Second Chance: Allergy Season

Second Chance: Allergy Season

As with human, an animal’s biggest organ is the skin.

And sometimes your pets have as much trouble with their skin as you do with yours.

Like itching.


There are so many things can cause an animal to itch: parasites (blech!), food allergies, plant allergies, shampoo allergies, dry skin and systemic disorders.

Below is a quick overview of how to address or prevent your pet’s skin issues.

If your pet is having skin problems, it is important to provide them with relief as soon as possible and that should begin by working with your veterinarian who can rule out and treat the easy things in a routine exam. Things like parasites, a thyroid issue, or the wrong shampoo can easily be remedied.

If the easy fixes don’t work for you and your beloved furry friend, it’s time to figure out if your pet is allergic to the world around it or the food they are digesting.

It is always easiest to look at food issues first. 

The most common food allergies in dogs are to chicken and grain. So buy a no-grain food with a novel protein (like salmon or duck or deer). Make sure you’re not giving any treats that have chicken or grain in them either. Be patient: it can take up to eight weeks to see improvement.

If you and your vet have ruled out or treated parasites, thyroid issues, irritating shampoos, and conducted a full food trial, then your pet may have what is known as non-food related “atopy.”  That is just a sensitivity to the surrounding environment – dust mites, pollens, grasses, etc. – and this is the time of year you will most notice these kinds of conditions.

There are some pretty intensive tests for those irritants, which do not always makes sense to subject a pet to unless you plan to keep your friend in a plastic bubble (to protect against dust mites or grass or air). So I suggest you not focus on which allergy he or she is experiencing as much as how to make your pet more comfortable through treatment.

There are a number of medications available, if your veterinarian recommends them, which can aid in that comfort, also fatty acid supplements and bathing with soothing ingredients including aloe.  Work with your veterinarian to determine the optimal treatment.

My name is Dusty – and not because I have a dust allergy. Actually I don’t have any allergies that I know of. 

I am only about one years old and I have only known the homeless life. My buddy and I were abandoned at the Box Canyon Lodge in Ouray, but the nice folks there knew we were destined for better lives and brought us to Second Chance.

I enjoy other cats, but I adore people – the reason I failed as a homeless cat). I am calm, gentle, loving and believe that I have a significant purpose to fulfill in my lifetime. Help me to fulfill that purpose by adopting me today.


Or if you are a dog lover you should meet Indie. 

Indie is a seven-month-old pup who was rescued form an awful hoarding situation. He is a very smart Border Collie/Heeler who has done well in the training classes here at the shelter. Indie is still a bit timid, but very gentle and loving and loves other dogs.

Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is  San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.

Michelle & Wallowby

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