With warmer weather arriving and blooms on the trees, many people and their dogs suffer from seasonal allergies. As a dog owner, there are ways to tell if your dog has allergy symptoms and ways to help. Itching, scratching, sneezing…you and your dog may be victims of seasonal allergies. What are the best treatments for your pup and how can you help them?
These types of allergies are caused by things in your home, your backyard and even on your daily walk route. Just like the pollen that you breathe in, dogs can absorb these allergens through their skin. The most common triggers for these allergic reactions include pollens, plant or animal fibers, dust mites, and mold spores.
If you have suddenly noticed that your pup is scratching constantly, licking their paws, and rubbing their face, your dog is probably experiencing seasonal allergies. Dogs with these symptoms may experience red itchy skin, hair loss and even ear infections. Areas to check are your dog’s paws, lower legs, face, ears, armpits and belly.
A big concern with these skin allergies is that they can lead to even bigger problems. Secondary infections can happen as your dog scratches, bites and licks their skin for relief. They can then become very susceptible to yeast and bacterial infections.
Time To See The DOG-TOR
Your favorite doggy doctor should help you determine if your dog has seasonal allergies. Usually, seeking out the care of a doggy dermatologist is the right decision. Their expertise in your dog’s skin will help you determine what type of allergy your dog suffers from. Unfortunately, with their specialized practice, does come with a hefty price tag. Dog allergy tests can run in price from $300 and up to $1000.
The most common test for dog allergens is a skin test. This test is very similar to allergy testing in humans. A small patch of skin on a dog is injected under the skin with environmental allergens. Allergens are identified by which injection caused redness and swelling.
As a dog lover, your immediate concern is how to make it “all better” for your four-legged friend. Obviously if your dog is suffering from environmental allergies from grass and/or pollen in the air, it’s nearly impossible to remove those triggers from your home and backyard.
With ongoing symptoms and a long span of springtime allergens, a vet may prescribe simple over the counter medicines like Benadryl or Claritin. As with humans, these antihistamines may cause drowsiness or even hyperactivity in your pup. If you purchase an over the counter medicine for your dog, check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain any other ingredients like decongestants or pseudoephedrine, which are NOT safe for dogs. It’s also important to note that dosage for the dog will never be the same as the dosage for a human. Always consult your vet before giving your dog medicine.
Your doggy dermatologist may also recommend a specialized serum just for your dog’s unique allergens. This immunotherapy shot can usually be given at home by the pet parent.
There are also natural remedies that you can try out. Fatty acid supplements can help soothe irritated skin. Regular bathing with hypoallergenic shampoos can help remove the pollen your dog may come in contact with while rolling in the grass. Some dog lovers have used remedies like tea tree oil, coconut oil, fish oils and other supplements high in omegas to combat the “itchies.”
An Ounce Of Prevention
Unfortunately, seasonal allergies are nearly impossible to avoid. As a pet owner, you are staying safe with your masks and gaiters. But, unless you want to make a bubble wrap suit with a hood and googles for your dog, your dog will come into contact with the great outdoors. But as a responsible dog owner, being aware and noticing symptoms will be key to starting a routine to deal with environmental triggers.
If you do regularly walk your dog, try to avoid walking in the early morning hours or in the late afternoon. Pollen levels are usually are their highest at these times of the day.
Your pup doesn’t want to change their routine, but you can do a few small changes to make their spring time more pleasurable for both of you!