Just like humans, dogs experience seasonal allergies that cause uncomfortable symptoms. Though there is no cure for this health condition, there are several steps pet owners can take to help their canine companions experience relief. The following guide outlines what you should know about seasonal allergies in dogs and how a veterinarian can minimize their discomfort.

A Guide to Canine Seasonal Allergies

What triggers seasonal allergies?
A dog may experience allergic reactions as a result of immune hypersensitivity. They will have an allergic response as their body attempts to fight and expel the substance it thinks is dangerous, even though it’s harmless. Environmental allergens are the most common causes of seasonal allergies, and your pup may start exhibiting symptoms after they inhale, ingest, or make contact with them. These often include grass, weeds, pollen, and fungi.

What are common symptoms?
Dogs primarily experience skin-related allergy symptoms. After brushing against weeds, mold spores, or pollen while outside, your canine may develop red and inflamed skin—especially around the paws and ears—and they might start to scratch or bite at their body. This can lead to excessive shedding, a thinning coat, or bald patches. They may also compulsively lick their paws or scoot their rear-ends on the ground.

If your pup inhales allergens, they might experience respiratory problems like coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms typically only occur at specific times of the year when certain allergens are more abundant.

What are the risks?
As a result of excessively scratching, biting, or licking their bodies, dogs may break their skin, which allows yeast and bacteria to enter the wounds. This can result in secondary infections that require treatment from an emergency veterinarian.

In response to allergen exposure, canines may develop hives, and their faces, throats, eyelids, and lips could swell. In rare cases, they might experience acute allergic reactions and go into anaphylactic shock. This condition is potentially life-threatening and requires immediate treatment at an animal hospital.

How can I manage my dog’s allergies?
Avoiding allergens altogether is the most effective way to reduce symptoms and prevent seasonal allergies. However, this isn’t always plausible, so your veterinarian may prescribe your pup an oral antihistamine medication to alleviate discomfort and reduce the frequency of allergic reactions. Anti-itch creams and sprays can soothe the skin and keep dogs from scratching and biting at their bodies, which minimizes the risk of secondary infections. After your pooch spends time outdoors, wipe off their paws and coat with a damp cloth or towel, or bathe them to remove allergens and prevent reactions.

If your pup shows symptoms of seasonal allergies, reach out to Wards Corner Animal Hospital in Loveland, OH. Our veterinarian provides preventative, medical, and surgical care to animals throughout Cincinnati. Our practice is led by Dr. Henehan, who has over 35 years of experience. Call (513) 683-2883 to book an in-office appointment or house call.