Spring is finally here! And, with it, seasonal allergies (wah, wah). Seasonal allergies don’t just affect humans; your dogs also deal with them, too. Canine allergies are normally caused by the same triggers that occur in human allergies: our pooch’s immune system comes across an allergen or a kind of antigen it dislikes and then responds in the same manner as our body does. These allergens include mold, mildew, pollen, and dust mites. The good thing is that there are several ways for us to treat these allergies in our dog.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Allergies in dogs usually present themselves in the form of skin inflammation or irritation, also referred to as allergic dermatitis. This results in your furry friend becoming extremely itchy.
To relieve the itchiness, your dog will scratch himself excessively, and possibly chew or bite the affected area. This will cause your pooch’s skin to become inflamed and sore to the touch. Hair loss, hot spots, scabbing, and open sores on his skin may also appear. Other symptoms include ear infection, respiratory symptoms like watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose, and generalized redness.
How to Help Your Dog Cope with Seasonal Allergies
- Provide your dog with immediate relief from itchiness by washing away the allergens on his coat and skin with frequent baths. Look for a dog shampoo specially formulated for inflamed or sensitive skin.
- Lessen the amount of allergens that your dog tracks and spreads throughout your house by washing his paws thoroughly each time he comes inside.
- Try keeping the spots in your place where he spends the most time as free from allergens as possible. Do this by cleaning and vacuuming the floors and his bedding on a regular basis using non-toxic house cleaning agents.
- Since allergies are basically an immune system response, it’s crucial for you to keep your dog’s immune function at its optimum levels. You can do this by avoiding any unnecessary vaccinations and medications and make sure he is eating a well-balanced diet free of unnecessary fillers and animal by-products.
- If your dog is highly susceptible to seasonal allergies, see to it that his diet is low in grain content since foods rich in carbohydrates can trigger and worsen inflammation.
The same ways you cope with allergies will only help your dog as well. Make sure your air conditioner filters are changed every month, use a vacuum with an allergen filter, and maintain a healthy diet.
For mild allergic reactions and mild itching, your vet can recommend an antihistamine or provide an over-the-counter allergy medication to treat him. Be sure to contact your vet for more information on treatments for seasonal allergies that best fit your dog’s lifestyle.
By: Jagpal S. Deo, DVM