Did you know that dogs suffer from seasonal allergies to allergens in the air like humans? A dog suffering from allergies may experience sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes. Watching your sweet pet suffer can be difficult, but there are many ways to help them feel better. This article will help you discover symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for seasonal dog allergies. Plus, it will help you discover how to make the treatment cost-effective.
What Is A Dog Allergy?
Dog allergies occur when a dog’s immune system overreacts to something in the dog’s environment. Allergies are different from sensitivities or intolerances. Allergies are immune system reactions to a substance, while sensitivities have no immune response. Intolerances occur because of a lack of an enzyme or specific chemical needed for the dog’s body to digest food.
Common allergies in dogs
Dogs suffer from many different types of allergies. Some of these include
- Environmental-dust, mold, pollen
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.
Causes of Seasonal Dog Allergies
Seasonal or environmental allergies are caused by something a dog is exposed to in their backyard, home, or anywhere the dog spends time. They inhale or touch these allergens and absorb them into their system. Common environmental allergens include:
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Animal or plant fibers
Certain factors cause a dog’s skin to have an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis, causing an itchy rash on the dog’s skin. Common contact allergens include
- Plants-grass or succulent ground covers
- Cleaning products-ammonia, isopropyl alcohol, chlorine, or phenol used in cleaning products can cause an allergic reaction in dogs.
Flea Bites and Saliva As A Trigger For Allergies
The flea saliva results in dermatitis, causing itchiness in a dog’s skin. Flea allergy dermatitis is one of dogs’ most common itchy skin allergies.
Which dog breeds are predisposed to allergies?
Certain breeds are more inclined to allergies. It’s unknown what factors cause this, but it could be the type of coat a dog has or the shape of their nose. Mixed-breed dogs can experience allergies, but they’re more common in certain purebred dogs because they’re more genetically prone to allergies. Dog breeds more likely to experience pollen-related allergies include:
- Bichon Frise
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retrievers
- Pit Bull Terriers
- Irish Setters
Common Signs and Symptoms of Dog Seasonal Allergies
The general symptoms and signs of dog seasonal allergies include
- Rubbing their face
- Licking their paws
- Biting their skin
- Excessive shedding
- Licking their anus
- Rubbing their butt on the carpet or floor
- Persistent ear infections
- Inflamed, red skin
- Smelly ears
- Red ears and stomach
- Itchy, discolored skin
- Hot spots
- Hair loss
- Flaky, irritated skin
- Persistent licking of the skin
- Biting or chewing the skin
- Shortness of breath
- Watery eyes
- Itchy, red eyes
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
Paw Chewing and Ear Inflammation
Dogs suffering from seasonal allergies lick or chew their paws to soothe the itchiness. A secondary infection often causes ear inflammation due to seasonal allergies. This secondary infection that affects the dog’s ears must be treated with antibiotics. Otherwise, the infection could return if you don’t get to the source of the allergy.,
If your dog displays symptoms or signs of seasonal allergies, it’s important to take it to your vet for a proper diagnosis. Before running tests, your vet will rule out other causes of your dog’s symptoms. Conditions such as mange, yeast infection, and autoimmune conditions often mimic seasonal allergies.
Your vet will do allergy tests for seasonal and environmental allergies. The tests aren’t performed to confirm your dog has seasonal allergies but to determine which specific things your dog is allergic to. Studies show that blood or skin tests for food allergies must be consistently accurate. Other studies found that salvia and hair tests for environmental or seasonal allergies aren’t accurate.
Physical Examination and Medical History
Your vet will conduct a thorough physical exam to understand your dog’s overall health. This involves checking your dog’s
- Heart and lungs
Be sure you keep an accurate medical history of your dog, including past sensitivities or allergies your dog may have experienced.
Allergy Testing Options
One type of allergy test is called the intradermal testing method. To do this test, your vet injects small amounts of potential allergens into your dog’s skin and then watches for reactions. Blood tests include:
Serum IgE test
This test detects allergen-specific antibodies in your dog’s blood. Allergy testing is important because it helps pinpoint what is triggering your dog’s allergies.
An elimination diet is an approach to feeding your dog to narrow down what ingredients they’re allergic to by giving them specific grains or proteins.
How to do an elimination diet
- Step 1-Be sure to ask your vet about your dog’s nutritional needs. Only put your dog on an elimination diet after consulting your vet first. Lack of proper nutrition and amount of food could cause your pet to lose weight, diarrhea, or vomiting.
- Step 2-Begin by giving your dog the same protein and carb combination for 2 weeks. Keep track of your dog’s symptoms or changes. Many pet parents start with a chicken and cooked rice diet for the first twelve weeks.
- Step 3- Add foods to your dog’s diet, such as cooked carrots, pumpkins, or sweet potatoes. Observe your dog to see if there are any allergy reactions. Keep in touch with your vet to update them on your dog’s reactions.
