(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
The pandemic has caused pet adoptions and sales to soar because who doesn’t want a cute, furry friend for extra snuggles during this time? What some might be noticing is that those snuggles from a cute pup or kitty come at a cost – itchy allergy eyes. If you are experiencing irritated, itchy eyes since bringing home your furry friend, you might be allergic to pet dander and animal hair. Before you make plans to send your new best friend back to the shelter, there might be help.
Dog owner and New York University Langone Health allergist-immunologist Dr. Tania Elliott understands these unpleasant allergy symptoms all too well and has some ideas on how to keep your allergies under control when you are sharing your home with a pet.
“Eye allergies can either be seasonal or perennial and can be triggered by indoor or outdoor allergens. If you tend to get itchy eyes around the same time every year, you may be suffering from seasonal allergies,” says Elliott. “Seasonal allergies are most common in the spring, summer and fall when the pollen count is higher and people tend to spend more time outdoors. Unlike seasonal allergies, perennial or year-round allergies may occur at any time of the year or last all year long.”
See a doctor to confirm if your pet is causing your symptoms
Although you may think that your new pet is the culprit for your eye allergies, your long outdoor walks with your furry friend could also be exposing you to outdoor allergens, such as pollen or ragweed.
“As soon as you bring a new pet home, it’s important to monitor your symptoms and write everything down,” says Elliott. “Once you’ve monitored your symptoms, you can make small changes to see if that helps with your itchy eyes. If your symptoms do not subside, then you should visit your allergist or eye doctor to determine the cause.”
Give your pet regular baths
Pet dander is made up of tiny flecks of skin shed by animals with fur or feathers. These particles are so small that they can end up airborne and may cause itchy, red eyes. To minimize the spread of pet dander, it is important to bathe your pet once to twice a month, if not more. “As a dog owner myself, I make sure that my dog is bathed at least twice a month to help minimize allergic triggers in my home,” says Elliott.
Look for over-the-counter options that help you find relief
Avoiding exposure to the allergen that triggers you can keep eye allergies at bay, but Dr. Elliott knows that is not always possible. Luckily, for both indoor and outdoor allergy sufferers, finding relief from itchy allergy eyes can be as simple as heading online or to the store shelf. Pataday Once Daily Relief and Pataday Twice Daily Relief feature the ingredient doctors prescribed most for eye allergy itch relief without the need for a doctor’s visit or prescription.
If you think your new pet is the cause of your itchy allergy eyes, try these tips to get relief. If your symptoms do not improve after making these small changes, visit your doctor to determine the source of your symptoms.
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)