Dogs are resilient creatures. Despite not always feeling top-notch, most won’t show signs of illness or discomfort until their symptoms have significantly progressed. While seasonal allergies don’t typically cause dogs harm, they can be just as uncomfortable as they are for us. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help avoid exposure and treat canine seasonal allergy symptoms.
Learn more about dog seasonal allergies — how to recognize them, what causes them and what steps you can take to restore your dog's comfort. You'll find plenty of simple solutions are available for treating dog allergies. If you suspect your dog has allergies, be sure to meet with a veterinarian or specialist before taking further steps.
Understanding Common Allergens
Seasonal allergies aren’t just a spring or fall affair – they can impact you or your pup throughout the entire year. Your dog may not be allergic to every allergen, but each season comes with different primary concerns.
Keep an eye out for these seasonal allergies:
- Tree and grass pollens in the spring and summer.
- Flower and plant pollens in the spring.
- Ragweed allergies in the late summer and early fall (until the first frost).
- Dust mites occur year round, but peak in the winter months.
- Mold, mildew, and funguses love rainy, wet spring and fall weather.
Symptoms of Dog Allergies
Your first inclination may be to self-diagnose your dog and then self-treat, but a lot of allergy symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other conditions. It’s important to let your vet perform a physical examination
of your dog before you start the right treatment. Common side effects of allergies that can be misconstrued include:
- Sneezing and/or coughing.
- Labored breathing.
- Chewing, licking and scratching.
- Red, irritated skin.
- Diarrhea and vomiting.
All of these may or may not be related to allergies. For instance, while labored breathing might be an allergy symptom, it can also be related to lung disease or a blockage in the throat. Similarly, many different ailments can cause vomiting and diarrhea, such as stress, eating something spoiled or parasites like hookworms. Since it's easy to misinterpret something more serious as allergies, a final diagnosis from your vet is an absolute must.
How Can I Help My Dog With Allergies?
As bothersome as allergies can be, getting rid of them is often a simple task. If your dog has seasonal allergies, you can take several steps to help relieve the symptoms. The best solution might be making a slight adjustment to your routine or applying the right topological ointment. Consult with your vet before using any of the following home remedies.
Each dog and every allergen is different, so what works in one case might not work in another. It might be a good idea to try several remedies until one succeeds.
Dog Seasonal Allergies Home Remedies
First, meet with your vet to verify your dog is experiencing allergies and not something more serious. Then, identify the source of the allergies and discuss possible treatment routes. Plenty of simple home remedies are highly effective for relieving allergy symptoms. Many solutions are the same ones you'd use for yourself.
Here are some things you can do to relieve your dog's allergy symptoms:
1. Use Antihistamines
Antihistamines like Benadryl
or even Claritin
can help you to control your dog’s symptoms. You can’t give your dog a human dose, though. You absolutely must speak to your vet about your dog’s weight and proper dosing — and to make sure the vet doesn’t want you to try something formulated specifically for your pup. You may also need to consider interactions if your dog takes other medications. Treatment usually runs a week at a time to control symptoms without overmedicating.
2. Wipe Your Dog’s Paws
Pollen settles on the ground
, and your dog’s feet almost never leave the ground. Use a warm, damp towel to gently wipe your dog’s paws after he’s been outside. This will decrease the amount of pollen they’re breathing in and licking off. You can also try gently wiping your pup’s entire coat, especially if they love to roll in the grass.
3. Time Your Walks Differently
Pollen counts are usually at their highest first thing in the morning
and towards the latter part of the afternoon. Try to push your walks back to late morning or evening. If your dog really seems to struggle, do a little research to find out if there are any indoor dog arenas or play areas you can visit for some bonding time and exercise.
4. Give Your Dog an Oat Bath
Oatmeal baths soothe human skin and they work great for dogs as well. Most dogs love playing in the water, and if they lick a little bit up, it’s much less harmful than shampoos or chemical products. The oats will soothe their skin, and you’ll have another opportunity to wash away excess allergens in their coat.
Caveat: Do not use this type of bath if you are not 100 percent sure that your dog’s skin irritation is from allergies as opposed to a fungal skin infection. Oats contain carbohydrates that can fuel yeast.
5. Apply Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel
is great for soothing the skin, but it is safer to buy the gel from the store when treating dogs. Using it directly from the plant may expose your dog to the rind, which contains a laxative that could make your dog ill. Topically applying the gel to an allergic skin irritation once or twice a day will make your dog more comfortable.
6. Give Your Dog Some Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is generally safe for dogs that don’t have allergies to it. When ingested, it is great for reducing itchiness and flaky skin. Added benefits, like the supplementation of healthy proteins and fats, make it a good choice for holistic wellness, too.
You shouldn’t give your dog coconut oil too often; too much fat is always a bad thing. Ask your vet about which brands are best for dogs and what dosage or amount you should use to be sure. Resist the urge to over-treat, especially if your pup ingests it, as excess doses can cause diarrhea.
7. Spray Apple Cider Vinegar on Their Skin
This fix is safe to use as long as your dog’s itchy areas aren’t oozing or raw. Mix a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Lightly mist this on their skin to reduce itchiness. It’ll prevent itching, which leads to scratching, which can in turn cause small irritations to develop into open sores.
8. Switch up Your Dog's Diet
Allergies are, at their core, an immune response. Consider changing your dog’s food
to support their immune system. You’ll typically want to look for foods that are grain-free to help reduce inflammation. Omega-3 supplements, or foods containing them, may also help to reduce inflammation. Talk to your vet if you aren’t sure which foods and supplements are safest. It might also help to switch from wet to dry food
or vice versa. Either way, changing your dog's diet could help strengthen their immune system and ward off allergens.
9. Cover Your Bedding
Cover your bedding (as well as your pup’s), with sheets or towels during the day. This will prevent excess pollen and other allergens from building up on the surfaces your dog comes into direct contact with at night. Make sure all bedding is washed at least once a week, and don’t forget to wash your dog’s stuffed toys, too.
10. Turn on Your Air Purifiers
Placing air purifiers throughout your home can help to keep pollen and other airborne allergens from overtaking your home. Air purifiers are good for lighter allergens, but you’ll need to vacuum regularly for dust mites and heavier substances; they tend to sink to the ground and hang out in your rugs.
11. Contact a Dermatologist
If all else fails, consider taking your dog to a veterinary dermatologist
(yes, there are specialists for dogs). A dermatologist can conduct true allergy testing to figure out exactly what is making your dog uncomfortable. It’s possible your dog has a food allergy instead of (or in addition to) a seasonal allergy. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can adjust your dog’s diet, start immunotherapy, or adjust your at-home treatment protocol to be more effective.
Contact Golden Meadows Retrievers to Learn More
Your pup can’t walk to the medicine cabinet for antihistamines or soothing sprays like you can. They depend on you to be consciously aware of changes in their health. Keep an eye out for changes in your dog’s behavior and wellness, especially during the times of year you notice them in yourself. Treating your dog’s allergy symptoms
as soon as they start will make you both feel a lot better!
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us
at Golden Meadows Retrievers. We'll be happy to offer additional information about dog seasonal allergies.
For those looking to add a new pup to their family, contact us to learn about reserving a Golden or Cream Golden puppy today