Your dog’s sneeze can be one of the cutest things ever. But that doesn’t mean seasonal dog allergies shouldn’t be taken seriously. Dog’s might not show their allergy symptoms to canine seasonal allergies the same way humans do, but they get them all the same. As the seasons come and go, changes in the environment expose your dog to allergens (just like us!).
It’s important you know how to treat those seasonal allergies as they can become serious and arise with little notice. Let’s make sure none of these seasonal changes stop you and your companion from checking out new hiking trails and meeting other furry friends.
Everything You Need To Know About Seasonal Dog Allergies
If you’ve ever wanted to find out everything you need to know about treating seasonal allergies in dogs, we’ve got you covered. We’ll inform you not only on signs of seasonal allergies in dogs, but how to treat seasonal allergies in dogs. So you and your pup can enjoy a happy and healthy year, regardless of the season!
Let’s put the leash on seasonal allergies.
Do Dogs Get Allergies?
Do dogs get allergies? Yes, they do. Your dog spends an immense amount of time interacting with their environment, exposing themselves to a myriad of allergens. From brushing up on humans and other dogs, to exploring the great outdoors packed with insects and environmental allergens from the plants and seasons, it’s not a question of ‘will you’ need to treat your dog’s allergies, but when.
While there are many different symptoms of pet allergies, some of the most common signs are itchy skin, hair loss, ear infections, runny nose, and other skin problems. Whether your dog is suffering from environmental allergies or food allergies, symptoms can manifest in a number of different ways. As you will see below, not all dog allergies are caused by the seasons. But all causes, whether they be by fleas, food, indoor or outdoor particles, are all affected and varied depending on the season.
That’s why preventative measures are so important.
The best way to provide seasonal allergy relief for dogs and seasonal allergy support for dogs is by understanding the common causes of dog allergies and how you can minimize contact and prevent them before they occur.
Common Causes of Dog Allergies
Common causes of dog allergies generally involve how your pup is interacting with their environment. However, many of these factors are influenced or affected by the seasons.
The common causes of dog allergies are:
- Flea Allergies – According to Nature, Nature and Allergies – A Complex Condition, 40% of dog allergies are the result of flea allergies. Flea saliva has 15 components that cause an allergic reaction in sensitive dogs. These allergies can manifest in the form of skin conditions or other allergens that can affect your dog’s development. Fleas tend to flourish in warmer, wetter seasons. Dogs who are infected with fleas will usually start itching, have visible inflamed skin, and show signs of discomfort.
- Food Allergies – Veterinarians estimate food allergies account for 10-15% of dog allergies. However, according to the Journal of Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 20-30% of dogs with food allergies have other concurrent allergies as well. Diagnosis involves food trials to eliminate threats and other preventive strategies identifying food allergens. Make sure your friends and family don’t slip your dog any ‘surprise food’ under the table this holiday season.
- Outdoor or indoor – The outdoor exposes your dog to different plants, animals and insects, whereas indoor exposures can be dust, mites, or other allergens from interacting with furniture or people. Obviously, the seasons have an effect on the outdoors. With different seasons comes different insects, plants and pollens. Understanding which are more prevalent during different seasons might just save your pup from having an allergic reaction.
- Route of exposure – A dog can be affected by environmental allergens via direct contact, ingestion or inhalation. These substances can be organic or chemical and more difficult to define in origin. Having a dog means paying attention to your surroundings, which might mean that you have to change their walking route.
- Seasonal or nonseasonal – Your dog can be exposed to allergens via the seasons, like the pollen of spring for example, or non-seasonal allergens like dust and debris. Since your dog is most likely to be exposed to environmental allergens, seasonal allergies are the most substantial allergens to affect your dog and need thorough forms of treatment. There are steps however to treating seasonal allergies in dogs before they occur. Making sure your dog has a strong immune system and a healthy exposure to fresh air is the first line of defense every pet owner should focus on.
While these common causes of dog allergies are influenced and affected by the seasons, they are largely unbiased compared to more specific seasonal allergies in dogs. Seasonal allergies can require serious treatment, and leave their mark as rashes, respiratory illness or indigestion.
Seasonal Allergies in Dogs
But what exactly are the potential allergies?
- Atopic Allergies – According to a volume published in Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, canine atopic dermatitis is considered to be the second most common dog allergy skin condition. The most common allergen trigger was household dust mites (found in the fall), followed by Japanses Cedar pollen and molds particularly found in the spring.
