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Spring allergies and other pesky problems of the season

Allergies are all too common and the same pollens and house dust that cause allergic reactions in people often cause allergic dermatitis in small and toy breed dogs. Allergic dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin. It can be caused by many things, but regardless of the source, the end result can be licking, scratching, maybe even hair loss, but definitely discomfort for your little dog.

Your veterinarian may try to help manage your dog's allergy by numerous methods including injections, oral medications, nutritional management, topical shampoos, dips, ointments and environmental treatments. At home, you can provide plenty of clean water (your veterinarian may even recommend distilled water). Do not hesitate to call your vet if questions or problems arise.

Here are some common, seasonal pests to protect against.

Heartworms
Heartworms can be prevented. Because this disease is frequently fatal, you should take the steps your veterinarian recommends to keep your small or toy breed dog from catching heartworms. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. Your veterinarian can prescribe a heartworm preventive and recommend the appropriate testing and preventative schedule for your dog. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your dog has heartworms.

Flea Control
If your little dog is allowed outdoors, complete elimination of fleas is often impossible. A more realistic goal is flea control, especially in warmer parts of the country. Flea control requires controlling the life cycle of the flea. There are many new, highly effective topical or oral products available today and your veterinarian can recommend which is most appropriate for your dog and household. Environmental treatment can shorten the time for complete flea control. Frequent vacuuming removes flea eggs in rugs and carpeting (promptly dispose of the vacuum bag). Laundering your dog's bedding is also advised. Preventative measures taken before you see fleas can save you and your dog a lot of discomfort.

Ticks
Ticks spread diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, etc. People and pets can contract these diseases, so ticks are a serious concern. During tick season, check your dog daily for ticks. Prompt removal can help prevent the spread of tick-borne illness (wear gloves when removing ticks). Keep the grass around your home cut short, and spray the yard with pesticides for tick removal.

Nutrition can impact dogs with food allergies and dietary fatty acid therapy has been used in dogs with allergic skin disease or dogs with pruritis or dermatitis. Ask your vet about the benefits of Hill's® Science Diet® Sensitive┬áStomach & Skin dog food.

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