Spring is in the air! If you’re someone who loves the season, you and your pooch may be getting your exercise outside to soak up as much warmth and Vitamin D as possible. Or, perhaps you’re the type whose nose and eyes do all the running this time of year.
With blooming flowers comes pollen. Lots and lots of pollen. This means that for dogs and humans alike, “spring” and “allergy season” are practically synonyms. Since your pup can’t just pop a Benadryl and call it good, he’s relying on you to notice his symptoms and ease the discomfort.
Common Canine Allergies
Like humans, dogs can develop allergies to a variety of substances and ingredients: household cleaning products; cigarette smoke; perfumes; and certain foods. They can also be allergic to environmental substances, even if they’re all-natural. In fact, anything can be an allergen—plants, insects, animals, or foods.
When it comes to seasonal allergies in dogs, some of the most common environmental allergens include:
If you’re unsure about the allergens affecting your dog, the vet can perform a skin test to determine which substances Fido is allergic to. They can then use this information to create an allergy shot serum to help reduce the intensity of the allergies, if necessary.
Allergy Symptoms in Dogs
When you think of your own seasonal allergies, you probably think of itchy eyes, a runny nose, congestion, and general discomfort overall. Incidentally, your dog’s allergy symptoms aren’t too different.
Common symptoms of seasonal allergies in dogs include:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Congestion/breathing issues
- Itchy, flaky skin
- Hair loss/excessive shedding
- Shaking head/scratching ears
- Licking paws
In some cases, diarrhea and/or vomiting can also be an allergy symptom.
When it comes to skin allergies, one concern is that they can lead to other issues. A dog who’s determined to stop the itching may bite, scratch, or lick his skin raw, which will make him more susceptible to yeast and bacterial infiltrations.
Dogs can also develop food allergies, many of which have similar symptoms to seasonal allergies. If you’re unsure of the culprit causing your furry friend’s discomfort, it never hurts to talk to your vet—especially if it means you’ll need to remove something from your dog’s diet.
Addressing Seasonal Allergies in Dogs
While seasonal allergies can’t necessarily be cured or prevented, you can still play a part in easing your doggo’s discomfort. If you notice your dog showing allergy symptoms or any other change in behavior or appearance, first take some time to identify the culprit.
Determine whether Fido is experiencing seasonal, food, insect, or animal allergies—or whether he’s sick—and respond accordingly. If seasonal allergies are the source of the symptoms, there are a few things you can do:
Avoid walks in the early morning or late afternoon. If pollen is the problem, you’ll want to stay away when pollen levels are at their peak for the day.
After a walk or outdoor time, wipe your dog’s body and paws with a cloth. You don’t want those excess allergens coming inside with you!
Wash your pup’s bedding and soft toys regularly. Regardless of your efforts, there’s a good chance he’s still tracked some pollen/allergens inside.
Vacuum regularly (at least once per week) and clean rugs and curtains that may have accumulated dust and pollen.
Bathe your dog using anti-itch/hypoallergenic shampoo, especially if he’s suffering from skin-related allergy symptoms. Pet Honesty’s Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo reduces itchiness and inflammation and soothes irritated skin with aloe vera.
Invest in dietary supplements, such as fish oil or an Omega-3 or Omega-6 fatty acid. Coconut oil can also aid in allergies while also promoting healthy skin.
Opt for Pet Honesty’s allergy supplements. Allergy Support Chews improve occasional and seasonal allergies; Allergy SkinHealth Chews soothe skin-related issues related to seasonal allergies. For dogs with itchy skin, Anti-Scratch Salmon Oil helps to promote a healthy coat and skin.
If your dog’s allergy symptoms persist or get worse, don’t resort to over-the-counter allergy medications. While medications such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, and Claritin have been used in dogs, you want to be absolutely sure about the correct dosage, and whether all ingredients in the medication are safe for your pooch.
Instead, consult your vet for alternative treatment options. You’ll also want to rule out potential underlying health issues.