Like their loving humans, dogs can suffer from seasonal allergies. Your canine companion can suffer from symptoms ranging from itchy eyes to hair loss, affecting your pooch's quality of life. Today, our Ypsilanti vets share more about the signs and treatment of seasonal allergies in dogs.
Allergies In Dogs
Allergic reactions happen when your pet's immune system overreacts to a certain substance (called an allergen). These substances are generally harmless to most pets, but some dogs have a hypersensitivity, leading to allergies and their associated symptoms.
The immune system usually works to fight off disease and infection but, in the case of allergies, it misidentifies the substance as dangerous and produces unpleasant familiar symptoms (itchy eyes, skin issues, sneezing etc) in an attempt to expel the 'dangerous' substance. Some common causes of allergies in dogs include:
- Mold spores
- Saliva from flea bites
Seasonal Allergies In Dogs
Seasonal allergens are a common cause of allergic reactions in dogs, and although most allergies are incurable there are several methods of treatment and management to ensure your pet's wellbeing and quality of life. Any dog can have seasonal allergies, but there are particular breeds that seem to be more prone to having allergic reactions, including Setters, Pugs, Terriers, Bulldogs, and Retrievers.
Symptoms Of Canine Seasonal Allergies
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. Some commonly seen symptoms in dogs suffering from seasonal allergies include:
- Scratching or biting at skin because of irritation or itchiness
- 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
- Shaking head– This is an especially common allergic reaction for dogs with floppy ears such as basset hounds. Symptoms of ear infections include:
These conditions could be painful and even dangerous, so seek veterinary care sooner rather than later.
Diagnosing 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, run a number of diagnostic tests. Your vet may also recommend a specialist veterinary dermatologist for skin testing, which is an accurate way to have seasonal allergies diagnosed.
Treating Seasonal Allergies In Dogs
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:
- Change your daily walk time
- Alter your daily walk routine
- Remove excess allergens
- Clean your home
- Dog shampoo
- Topical solutions
If your dog has a particularly severe reaction, contact your vet at once!
Treatment Using Medication
Your vet or veterinary dermatologist might recommend an allergy serum, which is a series of allergen injections that slowly increase in dose over time. The needle you'll use is very small, but you 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 must be prescribed by your vet, so ensure you discuss side effects or potential complications with them first.
Treatment Using A Therapeutic Diet
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 specialist will be able to help your pooch
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.