If you’ve ever dealt with seasonal allergies before, you already know the struggle. Between the itchy, watery eyes and the constant sneezing, it can make you feel miserable enough that you don’t even want to leave the house. But did you know that your dog may be dealing with the same thing? When allergy season strikes, don’t leave your furry friend out of the mix.
Dog seasonal allergies are a real concern so, with that in mind, WINPRO has more information about the signs that you should pay attention to and what you may be able to do about them if you notice them happening to your precious pet.
What Is An Allergen?
Just like in humans, allergens can really be anything, at any time. If your dog’s body decides that whatever it’s encountering is strange enough to react to, an allergic reaction can occur.
Allergens can come into contact with your dog in multiple ways - through the air, through their skin, in their food, etc. The way that your dog comes into contact with it influences the types of symptoms that they show, which is a good place to start.
Here are just a few of the more common allergens for dogs, including some of the ones most likely to trigger dog seasonal allergies:
- Household cleaning products
- Cigarette smoke
- Dairy products
Regardless of how the allergen is able to reach your dog, the resulting reaction in his or her body is essentially the same. The immune system gets triggered by the allergen, and it reacts by releasing histamines into the body. Those histamines cause inflammation, and the area that the allergen enters the body is usually where the symptoms show up.
Common Signs of Dog Seasonal Allergies
Normally, when we talk about dog seasonal allergies, we’re talking more about the pollen side of things (just like we deal with as humans). With these specific types of allergies, the symptoms that you see are far more likely to be respiratory or skin based, so we’ll focus on those.
Itching, for instance, is often cited as the most common sign that you’re dealing with dog seasonal allergies (or allergies of any kind, really). This itching can occur all over the body (which is seen the most in dogs who are dealing with flea bite allergies), but occur the most frequently on the face, feet, front legs, ears, and belly.
If your dog has suddenly started digging at their ears, their feet, or their face, it’s worth a trip to the vet. If left untreated, it’s possible for dogs to develop skin infections, bald spots, and scaling.
Also, just like in humans, dogs can develop sneezing and breathing problems. Any breathing issue should be taken very seriously, and has the potential to get worse before it gets better.
Are Certain Dogs More Likely To Develop Dog Seasonal Allergies?
Any dog can develop seasonal allergies, but there are certain breeds that are more known for dealing with them than others. These allergies usually start to show up between six months and three years of age.
Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Dalmations, Labrador Retrievers, Shih Tzus, and Boston Terriers are just a few of the breeds most known for developing allergies.
What You Can Do About Dog Seasonal Allergies?
If you’ve noticed that your dog is starting to exhibit those telltale signs, you don’t have to just sit around and watch them suffer. With a few small changes, and a little bit of information, you can help at least ease their symptoms while you wait for allergy season to pass by.
Change Up Your Dog’s Exercise Routine
Dogs still need their physical activity during allergy season, but that doesn’t mean that you can approach it the same way. While every area is different, pollen levels tend to be the highest across the board in the early morning and the late afternoon. If this is when you usually walk your dog, you may want to try a different time of day.
It’s also a good idea to avoid big fields or areas that have a lot of plants, especially if you can physically see the pollen in the air. If your dog’s seasonal allergies are bad enough, it might even be a good idea to invest in a few days at a doggie daycare so that they can get their energy out without having to be outside.
When you get back inside, try wiping your dog off with a damp washcloth, paying special attention to their feet. This helps get any excess pollen that may have followed them inside off of their skin, reducing the likelihood of allergy symptoms.
Try Supportive Supplementation
Because the trigger of the vast majority of seasonal allergy symptoms in the body is the inflammation caused by the release of histamines, helping your dog’s body support itself better may be useful. There are a few that are more commonly suggested, but you should always check with your veterinarian prior to starting any new supplement.
A few key ingredients to look for (like the ones that we’ve used in our Allergy formula here at WINPRO) are fish oil, omega-3 or -6 and/or Bromelain. Each is known for potentially helping to either reduce irritations and support overall skin health in your dog.
Change Your Air Filter
One of the best ways to take care of not only your pet’s health but also your own is by making sure to regularly change the air filters in your home. Even with the best of intentions, it’s impossible to stop outside allergens from making their way inside.
If your air filter is clogged from not having been changed often enough, those allergens will just continue to float around your house, triggering dog seasonal allergies and even your own! You’ll want to switch them out at least once every other month, and even more often during the height of allergy season just to be safe.
Baths Are Essential
Bathing your dog regularly is important, no matter what time of year it is. However, during allergy season, making sure that your dog gets regular baths can be the difference between constant itching and more manageable symptoms. Choose a shampoo that is made to be both gentle and hypoallergenic (look for oatmeal as a main ingredient), and make sure to really let it soak into your dog’s fur.
Once you’re done, make sure that you’re also washing your dog’s bed to remove any pollen or other allergens that have collected there before they have a chance to get back onto your dog and cause symptoms. Hot water is best for laundering your pet’s bedding, but use lukewarm water to bathe your pet.
If you suspect your pet is dealing with dog seasonal allergies, you’re not alone. Just like humans, dogs can become allergens to any number of things, and are just as likely to deal with the itching and sneezing that pollen can trigger during allergy season.
Learning how to identify the signs, and understanding more about how you can help your pet to manage their symptoms, is key to helping both of you make it through allergy season as unscathed as possible. You can count on WINPRO to be there with you every step of the way helping to combat those uncomfortable allergy symptoms for your pup