Dogs can develop SEASONAL allergies just like their favorite two-legged humans. Their symptoms are similar to ours and include everything from sneezing and itching to watery eyes and irritated skin. Skin allergies are particularly worrisome as they can develop into more serious conditions if your dog scratches too much.
Fortunately, there are many safe and natural home remedies you can use to ease SEASONAL ALLERGIES in your dog. In some cases, you may also need to take your pup to your veterinarian for help developing the most effective treatment plan. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of dog skin allergies, symptoms, and tips on what you can do at home.
Types of Dog Seasonal Skin Allergies
While many of the symptoms are similar, not all skin allergies are the same. Some are caused by food while others are the result of critter infestations or environmental factors. All types of dog skin allergies can lead to skin infections like hot spots if left untreated. Some dog breeds, like golden retrievers, boxers, dalmatians, and Boston terriers are more likely to develop allergies. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of dog skin allergies and the main causes.
Some dogs may be allergic to ingredients in their food or medications. Beef, chicken, dairy, wheat, and lamb are the most common causes of food allergies in dogs. Dogs who are allergic to something in their food may display itchy skin on their paws and ears. They also tend to display gastrointestinal problems including vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea.
These allergies are difficult to diagnose at home. It’s best to bring your furry friend to the veterinarian. Your vet can help you determine the underlying cause using allergy tests or challenge diets.
Challenge diets focus on removing the main offenders and adding them back in one-by-one to identify which ingredient is causing the allergic reaction. While some companies market hypoallergenic foods, there is no such thing as truly hypoallergenic dog food. Instead, look for a dog food that is labeled as a “limited ingredient diet” (LID) or foods made with hydrolyzed protein if you believe your pup is allergic to meat proteins.
Critter and Flea Allergies
Flea allergy dermatitis is a condition where dogs are allergic to the saliva of fleas. Each flea bite triggers an immune response that causes allergy symptoms such as itching and skin irritation. Dogs can also be allergic to other critters, including dust mites, dog mites, and other parasites. Flea allergies most frequently cause irritation at the base of the tail and around the neck, but can also appear on the paws, legs, and other areas. Common signs of flea allergies include red, irritated skin and crusty scabs.
Environmental allergies can cause dry and irritated skin. Liand allergic dermatitis in response to a wide range of irritants. The most common environmental allergies in dogs are dust, grass, and pollen.
Household items, including candle fragrances, household cleaners, and essential oils, can also trigger allergic reactions in some pups. Dogs may develop contact allergies when they rub against an irritant — like rolling around in the grass — or when irritants are present in the air, known as canine atopy.
The majority of environmental allergies are seasonal. Seasonal allergies occur most often in springtime and early summer when pollen and other allergens are most prevalent. Environmental allergies affect the dog’s paws and ears, but irritation can also develop in the armpits, muzzle, groin, and in between their toe pads.
Common Symptoms of Seasonal Dog Skin Allergies
The best way to diagnose dog allergies that are causing skin problems is to visit a licensed veterinarian (DVM). A vet can conduct allergy testing to determine what might be causing the allergic reaction. This will help inform your allergy treatment options and your approach to minimizing allergy symptoms. In general, dogs suffering from allergies may display the following symptoms:
- Dry skin or itchy skin
- Hair loss (typically from excessive scratching)
- Ear infections
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
- Constant scratching or rubbing
- Watery eyes
- Vomiting or stomach upset
How To Treat Dog Skin Allergies
There are many ways to deal with seasonal dog skin allergies, ranging from easy at-home solutions to trips to the vet’s office. For minor skin irritations, you can give your pet allergy chews. You can also help decrease irritation using soothing bath products. For serious allergic reactions that you don’t know the cause of, head to your vet to get an expert opinion and develop a targeted plan.
Safe, Natural Options
You can treat minor skin allergies using home remedies. These include adding healthy ingredients and nutrients to your pet’s diet and using gentle products to help with irritated skin. Here are a few things you can try to make your dog more comfortable and deal with the underlying cause of seasonal allergy issues.
Vitamins and Nutrients
Ensuring your pup eats a balanced diet may help to ease allergy symptoms. There are many vitamins for dog skin health that can support the immune system. Omega–3 fatty acids may help improve the look of your dog’s coat and skin. Fatty acids help to moisturize dry skin, aiding with skin conditions.
Other ingredients may also help. Skin health chews that contain ingredients like fish oil, flaxseed, kelp, and probiotics may help with nutritional deficiencies, dry skin, and improve overall dog health.
If your dog has food allergies, monitoring, and changing your pup’s diet is the best way to help. In addition to improving your pup’s diet, you can also give him or her digestive support chews or allergy support chews to streamline digestion and keep their system healthy and happy.
You can really help with seasonal allergies in your pup simply by making a few lifestyle changes. Try taking walks mid-day rather than first thing in the morning or early in the evening. Pollen counts tend to be lower mid-day, making it an ideal time to head out for a hike or a trip to the dog park or dog beach.
When you can’t avoid pollen, use a pet wipe to remove allergens when you return from playing outside. These wipes help remove pollen, dust mites, and other environmental allergens that cause dog skin allergies. You can also bathe your dog using a medicated shampoo or gentle shampoo with aloe or oatmeal to help remove allergens and support skin health at the same time. Just remember not to bathe your pup too often or you may strip his coat of oils that prevent dry skin. Instead, use pet wipes in between baths.
With food allergies, the best place to start is your vet’s office. They can help you set up a limited ingredient diet and slowly reintroduce foods that may be causing the allergy. Once you identify the culprit, you can create a diet that doesn’t trigger your dog’s allergies.
If your pet suffers from flea allergies, you’ll need to use a combination of flea products to successfully eliminate the infestation.
Flea collars are useful to help prevent future infestations as they repel fleas. Flea tablets and chews have ingredients that enter your dog’s bloodstream, dealing with fleas from the inside out. Topical flea solutions and sprays can also help with an existing flea problem. You can use sprays on your pet and in areas around your home that may support flea populations. And flea shampoos can be effective when used regularly over time but may not eliminate a serious infestation.