Get the latest Pet Insider Tips & News
Seasonal Allergies in Dogs
It’s not just us humans that struggle with itchy eyes, sneezing, and blocked noses during the wave of seasonal allergies. Dog allergies can also leave your pet in discomfort and pain. Unfortunately, your dog is unable to tell you when he or she is suffering from a specific dog allergy.
Make note to see if you notice a pattern? Does your pet only show signs of allergies during spring, summer, or autumn? If this is the case it could be the environmental allergens, or fleas, that are triggering your pet’s reaction. However, if these symptoms persist all year round, it could indicate the sensitivities may be linked to diet or the household environment.
This article will cover everything you need to know about allergies in dogs that can cause itchy skin, inflammation, various skin problems, and even indications of hair loss.
What are Dog Allergies?
Dog allergies refer to intense sensitivities found in natural environments, such as pollen or dust. These can trigger reactions from your pets.
Your dog’s immune system is there to protect them against harmful diseases and infections. However, a dog allergy can lead to the immune system damaging the body.
According to trusted Australian pharmacies, this happens when the body releases an excessive amount of histamines. These histamines fight the oncoming threat of allergies in dogs, while at the same time causing itching, swelling, and inflammation.
Common symptoms include:
- Head shaking
- Chewing/licking feet or underbody
- Dry dull coat
- Flaky skin
- Hot spots – red irritated areas
- Itchy on the base of the tail
- Hair loss
- Redness under legs
Signs and Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs
According to Pup Junkies, allergic reactions to seasonal dog allergies tend to be mild. In rare cases, some bodily responses can be quite severe. As a loving owner, you’ll spot straight away when your dog is showing signs of real discomfort.
The seasonal signs and symptoms of allergies in dogs include:
Scratching and/or Biting
This is the most characteristic sign of seasonal allergies in dogs. Due to spending a lot of time outside, dogs are prone to encountering pesky allergens.
When coming into contact with these allergens, they develop what research papers define as Canine Atopic Dermatitis. In short, this is a common, pruritic, and inflammatory skin disease.
You may find your dog scratching themselves and even biting to ease the pain. It’s a good idea to book in for a veterinary appointment to help ease your pets itch and discomfort.
Inflamed or Infected Skin
If your pet is left to scratch continuously with no treatment, the allergies will normally escalate. A dog can often scratch or bite itself until the skin is damaged and inflamed.
These hot-spot areas can be patches of dry, red, and inflamed skin. If these areas are not quickly treated the skin can become infected. These infections will require veterinary treatment and antibiotics to resolve.
Signs of Increased Shedding
Another common reaction to dog allergies can be an increase in shedding. If your dog is showing signs of shedding caused by scratching, it’s time to make an appointment with the vet.
Significant Increase in Paw Licking
Obsessively licking and biting of the paws can also indicate that your pet is suffering from allergies. If this is occurring, it could be a sign that the dog allergy is provoking allergic dermatitis. If your pet has common allergies, cleaning their paws regularly after outside adventures can help.
Dog Ear Infections
Dogs are prone to common types of ear infections. This is especially true for dogs with larger, floppy ears. Ear infections can also be a reaction to environmental allergens. This is normally a secondary symptom of a dog allergy. Look out for signs of:
- Physical discomfort.
- Shaking of the head.
- Red or flaky ears.
- Scratching of the ears.
Dog Respiratory Signs
Some dog allergies can also affect the respiratory system of your pet. These pets may sneeze more often and have watery eyes. You may even notice some runny discharge coming from either the nose or eyes.
Top Tips – Prevention
If your cat or dog typically suffers from spring allergies it’s a good idea to keep them inside on windy days, when mowing the lawn, or following rain when pollen counts quickly rise. Also consider increasing their omega intake in the form of fish oil, flaxseed, or evening primrose. Always speak to your vet before supplementing your pet’s diet. It’s also handy to remember that supplements can take up to six to eight weeks to work. Also feeding a quality and nutritionally sound diet is important for our itchy friends.
How to Treat Seasonal Allergies in Dogs
There are any number of factors that can contribute to your dog’s seasonal allergies and this article will explain some of the most common symptoms so you can take necessary steps to ease those suffering from them, such as preventing the dog from licking their paws, using hypoallergenic foods, and using antihistamines.
When pollen is at its peak during the spring or summer months allergy sufferers often get sneezing. Sometimes it can become so bothersome to people that they are forced to stay indoors for days at a time. In dogs it is not usually quite as severe but instead their airways become inflamed due to a variety of allergens including dust mites, mold spores, and pollen.
In fact, about 50% of all dogs develop allergies at some point in their lives. Puppies have been known to have food allergies, but it is more commonly seen in older dogs. It can be a bit more difficult to pinpoint the culprit behind an allergic reaction in dogs when compared to human allergy sufferers because dogs are not as vocal about the signs of their discomfort.
Symptoms: Sneezing, paw rubbing, redness and irritation around eyes or nose, and red skin that may or may not be scaly.
Itching: The most common symptom among allergy sufferers is itching. Dogs can also develop a dry, scaly, or itchy skin rash.
Sneezing: This is common in allergy sufferers and it is mostly caused by pollen. Although some dogs will make a lot of sneezing noises when they experience an allergy flare up, others will just sneeze quietly and intermittently (this is not quite as bothersome to the dog).
Photo by Joe Caione