Springtime Blooms Might Make Your Dog’s Allergies Go Haywire
Veterinarian Reviewed by Dr. Janice Huntingford, DVM on April 14, 2019
Posted in Dog Allergies
Now that spring is in full swing, plants are beginning to bloom, pets and their owners are spending more time outside…and your pet may be starting to go nuts because of allergies. Just like humans, dogs can experience seasonal allergies, and spring is one of the most irritating seasons of all.
If you take your dog for a springtime walk and it starts to scratch with no signs of stopping, you’ll want to find a remedy as soon as possible to make spring more comfortable for your pooch.
Understanding springtime allergies
Allergies in pets can manifest in a few different ways, but one of the most common is atopic dermatitis, which begins after your dog is in contact with an allergen. Your dog might develop an allergy to grasses, weeds, pollen and other airborne particles.
Usually, if a dog develops seasonal allergies, it will display symptoms on the skin. Respiratory reactions like sneezing or runny noses are not as common in dogs. Instead, atopy, or a reaction of the skin, can lead to red bumps, itchiness, inflammation and hair loss.
This can cause your dog to start itching like crazy. Dogs with allergies tend to scratch or lick parts of their bodies, particularly their feet, bellies, genitals and ears. They can be so incessant that they may even cause hair loss, injure themselves or cause secondary infections.
If your dog is displaying signs of allergic reactions, take it to the vet to have it tested. Vets typically try to rule out fleas, which can also cause allergic reactions, before testing your pet for allergies to specific substances.
Part of the reason springtime is so bad for allergies is because everything is in bloom. After a long winter without pollens and grasses, your dog’s allergies can flare up suddenly and unexpectedly. Additionally, you’re more likely to spend time outside in the spring as the weather gets warmer, the days get longer and it’s easier to go to the park or take longer walks. Thus, your dog’s exposure to its allergens will increase.
Easing allergies while enjoying springtime fun
When your dog’s seasonal allergies start acting up, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. Your initial reaction might be to avoid going outside as much as possible, but both you and your dog deserve to go bask in the sunshine and run around!
When it comes to seasonal allergies in dogs, the best thing you can do is find ways to manage them day to day. You don’t have to avoid the park or long walks, but your dog shouldn’t need to suffer from extreme itchiness, either.
Here are some tips for managing springtime allergies.
- Extra baths: Giving your dog extra baths can help wash off allergens, as well as reduce symptoms of dry, itchy skin. Oatmeal baths or special allergy shampoos are especially useful in reducing inflammation, soothing itchiness and making your dog more comfortable in its own skin.
- Wipe off paws: Immediately after returning from walks, wipe down your pup’s paws and fur with a wipe or damp cloth to help remove any pollen that might be stuck to its fur. This might help alleviate prolonged symptoms.
- Head out at certain times: Pollen levels tend to be higher in the early morning and late evening, so avoid going for walks at these times as much as possible.
- Allergy supplements: If your dog’s allergies are somewhat mild, natural allergy supplements may help alleviate symptoms and promote healthy histamine responses. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acid supplements may help relieve symptoms by reducing inflammation and decreasing skin problems.
- HEPA filters: When your windows are wide open in spring, pollen can quickly fill your home and cause allergic reactions. Using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter where your dog likes to hang out the most can help remove the majority of particles in your home to minimize reactions.
- Know your pup’s allergies: If your pup has allergies, have it tested by a vet to determine what specific allergies it has. Once you know which types of grasses or pollens make your pup go haywire, you can work to avoid them as much as possible. You may need to have your dog avoid walking on grass or stay out of parks with certain trees.
Spring can be a difficult time for your pup if it has seasonal allergies. Make sure to keep an eye on your dog’s allergy symptoms and seek veterinarian help if no at-home management helps to give your pup relief.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan