It started one day when I thought my dog was drooling on me. “Gross, Dakota,” I said as I got up to wipe my arm. But then, as I sat back down next to my Siberian husky, I realised that it wasn’t drool, but was her nose that was dripping, like she had a cold. I made a mental note to pay extra close attention to her during the next day or so to see if she was, in fact, not feeling well or if it was just a fluke. “Maybe she licked her nose and it was wet,” I thought. “Or maybe it was wet from her water bowl.”

Then I realised she seemed extra itchy, and she was scratching a bit more aggressively than usual. Cue crazy flea checks, combings, and bathings. The last straw came a day later when she yelped after digging in her ear, trying to clean it out. After a trip to the vet (and about $200 later!), I learned that my sweet girl had seasonal allergies, something that is more common in pets than one may think.

“Allergies are an extremely common problem in pets, but a lot of times, people don’t realise it until the symptoms are extreme,” said Rebecca Krimins, DVM, MS, and an associate professor and co-director of the Centre for Image-Guided Animal Therapy at John Hopkins University. And very much like people, your furry friend can be allergic to a plethora of things, added Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer for the American Kennel Club.

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“Pets can be allergic to things like mold, pollen, and dust mites. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if it’s seasonal or not,” he said. Dr. Klein noted that cats can sometimes develop feline asthma if they are exposed — and allergic — to things like dirt, dust, and smoke in the environment. “When you begin to see a pattern, it’s indicative of a seasonal allergy,” he said. Otherwise, Dr. Klein recommends that further exploration of these triggers and year-round treatment may be necessary after consulting with your vet.