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Seasonal Allergies in Dogs - Signs & How to Help

Seasonal allergies can be just as problematic for our canine companions as they are for us, although their symptoms are quite different. From itchy eyes to hair loss, here you will find information on the symptoms of seasonal allergies in dogs and what you can do to help your pooch feel better.

Your Dog's Allergic Reaction

Allergic reactions happen when your pet's immune system overreacts to a certain substance, called an allergen. These allergens are generally harmless to most pets, but some dogs have hypersensitivity, leading to allergies and a variety of associated symptoms. 

The immune system usually works to fight off disease and infection but, in the case of allergies, it misidentifies the allergen as dangerous and produces unpleasant symptoms (itchy eyes, skin issues, sneezing, etc...) as it attempts to expel the allergen. Some common causes of allergies in dogs include:

  • Fungus
  • Grass
  • Weeds
  • Mold spores
  • Pollen
  • Saliva from flea bites

Seasonal Allergies In Dogs

Seasonal allergies - sometimes referred to as hayfever - are a common cause of allergic reactions in dogs. Although most allergies are incurable, there are several methods of treatment and management to ensure your pet's well-being and quality of life.

Any dog can have seasonal allergies, but there are particular breeds that seem to be more prone to allergic reactions, including setters, pugs, terriers, bulldogs, and retrievers. 

Dog Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

A dog's allergic reaction can range in severity, but since even mild cases of seasonal allergies can cause major discomfort it's important to recognize potential signs. If your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies you will likely notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Scratching or biting at skin because of irritation or itchiness
  • Inflammation, redness, and irritation of the skin (atopic dermatitis) 
  • Skin infection or irritation
  • Respiratory issues (e.g. coughing, wheezing, issues breathing)
  • Shedding and hair loss
  • Scooting (dragging butt across the ground) and/or licking rear
  • Ear infections, waxy ears, reddened ears
  • Head shaking is a common allergic reaction for dogs with floppy ears such as basset hounds. 

These common allergy symptoms will make your dog feel uncomfortable and could even be painful or dangerous. Contact your Greensboro vet right away to have your pet's condition diagnosed so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. 

How Vets Diagnose Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

Your dog's veterinarian will be able to diagnose seasonal allergies by discussing your pet's history with you, performing a physical examination, and running a number of diagnostic tests. Your vet may also recommend that your dog see a veterinary dermatologist for more in-depth skin testing, which is an accurate way to have seasonal allergies diagnosed. 

Treating Your Dog's Seasonal Allergies

Although there is no cure for allergies or one singular treatment to address seasonal allergies, there are options for the treatment and management in dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Change your daily walk time
  • Alter your daily walk routine
  • Remove excess allergens
  • Clean your home
  • Dog shampoo
  • Topical solutions
  • Dog allergy paws anti-itch treatment
Make sure you regularly clean your dog's bed or routinely change out blankets or towels, which are easier to clean. If your dog has a particularly severe reaction, contact your vet at once! 

Medications to Treat Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

Your vet or veterinary dermatologist might recommend an allergy serum, which is a series of allergen injections that slowly increase in dose each time the serum is administered. Each injection of the allergen should help your dog's body to adjust to the presence of the allergen and reduce the allergic response over time.

The needle used is very small, and in many cases, pet parents can administer this medication at home with the guidance of a vet.

Oral prescription medications are another option, as are anti-itch medications and immune response-modulating medications. These medications must be prescribed by your vet. Be sure to discuss possible side effects or potential complications with them before beginning to treat your dog. 

Therapeutic Diet For Dogs with Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies in dogs can be treated using a vet-prescribed therapeutic diet, and certain therapeutic dog foods are specially formulated to help manage your dog's skin allergies. Your veterinary professional will be able to help select a diet that’s right for your dog.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.

Is your dog plagued by seasonal allergies? Contact Friendly Animal Clinic today to book an examination for your four-legged family member.

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