Dogs and Seasonal Allergies: Symptoms and How to Treat Them
As spring approaches and the warm weather returns, so too do flowers and grasses. This means pollen and other allergens fill the air, causing many humans a myriad of miserable (but easily treatable) symptoms. But we aren’t the only ones affected by seasonal allergies – our pets are too.
Many dogs (and cats) experience similar suffering to their owners as the seasons change. In order to keep your dog feeling his best, it’s important to know the symptoms and treatments that are available to you.
Seasonal allergy symptoms
No two dogs are the same, so the ways allergy present can be different from dog to dog but there are similarities. The most obvious sign that your dog is suffering from allergies is itching – sensitive-skinned dogs often present with persistent scratching. This can be general itchiness, to more focused scratching around the neck, head, and face.
Another key indicator of seasonal allergies is inflamed or irritated skin (with or without scratching). For example, dogs allergic to early-growth grass may have red, inflamed skin between their toes and on their lower legs. This is commonly paired with the continuous licking of these inflamed areas as the dog attempts to relieve the discomfort and itch.
Other common symptoms include:
· Recurring ear and skin infections
· Flaking skin
· Excessive shedding
How to treat your dog’s seasonal allergies
First and foremost, if you suspect your dog is experiencing seasonal allergies, you should schedule an appointment with your vet. This will eliminate any other potential issues and provide you with a solid treatment plan.
However, there are things you can do immediately at home to ease your dog’s symptoms.
· Medication: Over-the-counter medicine like Benadryl or Claritin can be given to your dog to soothe itching and inflammation. The recommended dosage is one milligram per pound, but a veterinarian can give you a proper dosage should you have concerns.
· Medicated baths: Many dogs respond well to medicated shampoos that relieve itching, skin rashes/infections, and protect the skin barrier from being affected by pollen. There are many options that can be purchased in-store, or online, or if a stronger formula is needed, your vet can prescribe one. As a bonus, rinsing your dog’s irritated paws in cool water is an effective way to rid them of pollen and other seasonal irritants.
· Supplements: There are many supplements that combat allergies and supply your dog with a dose of omega fatty acids which are essential for strengthening and maintaining healthy a healthy coat and skin.
In a pinch, you can avoid the allergen if at all possible or work with your veterinarian for a more comprehensive treatment plan.