Here's how to quickly find out if your dog or cat has hayfever - and what to do if they have

Does your cat have hayfever?
Does your cat have hayfever?

The heatwave is expected to cause sniffles across the country but did you know that your pets can suffer from hay fever too?

Pictured: Yorkshire snappers soak up the summer solstice sun

PIC: Charlotte Graham

PIC: Charlotte Graham

As the Met Office announced Very High pollen levels across Yorkshire, here’s how to spot, treat and prevent hay fever in your four-legged friends.

It has been ten years since the pollen levels have been so high which means it is worth keeping an eye on your pets.

The cause of allergies is the same in pets as it is humans and is caused by allergies to grass, tree or weed pollen.

The symptoms are a bit different though which could make it harder for owners to spot the signs.

Rather than a runny nose or watery eyes, pets exhibit hay fever in ways that could be mistaken for something else.

Licking or biting their paws is a common sign of hay fever in pets but could often be ignored by owners as the pet simply trying to clean their paws.

Excessive scratching is also a common sign that may be mistaken for fleas.

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Redness of the skin, especially around the eyes and ears and in between the paws is another sign to look out for.

Shaking their head or rubbing their ears or muzzle could be confused is a sign of hay fever.

Tired or lethargic behaviour, particularly on high pollen count days is another sign of hay fever but could often be dismissed as sunshine sleepiness.

Pets that show any of these symptoms should be taken to the vet to properly diagnose the hay fever before they are treated for any other allergies.

This is just incase it is another health issue instead.

To treat a pet with hay fever the vet may recommend some medication to reduce or manage their symptoms during the summertime.

If the pet has allergies to more than one thing then the vet may put them on a food-elimination trial to see if it is anything to do with their diet.

Home remedies should be avoided until after owners have checked with a vet and any unprescribed medication should not be given to the pet because it could be dangerous in the wrong doses or to certain species.

Top tops to reduce hay fever symptoms in pets:

-Try and figure out which pollen it is they are allergic too and walk them in areas where there is the least of that type.

-Try to avoid walking dogs in the early morning and late evening as this is when the pollen count is the highest.

-The best time to walk dogs is before dawn, late afternoon and early evening - although this does depend on the weather.

-Keep dogs on a lead when walking near grass because even a quick roll in the grass can leave them covered in pollen.

-Wipe their paws and muzzle with a sensitive baby wipe or with water after every walk.

-Brush them daily to remove any pollen that is clinging to their fur.

-If the dog has long hair then trimming the fur may help reduce pollen and keep them cooler in the hot weather.

-Wash the pets weekly to get rid of any lingering pollen.

-When washing them be sure to use a hypo-allergenic pet shampoo that has antibacterial ingredients to help avoid infection if the pet does start scratching.

-Get into the habit of washing their bedding weekly to make sure they don’t get covered in pollen every night.

-A skin supplement added to pet food could improve the strength of their skin barrier resistance to pollen.