Is Allergy Season Affecting My Dog?

Dog with seasonal allergies rolling in dandelions.

If you’ve noticed your dog scratching a lot more lately, you are not alone. The team at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital gets plenty of questions about this behavior as the weather begins to warm. Seasonal allergies in canines are a frequent cause of skin disorders and other complications this time of year. Keep reading for more information on how seasonal allergies affect your pet and which dog allergy treatment can take the itch out of spring.

An Overview of Allergies

Like most of us, you may be dealing with some of the sneezing, watery eyes, and headaches that come from seasonal allergies. As the weather heats up, plants, flowers, trees, and grasses go to work releasing their pollen. Pollen is one of the biggest triggers for allergies in both people and their four-legged friends. 

Allergies are simply an overreaction or hypersensitivity to an allergen in the environment. This causes the immune system to go on “red alert” to get rid of the attacker (the allergen). During this process, histamines are released in the body, which makes for a wide array of symptoms.

Symptoms associated with allergies include:

  • Scratching
  • Biting at skin
  • Excessive licking
  • Eye discharge
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Sneezing
  • Disorders of the skin like hot spots and hives
  • Patches of missing fur
  • Red, stinky ears
  • Rubbing face on ground and furniture

Allergies develop for a number of reasons, some of which are genetic or based on breed. The most common breeds that deal with allergies are: Setters, Retrievers, Pugs, Bulldogs, Terriers, Boxers, and Bichon Frise. It is estimated that up to 10% of all dogs have one or more forms of allergies, so any dog can be at risk.

How to Treat Your Pet for Pollen Allergies

There is no single solution to managing seasonal allergies in dogs. We can help to alleviate the symptoms, though, through the use of certain medications. Your pet will need to be accurately diagnosed to determine the cause of their symptoms. Dog allergy treatment entails a few things, such as medications, supplements, and dietary changes based on their situation.

At home, you can reduce the itch and discomfort of the season by:

  • Walking your dog midday versus morning or evening hours, when pollen is at its peak.
  • Wiping off your pet’s paws and legs with a washcloth each time you come in from the outdoors.
  • Using HEPA filters in the furnace and vacuum.
  • Cleaning and laundering, including your dog’s bed, more often.
  • Bathing your dog with a medicated shampoo or an oatmeal based shampoo once a week, plus adding conditioning sprays to their grooming routine. 

In Summary: Is Allergy Season Affecting My Dog?

If your pet has been dealing with the impact of allergies, please call us for an appointment. We can get them back on the right healthy path in no time and provide additional recommendations for allergy relief for dogs.