Dog Seasonal Allergies (Causes, Symptoms & Treatment)

by | Oct 2, 2023 | Dogs, Health & Wellness

What are Seasonal Allergies in Dogs?

Seasonal dog allergies, also known as atopic dermatitis, are a common condition affecting many canine companions. Dogs can experience a range of unpleasant symptoms when exposed to certain environmental triggers during different times of the year. These allergies can cause significant discomfort and may even lead to secondary skin infections if left untreated.

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and management strategies for dog seasonal allergies is crucial for pet owners who want to provide their furry friends with the best possible care. By delving into this topic, we can uncover the root of the itch and discover effective ways to help dogs find relief.

Common Symptoms of Dog Seasonal Allergies

When a dog’s immune system overreacts to harmless environmental substances, such as pollen, mold, or dust mites, it can result in a range of uncomfortable symptoms. The most common signs of seasonal allergies in dogs include:

Skin-related Symptoms:

  • Excessive itching and scratching
  • Redness and inflammation of the skin
  • Hot spots or moist dermatitis
  • Hives or rashes
  • Ear infections

Respiratory Symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing

Gastrointestinal Symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach

Paw Chewing and Ear Inflammation:

  • Constant licking or chewing of the paws
  • Redness and inflammation in the ears

It’s important to note that the severity and specific symptoms can vary from dog to dog and may change throughout the different seasons.

Air purifiers can be helpful in removing dust mites and allergens.

Causes of Dog Seasonal Allergies

Dog seasonal allergies can be triggered by a variety of environmental factors, including:

Environmental Allergens

  • Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds
  • Mold and mildew
  • Dust mites
  • Household chemicals and cleaning products

Contact Allergens

  • Certain fabrics, such as wool or synthetic materials
  • Rubber or plastic materials
  • Flea collars or other topical treatments

Dogs suffer from many different types of allergies. Some of these include

  • Fleas
  • Food
  • Environmental-dust, mold, pollen
  • Skin

Certain dog allergies, such as pollen or plant allergies, are inherited or acquired. Dogs show signs of inherited allergies between one to three years after exposure to these allergens. If you suspect your dog has an allergy, talk to your veterinarian. Early detection and intervention are key to relieving your dog from allergy symptoms.

Flea Bites and Saliva as a Trigger for Allergies

In some cases, dog seasonal allergies can be exacerbated by flea bites or even the saliva of fleas. The immune system’s reaction to these parasites can cause significant itching and discomfort.

Understanding the specific triggers for your dog’s allergies is crucial for developing an effective management plan.

Symptoms that your dog is uncomfortable includes face rubbing, paw licking, skin biting, smelly ears, sneezing and more.

Allergy Diagnosis

Diagnosing dog seasonal allergies typically involves a combination of methods, including

Physical Examination and Medical History

Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and take a detailed medical history to evaluate your dog’s symptoms and rule out other potential causes.

Allergy Testing Options

In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend allergy testing, such as intradermal skin testing or blood tests, to identify the specific allergens triggering your dog’s reactions.

Elimination Diets

If food allergies are suspected, your veterinarian may recommend an elimination diet to determine if certain ingredients are contributing to your dog’s symptoms.

By working closely with your veterinarian, you can develop a comprehensive understanding of your dog’s allergies and create a tailored treatment plan to provide the best possible care.

Treatment and Management Options

Addressing dog seasonal allergies often requires a multi-faceted approach, combining various strategies to provide relief and prevent further complications. Some of the most common treatment and management options include:

Avoidance Strategies for Environmental Allergens

  • Keeping your dog indoors with windows closed during peak pollen or mold seasons
  • Using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in your home
  • Regularly cleaning and vacuuming to reduce dust and dander

Limited Ingredient or Hypoallergenic Diets for Food Allergies

  • Switching to a diet that contains limited or novel protein sources
  • Avoiding common allergens like beef, chicken, or dairy

Medications for Symptomatic Relief

  • Antihistamines to reduce itching and inflammation
  • Corticosteroids to manage severe flare-ups
  • Immunotherapies to desensitize your dog’s immune system

Available Treatments for Dog Seasonal Allergies

  • Topical treatments, such as medicated shampoos or ointments, to soothe the skin
  • Oral supplements, like omega-3 fatty acids, to support skin health
  • Flea control measures to prevent exacerbation of symptoms

After careful evaluation from your vet, you will be able to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your dog’s specific needs and provides the most effective relief from seasonal allergies

Medications for Symptomatic Relief

When it comes to managing dog seasonal allergies, there are several medication options available to provide symptomatic relief. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate course of treatment for your furry friend.


Antihistamines are a common first-line treatment for seasonal allergies in dogs. These medications work by blocking the release of histamine, a chemical that triggers the body’s allergic response. Commonly used antihistamines for dogs include:

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Loratadine (Claritin)

Antihistamines can help alleviate symptoms like itching, inflammation, and respiratory distress. However, following your veterinarian’s dosage instructions is crucial, as improper use can lead to adverse effects.


In more severe cases of seasonal allergies, your veterinarian may prescribe corticosteroids, such as prednisone or prednisolone. These powerful anti-inflammatory medications can provide rapid relief by reducing swelling, redness, and itching. Steroid treatments are typically short-term and should be closely monitored by your veterinarian to avoid potential side effects.

Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots) for Desensitization

Your veterinarian may recommend immunotherapy for dogs with persistent or recurrent seasonal allergies, also known as allergy shots or hyposensitization. This long-term 

treatment involves gradually exposing the dog to increasing doses of the specific allergens they are sensitive to, with the goal of desensitizing the immune system and reducing the severity of future allergy episodes.

Topical Treatments for Skin-Related Issues

In addition to systemic medications, your veterinarian may also prescribe topical treatments to address skin-related symptoms. These may include:

  • Medicated shampoos and conditioners to soothe itchy, inflamed skin
  • Topical corticosteroid creams or ointments to reduce inflammation
  • Moisturizing sprays or lotions to hydrate and protect the skin barrier

Combining these various medication options, as directed by your veterinarian, can help provide comprehensive relief for your dog’s seasonal allergy symptoms.

Elimination diets may be helpful in determining if your dog has food allergies.

Preventive Measures

While medications can offer symptomatic relief, there are also several preventive measures you can take to help manage your dog’s seasonal allergies. Implementing these strategies can help minimize your furry friend’s exposure to allergens and potentially reduce the severity of future allergy episodes.

Regular Bathing and Grooming to Reduce Allergens on the Coat

Frequent bathing and brushing can help remove pollen, dust, and other allergens that may have accumulated on your dog’s coat. This can be especially beneficial during peak allergy seasons.

Keeping the Living Environment Clean and Dust-Free

Regular vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning your home can help reduce the presence of indoor allergens, such as dust mites and mold spores. To further improve air quality, consider using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

Using Hypoallergenic Pet Products

Opt for hypoallergenic shampoos, conditioners, and other pet-care products that are free from common irritants and fragrances. This can help minimize skin irritation and prevent further flare-ups.

Implementing Flea Prevention Measures

Maintaining a consistent flea prevention regimen is crucial for dogs with seasonal allergies, as flea saliva can trigger intense itching and skin irritation.

By incorporating these preventive measures into your dog’s routine, you can help create a more allergy-friendly environment and potentially reduce the frequency and severity of your furry friend’s seasonal allergy symptoms.

If your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies, don’t hesitate to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide personalized guidance and recommendations to help your furry friend find relief and enjoy a comfortable, itch-free life. Remember, with the right treatment plan and preventive measures, you can help your dog navigate the challenges of seasonal allergies and keep them happy and healthy all year round.

Regular cleaning, dusting and vacuuming can help to remove allergens from the house.

How Can Pet Insurance Help You If Your Dog Has Allergies?

Pet insurance can be a valuable tool in managing the costs of treating dog allergies and other veterinary expenses. By having a pet insurance policy in place, you can have peace of mind knowing that you can provide medical care for your furry companion without worrying about the financial burden. Pet insurance can help cover the costs of veterinary consultations, diagnostic tests, medications, and even specialized treatments if required.


This method is the most common for pet insurance companies. You pay out of pocket for the veterinarian bill, and then the insurance company reimburses you for what’s covered under the insurance plan. The steps look like this.

  • You pay the vet bill after your dog’s visit.
  • You fill out the pet insurance claim form.
  • Submit the claim form and other required documentation to the insurer. 
  • After the claim is approved, you will be reimbursed for eligible expenses. 

Odie’s Illness and Injury pet health insurance plan offers comprehensive coverage for your dog. 

What Does Odie Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet insurance covers various veterinary expenses, providing financial protection and peace of mind for pet owners. Here are the details of the coverage options offered by Odie Pet Insurance:

Illness & Injury Plan

The Illness & Injury Plan is an all-inclusive insurance plan designed to cover a wide range of medical needs for your pet. This plan includes comprehensive coverage for various illnesses, injuries, and veterinary services. Some of the covered items include:

  • 24/7 Televet Chat
  • Emergency vet visits
  • Overnight hospital stays
  • IV Fluids & Medications
  • Medical Supplies
  • Surgeries
  • MRI/CAT Scans
  • Rehabilitative Care
  • Prescription Medications
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Laboratory Tests

Accident-Only Plan

The Accident-Only Plan is designed for pet owners seeking coverage specifically for accidents. This plan provides financial protection for emergency veterinary care resulting from accidental injuries. It includes 90% reimbursement up to $10,000 each year, with a $250 annual deductible. 

Here’s an overview of the Accident-Only Plan:

  • Coverage for broken bones, sprains, eye injuries, and traumatic dental fractures.
  • Coverage for wounds, including bite wounds, lacerations, snake bites, and bee stings.
  • Veterinary treatments covered for accidental injuries include X-rays & ultrasounds, laboratory tests, emergency care, hospitalization, CT scan & MRI, and surgery.

The Wellness Add-on Plan

The Wellness Plan is an add-on for routine care coverage you can purchase with an insurance policy. It focuses on preventive care and covers routine veterinary services. Odie has two wellness plan options available: 

 Basic Plan:

  • Covers services such as spay/neuter and teeth cleaning, rabies vaccination, flea & tick prevention, heartworm prevention, vaccination/titer, wellness exam, heartworm test or FELV screen, blood, fecal, parasite exam, microchip, urinalysis or ERD, and deworming.
  • Reimbursement up to $305 per year.

Plus Plan:

  • Ideal for puppies and kittens.
  • Covers services such as spay/neuter and teeth cleaning, rabies vaccination, flea & tick prevention, heartworm prevention, vaccination/titer, wellness exam, heartworm test or FELV screen, blood, fecal, parasite exam, microchip, urinalysis or ERD, and deworming.
  • Reimbursement up to $535 per year.


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