How to Ease Your Dog’s Spring and Summer Allergies

By Sarah Hinds Friedl on June 11th, 2020

Now that we’re well into spring and looking forward to summer, you’ve probably noticed that your dog is even more excited to go outside. After all, as much as we can appreciate the changing of seasons, our dogs are experiencing it on another level. Those superior doggie senses are being overloaded with new smells from blooming flowers, rushing streams, and all of those little critters who are coming out of their winter burrows. It’s no wonder that our dogs are more excited than ever to get back into nature.

Of course, we want to make sure that our pups are safe and healthy as they romp around in the bushes and long grass. And there’s an array of springtime ailments that can keep them from fully enjoying these warm sunny days.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the common allergies and pests that can bother our canine friends this season, and what we can do as pet owners to keep them at bay. That way, your dog can follow their nose through the fields, and you don’t have to spend your evenings pulling pests out of their fur.

Can dogs really get seasonal allergies?
Just like humans, dogs can react to a variety of spring and summer allergens that are inhaled through the nose and mouth, such as pollen or dust. Considering how much time our pups spend vacuuming up smells around the house, the backyard, and the dog park, it’s no wonder that these environmental allergens are the most common cause of allergic reaction in dogs. 

In addition, dogs tend to be more exposed to fleas and ticks, which trigger their own allergic reactions through saliva. While these pests can be active year-round in many parts of the US, the warmer months are high risk as your pup may be more tempted to follow their nose into long grasses and dense underbrush.

Are there other allergies pet owners should know about? In this article, we’re focusing on seasonal allergies, but dogs can also suffer from food allergies, mold exposure and contact irritation. It’s always a good idea to get the advice of your vet, especially if your dog is experiencing digestive issues or severe allergic reactions.

What are the symptoms for seasonal allergies in dogs?
Part of the reason why we may not think much about allergies in dogs is, well, our pups can’t tell us that they’re feeling discomfort. It’s up to us to learn the signs! Here are a few:

  • Sneezing, wheezing, and other signs of a congested respiratory system
  • Watery eyes and nose
  • Incessant licking, scratching, and chewing, especially where skin is exposed, such as in the armpits, groin, ears, and feet. Itchy skin is one of the most common symptoms when it comes to seasonal allergies in dogs.

If your dog is one of the unlucky ones to have seasonal allergies, you’ll likely notice symptoms develop between one to three years of age. You might also notice a change in allergies if you move to a new place, where the environmental allergens are different.

Should you consult with the vet if you think your dog has allergies?
Yes! Not only are seasonal allergies uncomfortable for your pet, but the excessive scratching and licking can lead to secondary infection and hair loss. So, seasonal allergies should be taken seriously and treated early.

With lab tests and different therapy options, your vet will be able to rule out the possibility that your dog’s allergic reactions are coming from a more permanent source, such as mold exposure or their food.

Once it’s been established that your dog has seasonal allergies, your vet may prescribe medication to help with the discomfort or talk about over-the-counter medications that are most appropriate for your dog.

Other than medication, how can you help your dog deal with seasonal allergies?
Luckily, there’s a lot that you can do to make sure that your pup is less bothered by allergies this season:

  • Be mindful of the allergens in your home. Remember that your dog’s nose is like a dust magnet, making them much more sensitive to dust in your home. Regular vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, and laundering of your linens will lower their exposure to sniffle-inducing allergens. You’ll also want to keep Fido out of the room while you do this spring cleaning.
  • Deep clean the dog bed and toys. Your dog’s bed and plush toys are great at absorbing allergens, so it’s a good idea to wash them in hot water as often as you would wash your own sheets.
  • Be mindful of when pollen is most active. Most pet owners aren’t botanists, so we may not know that plants, grasses, and trees release pollen at certain times of day! Early morning and late afternoon are like pollen rush hour, so try to find other times to enjoy some outside time.
  • Stay up-to-date on your dog’s flea and tick prevention.
  • Consider keeping the car windows up when driving with your pup. In our recent article, Why Do Dogs Stick Their Heads Out Car Windows, we explained why dogs love the fast-flowing stream of air that they get in the car. But at certain times of year, that air is absolutely saturated with allergens, so you might keep those windows up until pollen season is over.
  • When you come back from outdoor adventures, give your dog’s paws and fur a good wipe down. Pet friendly wipes will keep your pup clean and prevent them from tracking allergens into the house.
  • Give your dog the spa treatment. It’s important to be mindful that you don’t overbathe your doggo, which can strip their skin’s natural oils and lead to even more itchiness. But, the occasional soothing bath with anti-itch dog shampoo can be a big help in removing allergens from their fur. Again, check with your vet to come up with a good bathing schedule.

Now that you’re up-to-speed on seasonal dog allergies, you can help your furry friend enjoy these warmer temperatures!
If your pup is one of the bunch that experience seasonal allergies, you’re now well-equipped to help ease their discomfort! Time to get ahead of those dog allergies and get back to enjoying the excitement of the season!

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