Spring Allergies in Dogs
Ah, spring. The new grass is sprouting, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the leaves are beginning to fill in. How sweet it is…until the first sneeze! With all of that pollen in the air, it is allergy season not just for us, but for our dogs as well.
The Cause of Allergy Symptoms
Most inhalant allergies result in the release of chemicals called histamines. Humans release histamines predominantly in and around the respiratory tract, leading to the traditional itchy eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat symptoms. Dogs, on the other hand, release histamine in a more general way so they may sneeze like we do, but they also tend to itch all over their bodies.
Signs of Allergies in Dogs
If your dog does any of the following things, she might have an inhalant allergy:
- Licking or chewing at her feet
- Rubbing at her face, either with her paws or by rubbing on the ground, carpet, etc.
- Patches of hair loss or infected skin
- Scratching at her back or belly
- Scratching at her ears, or recurrent ear infections
Make note of when these signs occur so that your dog’s personal allergy season can be narrowed down, and take your dog to see the veterinarian.
Your veterinarian can choose the most effective regimen for your dog’s particular allergic condition. With the constant guidance of your veterinarian, you can help your dog weather the allergy season safely and comfortably.
How You Can Help
Inhalant allergies mean that your dog inhales the pollen. We can’t stop our dogs from breathing, but we can decrease their exposure to allergens. Here are some ways to minimize your dog’s contact with allergens:
- Walk your dog early in the morning when dew is still on the grass. Wet pollen doesn’t become airborne as easily.
- Wipe your dog down before she comes inside. Leave a container of baby wipes by the door to wipe her feet, in particular. You won’t remove all the pollen, but can certainly decrease the amount that is carried inside.
- Change air filters in the house regularly.
- Vacuuming really stirs up allergies, so put the dog in another room when you clean.
- Wash your dog’s bedding in hot water weekly.
- Keep your dog inside and close the windows when you mow the grass.
With a little help from you and your veterinarian, your dog can still enjoy the great outdoors this spring!