Does my dog have seasonal allergies?

It’s that time of the year again when allergy medication frequently accompanies the morning coffee for many people. But have you ever considered your dog can suffer from seasonal allergies as well? They most certainly can! Interestingly enough though, canine seasonal allergies can build up – making them more than just a ‘seasonal’ problem.

Seasonal allergies flare up when the body’s immune system senses the presence of a normal environmental substance it deems as a threat – known as an ‘allergen.’ This allergen then causes the body to produce a series of physical reactions in an effort to protect itself.

As humans, our seasonal allergies are generally expressed through the respiratory system. Whereas canine seasonal allergies are largely symptomatic through skin irritations and inflammation known as allergic dermatitis. Dogs having a chronic history of allergies are often diagnosed with a treatable disease called Atopic Dermatitis.

Some common seasonal allergens may include; fleas, mold spores or dust mites and pollen from trees, grass as well as weeds. Inviting as that lush green grass is to Fido, it might light up his allergies like the Fourth of July if he can’t resist the urge to roll in it.

Certain breeds like terriers, setters, retrievers and most flat faced breeds such as Boston Terriers, Pugs and Bulldogs are prone to suffer from allergies more so than others. Pay special attention to these poor guys.

While we sneeze, cough and blow our noses to indicate seasonal allergies, our dogs show other common signs of allergies which may include one or more of these symptoms:

  • Swollen paws

  • Chewing and/or licking of their paws

  • Sneezing

  • Watery, itchy eyes

  • Itchy face and muzzle

  • Inflamed ears and belly

  • Increased scratching

  • Itchy back and tail base

Allergies can be serious and should never be casually dismissed. Not only do they make one feel miserable but serious complications from many secondary conditions may arise as a direct result. These conditions can include; bacterial and yeast infections, hair loss and hot spots, skin lesions and respiratory problems.

If you find that your dog is doing things like rubbing his face or body on every piece of furniture he can find, digging at his ears, or demanding more butt and back scratches than usual…you might consider it a wake up call. Schedule a visit with your local veterinarian to discuss the possibility of seasonal allergies affecting your pet before a secondary complication rears its ugly head.

Your veterinarian is best qualified to examine and determine what type of allergen might be driving Fido up a tree. Physical examination and questions regarding your dog’s history and displayed symptoms may be enough to diagnose the problem and irritant. Alternatively, blood and intradermal skin tests may be required to further pinpoint the culprit.

There are many allergy treatments available which vary based on your pets’ allergen(s). Treatments include implementing flea treatment or foot soaks, cortisone medications or antihistamines,  altering bathing habits or shampoo, changing housekeeping habits, or applying a holistic approach like a regiment of fatty acid supplements.

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