It’s that time of year again. With flowers in bloom and the weather warming up, allergies abound. Allergies can be just as miserable for pets as they are for people. The constant itching, scratching, paw licking, chewing, skin rashes or chronic ear infections that come with allergies can make life very uncomfortable for canines. Just like people, there are several different allergies that affect pets. Knowing the type of allergies a dog suffers from can help determine the best course of treatment. Options can include antihistamines, immunotherapy and topical creams. This is not a situation a pet owner can diagnose on his/her own. Rather, a visit to the vet is needed to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Allergies often show up in three ways:

Skin: Symptoms include itching, scratching and continually chewing and licking paws; skin sores or lesions may develop.

Respiratory system: Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, wheezing and possibly nasal or eye discharge.

Digestive system: Vomiting or diarrhea may occur

Types of dog allergies

Inhalant (atopy) allergy: The release of pollens into the air causes a dog with allergies to suffer, much like we do. An allergic reaction to pollen can cause swelling and itching. A dog’s skin may become flaky and dry, and he may scratch the area excessively. The feet are especially sensitive, and licking or chewing to try to alleviate the itching may occur. Constant licking of the groin area, rubbing of the face, inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections, recurrent hot spots, and sometimes, respiratory problems including wheezing and coughing are all related to this allergy. If a dog suffers from inhalant allergies, he should be kept indoors as much as possible to limit contact with pollen.

Flea allergy: Fleas make their comeback with a vengeance in the spring. If a dog is allergic to fleas, just one bite can cause severe itching and swelling of the affected area. A dog may scratch, lick or chew the bites, often resulting in open sores and loss of hair in that area. Flea treatments to the dog will kill the fleas; however, treating the pet alone is not enough. The home must be treated, as these pests can hide in carpets and curtains and reinfect an animal upon contact.

Food allergies: These can occur year-round. A change in diet can result in an allergic reaction. Symptoms include itching of the face, feet, trunk, limbs and anal areas; ear infections that are often yeast-related; and skin infections that may go away with antibiotics, but recur as soon as the antibiotic is completed. In some cases, dogs with true food allergies may have increased bowel movements and soft stool. A trip to the vet is in order to diagnose food allergies.

Events

THURSDAY: Jefferson SPCA Special Buddy Break at the General Government Building from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 200 Derbigny St., Gretna, in the field between the parking garage and General Government Building. Special guest Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni conducts an opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Nobody needs a brisk afternoon walk more than a desk-bound office worker — except for maybe a shelter dog.

Buddy Break is a Jefferson SPCA program pairing 9-to-5ers with shelter dogs for lunchtime strolls. Everyone gets the fresh air, camaraderie, exercise and tail-wagging they need. Also on tap at the Buddy Break are dozens of adoptable shelter dogs, a Puppy Party with unlimited play for kids and adults alike with adorable shelter pups, and free “I walked a dog at Buddy Break” stickers. Lose any dog hair on your clothes after your stroll with lint rollers donated by Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter. For more information, send an email to jacob@ jeffersonspca.org.

SATURDAY: Animal Rescue New Orleans Adoption Event at Petco, 3520 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie. Adoptable dogs, information on volunteering and fostering. For more info, contact adopt@animalrescueneworleans.org

SATURDAY: Critter Cinema, sponsored by the Louisiana SPCA, will be held at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Great fun for animal-loving, pizza-eating, movie-watching kids. What better way to end the week than getting cozy with kitties and puppies, enjoying G-rated critter movies, making friends with other young animal lovers and snacking on pizza and popcorn at the Louisiana SPCA. For kids ages 5-10, please feel free to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and PJs. $35 per child. Preregistration is required; call (504) 368-5191, ext. 207, or email erica@la-spca.org. For more information, visit www.la-spca.org/crittercinema.

SUNDAY: Reactive Rover workshop will be held at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., at 1:30 p.m. Does your dog bark and lunge at other dogs while on a leash? This workshop will lay out the genetic and environmental underpinnings of dog to dog reactivity, discuss the underlying cause and provide protocols for modifying the behavior. The Reactive Rover workshop includes resources, training plans, video tutorials and a discount on our Reactive Rover classes. This is a humans-only workshop. Cost to attend the two-hour class is $25. Registration is required. Visit www.la-spca.org/trainingworkshops for more information and to register.

SUNDAY: Free Intro to Dog Training workshop will be held at 3 p.m. at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. This workshop is open to new adopters, seasoned pet owners and anyone looking to learn a little more about how to effectively communicate with their dog. It covers the basics of how dogs learn and how you can make the most of their training. As an added benefit, anyone who attends will receive a discount code for 10 percent off a Manners training class. Note that this is a humans-only workshop. No registration is required; walk-ins welcome. For more information, visit www.la-spca.org/trainingworkshops.

TUESDAY: Puppy Manners Class will be held at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. Teach your puppy basic manners, address and prevent behavior problems and provide an important socialization experience for your new family member. This is an open enrollment, five-session class. You may start at any time, but your five classes must be used consecutively due to age requirements for this class. Puppies must be less than 16 weeks at the start of their first class, and have received their first two rounds of DHPP vaccinations administered by a licensed veterinarian. Puppies adopted from a shelter must be in the home for two weeks before they attend a class. Humans may attend classes without their puppy until their puppy is eligible to attend. The cost for the five sessions is $115; registration is required. Visit www.la-spca.org/group training for more information.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to lostandfound@la-spca.org. In Jefferson Parish, send to molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois@jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, send to cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com, or visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.