Apr 3, 2024 - News

More scratchy, sniffly pets

Illustration of a tissue box with the opening in the shape of a dog bone

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If your dog has been scratching a lot this spring, you're not alone. More pets, particularly dogs, are being treated for itchy skin and allergies in California.

Why it matters: Seasonal allergies can be terribly uncomfortable for furry friends, and they can snowball into secondary issues, including skin infections.

By the numbers: Pet insurance company Trupanion reports a 56% increase in allergy claims for insured pets in California in 2023 compared to 2019, with the data growth-adjusted and measured on a per-1,000-pet basis.

  • And insurer Nationwide says allergies top the list of health conditions that prompt veterinarian visits.

What they're saying: It's hard to say whether allergies are indeed more prevalent or whether we're just "better at finding it and our pet owners better at seeking treatment," says Rena Carlson, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Between the lines: Skin problems in pets are "absolutely the No. 1 issue we see with allergies," Carlson tells Axios.

  • Allergies can also show up in the ear canal, which "is actually just an extension of the skin," she says.
  • And, with environmental allergies, the itchiness can appear seasonally.
  • Other reasons for itching in pets: a parasite-related skin problem or a food allergy.

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