- Cultivated Plants – From a study of 263 cases conducted by the University of California, Davis, summer and fall yielded more allergic reactions to molds, trees, and cultivated plants that triggered skin and ear yeast infections in dogs. Moreover, cultivated plants frequently triggered otitis external, or chronic inflammation of a dog’s external ear canal and foot lesions.
- Allergy Prone Dog Breeds – Believe it or not, being allergy prone is a dog trait. Yet, some dogs have been studied more than others. That being said, according to organizations like the American Kennel Club, retriever breeds, setter breeds, and terrier breeds are considered the three most allergy prone dog breeds, with the Pug and Shih Tzu being two of the less allergy prone dog breeds.
- Non-Hereditary – The prevalence of various allergies and allergic asthma suggest that while hereditary factors play a significant role in seasonal allergies, non-hereditary allergies are a rising cause of concern. With the dominance of the industrialized west, inhalants from factories, Co2 emissions from cars, explosures to plastics and metals, and other man-made factors have caused skin and asthma allergies to steadily rise in the US. In fact, a laboratory survey by the National Institutes of Health revealed that 50% of all human skin tests contain 1 of the 10 most common skin allergies. While dogs have more protection with their fur, they are just as exposed to certain seasonal allergies through inhalants and other intimate forms of interacting with their environment.
Treating Seasonal Allergies in Dogs
Just like people, seasonal allergies can be a real pain and hindrance to everyday life. Whether your dog has a runny nose, swollen eyes, or chronic sneezing, your dog can’t wait to be treated for their allergies.
Here are some proven strategies for treating seasonal allergies in dogs:
- Adapt a daily walk routine – It’s already been relayed how environment plays a crucial role in exposing your dog to seasonal allergies. Take these helpful tips when walking your dog to avoid overexposure. When possible, avoiding walking your dog in the early morning or late afternoon. This is the time of day when allergens are at their peak. Stay clear of parking lots or fields where offending plants are more common. When you get home from your walk, wipe down your dogs belly, paws and claws. Pay special attention to the paws.
- Clean air and surfaces at home – Even inside your home your dog is susceptible to seasonal allergies. Regular changes to air filters help minimize the exposure to airborne allergens and deter mold from growing in your home. Always vacuum at least once a week and dust for mites and pollen on rugs and curtains.
- Bath time – While not every breed of dog looks forward to their bath, every dog bath helps prevent dry, itchy skin. Sometimes allergens can become stuck in their fur and irritate the skin days after the initial exposure. Bath time is another great opportunity to apply moisturizing oils and hypoallergenic shampoos to provide your pup with another line of defense against seasonal allergies.
- Supplement your dog’s diet – Natural dietary supplements are full of fatty acids like Omegas-3 and Omega-6 oil to improve skin health and overall wellness. Our Vetericyn All-In Life Stage Supplement is packed with antioxidants and vitamin formulas to enhance immune system response and promote the function of cellular health. Supplements like these supply your dog with a complete and balanced bio-replenishment system, ensuring your pup has everything it needs naturally to fight against seasonal allergies.
Maybe a section on topical and eye/ear product here too? Don’t want to repeat it in every article so choose the one you think best applies. I say this one since it’s about treating.
Always Consult With Your Veterinarian
As always, any persisting symptoms should be evaluated by your vet immediately. Seasonal dog allergies are often displayed when your dog won’t stop licking, scratching, or chewing a certain part of its body. Keep a close eye on red, swollen, and irritated skin. Depending on your breed, your dog may also experience hair loss.
A veterinarian professional can prescribe more aggressive treatments such as steroids, allergy shots, antihistamines and other forms of immunotherapy.
- Vet Info. Nature, Nature and Allergies – A Complex Condition.
- Science Direct. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S016524279900166X
- NCBI. Canine Atopic Dermatitis: UCD: Clinical Features and Allergy Testing Results.
- NCBI. Prevalences of Positive Skin Test in the US Population. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16083793/
Dr. Melinda J. Mayfield-Davis, DVM, WCHP-AH, brings over 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine. She is the Technical Services Veterinarian with Innovacyn, Inc., parent company of Vetericyn Animal Wellness. She received her DVM from Oklahoma State University and now resides in Southeast Kansas with her husband, two children, four dogs, and six horses. Prior to working with Innovacyn, Dr. Mayfield owned and operated the Animal Care Center in Columbus, KS.