Spring Has Sprung: How To Identify Your Dog’s Allergies and Help Alleviate Them
Allergy season has arrived, and I’m sure some of you are all too familiar with it. The days of high pollen counts can leave you feeling itchy, and your nose won’t stop running. There’s no doubt you hate feeling this way - and so does your dog. Believe it or not, dogs get allergies in the spring, just like we do. You may have noticed your dog acting differently recently and wondered why this might be. The answer could be that they have developed seasonal allergies.
There are many different types of allergies in dogs, and sometimes it can be down to a food allergy. However, we’ll be focusing solely on seasonal allergies. Soon you’ll know why it occurs, the symptoms, and how to treat it. It can be a very uncomfortable sensation for your dog, so knowing what to look out for can lead to a happier pup and more wagging tails.
Below is the low-down on all things to do with seasonal allergies and how they may affect your furry friend. Please remember that these are all hypothetical reasons your dog may be seeing symptoms, and you should always consult your vet to verify any causes of discomfort and address them accordingly.
There are several different causes of allergies in dogs, and it can sometimes be difficult to tell what one is affecting your pup. Allergies happen when the dog’s immune system identifies something in the environment that’s dangerous. Some common causes of allergies include:
- Flea Saliva
It could be any one of these that affect your dog, but you can look out for some and prevent them. For example, if you have long grass, weeds, or a lot of mold, you may be able to remove them before the season begins.
Most allergy symptoms in dogs affect their skin. If your pup appears to have reddened and irritated skin that wanes with the seasons - it could be a strong indicator that they suffer from seasonal allergies. However, these are not the only symptoms. Others may include:
- Excessive licking and over-grooming of a specific body are
- Bald or thinning patches in the fur
- Areas where fur is absent
- Inflamed skin - itchy or flaky
- Itchy ears
- Smelly ears
- Head shaking
- Persistently rubbing their faces and snouts against furniture
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Respiratory congestion
- Licking paws or anus
Whether they are alone or combined, any of these symptoms are strong indicators of seasonal allergies in dogs. The most commonly affected areas will be the paws and ears, but the wrists, ankles, snout, underarms, groin, eyes, and in-between toes can also be affected. Sometimes skin allergies can lead to secondary infections such as yeast and bacterial infections.
Dealing with Seasonal Allergies in Dogs
One way to test for seasonal allergies in dogs is something that’s done by a vet. The test involves a small amount of test allergens that are injected under your dog’s skin. Your vet will then look out for redness, swelling, and hives that may have occurred due to the allergen. From the results, your vet may create a specialized serum or immunotherapy shot that can be administered.
However, there are other ways you can address these symptoms in your dog. Reduction of symptoms may be achieved by regularly bathing to remove any pollen, dust, dander, and bacteria from the skin. Washing the ears can also help remove dirt and bacteria that lead to irritation. Similarly, washing the paws may remove any allergens your dog brings in from outside before they can do any damage.
Other remedies can include giving your dog over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl. They are typically safe with dogs but may cause drowsiness or hyperactivity in some. Be sure to check the label, so you choose an antihistamine that doesn’t include ingredients that aren’t safe for dogs - such as decongestants and pseudoephedrine. The dosage won’t be the same as for humans, so make sure you talk to your vet before giving it to your dog.
Some other natural remedies you may be able to use are:
- Fatty acid supplements - which help ease itchy and irritated skin
- Hypoallergenic shampoos - which remove the allergens
- Tea tree oil
- Coconut oil
- Fish oils
- Oatmeal shampoo
You now have all the information you may need to prepare yourself for seasonal allergies in your dog. Identifying the symptoms is the most important because it could be a reaction to food instead. Seasonal allergies tend to change over the year, whereas a food allergy will come on much quicker. As a reminder, you should always consult your vet before treating these symptoms at home, in order to address the root cause of the issue and find the best way to address it.
If you follow the different treatments, you’ll have a happy dog with minimal suffering. Most of the time, seasonal allergies cannot be prevented, so the best thing to do is suppress the symptoms once they occur. To aid with skin allergens and contamination, our Buddy Bed is machine washable, meaning your you can keep your pup safe from the allergens they may bring in by washing your bed on a regular basis!