Limited Ingredient or Hypoallergenic Diets for Food Allergies
Another way to manage your dog’s allergies is to limit ingredients from their diet that cause allergies. If your dog is allergic to chicken, change their diet to a beef or fish protein diet. Be sure to check treats for chicken, chicken meal, or chicken broth that could cause an allergic reaction. You can also put your dog on a hypoallergenic diet.
Only put your dog on a diet after consulting your vet first. A recommended hypoallergenic diet should include
- Protein such as lamb, fish, or rabbit
- Rice, sweet potato, carrots, rhubarb
- Apples, pineapple, bananas, or apricots
- Sunflower oil or olive oil
- Prescription and non-prescription dog foods
Treatment and Management Options
Many seasonal allergies are environmental, so there’s no permanent cure. There are treatments available that can help ease your pet’s symptoms. The best treatments and management options are listed below, depending on the season.
Avoidance Strategies for Environmental Allergens
Environmental allergens commonly affecting dogs include pollen, dust mites, and grasses. The best strategy to help lessen the effects of these allergens is to minimize your pet’s exposure to them. Create an allergy-free environment for your dog by
- Washing your dogs’ bedding in hot water weekly
- Getting carpets cleaned
- Regularly laundering throw rugs, pillows, and curtains
Medications for Symptomatic Relief
Antihistamines – Antihistamines are sometimes used to treat seasonal and environmental allergies in dogs. They work by blocking histamine receptors. Histamines are molecules released by the dog’s body in response to an allergen like pollen or dust mites. This a low-cost, safe treatment that is popular with many vets. Only consult your vet first before giving your dog antihistamines. They can suggest the amount your dog should take based on their weight.
Steroids – Steriods are used to treat more severe allergic reactions in dogs. Your veterinarian administers these medications because of possible side effects.
Immunotherapy (Allergy Shots) for Desensitization
Immunotherapy or allergy shots work as a long-term treatment option. Allergy shots with small amounts of what your pet is allergic to are administered gradually. The dose is increased over time, so your pet’s body builds up a tolerance to the allergens. Most injections are given under the skin, but some are given through drops placed under your dog’s tongue several times daily. At first, the shots were given every other day, then decreased to several times a week. This treatment is continued for one year before your vet sees improvement.
Topical Treatments for Skin-Related Issues
For skin-related allergies, your vet may prescribe topical treatments. They may prescribe over-the-counter itch-relief shampoo or sprays. In more severe cases, your vet may give your dog antihistamines or steroids to relieve inflammation, not spots or itching.
Here are some practical tips for preventing allergic reactions in your dog.
Regular Bathing and Grooming to Reduce Allergens on the Coat
Giving your dog a regular bath or grooming can help reduce allergens that build up on their coat. It’s recommended that you bathe your dog once a week. Use hypoallergenic shampoos and conditioners to minimize skin irritations.
Keep the Living Environment Clean and Dust-Free
Be sure to keep your home dust-mite-free.
- Washing pet bedding
- Air purifier to minimize airborne allergens in your home
How to use an air purifier
- Keep windows closed
- Leave the air purifier on all day
- Place the purifier in the room where your dog usually hangs out.
- Replace the filter regularly.
Using Hypoallergenic Pet Products
Using hypoallergenic products such as food, treats, grooming, and bedding may be beneficial. Always read the labels on these products to ensure they are hypoallergenic.
Implementing Flea Prevention Measures
Fleas are another common cause of allergies in dogs. Flea allergy dermatitis can be prevented with regular flea prevention treatments.
- Topical flea prevention treatments
- Oral flea prevention
- Flea collars.
If your dog is allergic to fleas, be sure to have them checked regularly for fleas.
Like humans, dogs are susceptible to seasonal or environmental allergies. If you think your dog might have seasonal allergies, talk to your vet about getting your pup to check out. Your vet can run tests to confirm what allergens are making your pet miserable. There are various treatments your vet will prescribe depending on the type of allergy affecting your pup.
When Are Dogs Most Likely to Get Seasonal Allergies?
Allergies appear in dogs with genetic predispositions anywhere from one to three years of age.
Are Allergies Inherited?
Genetic reasons for your dog’s seasonal or environmental allergies can exist.
Do Dog Allergies Go Away?
Because most seasonal allergies are environmental, they won’t go away. However, some treatments can control your dog’s symptoms.
At What Age Do Dogs Develop Allergies?
Allergies usually appear in dogs anywhere from one to three years of age.
What Months Are the Worst for Dog Allergies?
The worst months of dogs’ seasonal allergies are
- September, October, November
- March, April, May
- June, July, August
How Common Are Dog Allergies?
Studies suggest that 10% to 20% of the dog population is affected by allergies, with specific breeds being more prone to allergies.