email email@example.com.