Seasonal Allergies and Your Pet – How to Help!

dog under blanketWatery eyes, irritated paws, incessant itching, and sneezing- sounds familiar? Just like humans, dogs can be affected by dreaded seasonal allergies. Stuffy noses and itchy skin are definitely no fun, and it’s the responsibility of a pet parent to take care of their pup when they’re feeling under the weather. Read on to learn some more about your pet’s seasonal allergies and just what to do.

First, let’s identify the problem- just what ARE seasonal allergies? An allergy is a sensitivity to things found in our everyday environment, such as, in the case of seasonal allergies, pollen and dust. Typically, these factors are not harmful, but your immune system may disagree and react regardless. When this happens, your immune system releases something called histamines, which can cause swelling, itching, and inflammation. Some common environmental allergens that can cause this reaction are pollen, grass, weeds, mold, fungi, and even flea saliva.

The most common symptom of allergies to look for in dogs is scratching or biting in an attempt to relieve the itch, and this can lead to inflammation and redness. Some other symptoms to keep an eye out for are watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, itchy or flaky skin, scratching persistently at one or both ears, and excessive licking of the paws. Skin allergies and reactions are by far the most common, and the areas most often affected are the paws, ears, muzzle, underarms, groin, and in between the toes. The main concern with reactions to allergies isn’t necessarily the itching, sneezing, or scratching, but the risk for secondary infection. If you notice your dog is reacting to the point of hurting him or herself, be sure to keep the area clean and reach out to your vet about helping your pup get some relief!

Looking for more ways to help your pup with their allergies? Over the counter antihistamines such as Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec have been found to work, although we always recommend asking your vet before giving your pet any medication. Frequent bathing can also help. Oatmeal baths in particular are great for soothing skin, and many brands also make shampoos and conditioners tailored towards allergy relief. If your dog is experiencing a serious reaction, it is important to reach out to your vet. Vets are always the best source for treatment information, and can even provide prescription medication if needed.

Spring is a great time to get out and explore, especially after being stuck inside all winter. But nothing can dampen that joy like feeling under the weather. Keep an eye out for signs of allergies in your dog, and be sure to give some extra attention and love if you notice that your pup isn’t feeling well. Often, a day or two of rest is all that’s needed to have your pup back to his happy, healthy self. Enjoy this season with your furry friend, all while keeping Fido feeling his best!