Forecasters predict severe allergy season for people and some pets

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DENVER -- Forecasters say we’re in for not only an early allergy season—but a severe one.

And veterinarians say it will affect some pets as much as people.

One out of every 10 dogs has an allergy. Those allergies can be from food, flea bites and the environment—which right now is poised to cause your pooch some problems.

These April showers will bring more than May flowers to pet owners.

Pollenating trees, grass and flowers is giving rise to allergies in dogs.

Dukester has suffered with severe allergies for about two years.

"He started scratching one spot and would not leave it alone. It kept growing," says Dukester’s owner Deborah Rash, about baldness that appeared throughout his torso because of constant scratching.

"I was scared to death. When he started coming down with this, I had no idea," says Rash about dogs getting allergies.

"Allergies are common," says Dr. Linda Messinger, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist at Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado, who treated Dukester.

"As you can see he's gotten a lot of hair back," she tells Rash, as she examines Dukester’s skin.

She says common signs of allergy suffering might be overlooked as normal dog behavior.

"Scratching, biting, chewing, rubbing, rolling, those are all signs of itchiness, chronic or recurring ear infections, skin infections," says Dr. Messinger.

Also, what looks like grooming could be another measure of misery.

"People may think they're cleaning their paws, when in fact they have itchy paws. Dogs don’t really do this, like we do,” as she scratches one hand with her other hand. “Instead, they lick or bite their feet."

Dr. Messinger found a solution to the scratching with medication.

And now the soft-coated Wheaton terrier is back to his old puppy ways—even smelling grass is not problem—even if it’s artificial.

"I cried, thank you for giving me my dog back because he was just miserable," says Rash.

VRCC suggests wiping down your pet with hypoallergenic baby wipes or a wet wash cloth when they come inside.

Also, check the daily pollen counts at Stay inside when they’re higher—usually on windy days.

And if the problems persist, get a referral to a veterinary dermatologist.

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