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Seasonal Allergies in Dogs: How to Aid from the Inside Out

Written by: Russell Goodman



Time to read 3 min

Eurgh, allergies…! We all hate it when it turns to “that” time of the year when the pollen is out and hay-fever is ripe. Antihistamines at the ready! But, did you know that whilst many people associate spring and summer with allergies they can continue into autumn and winter too? Different plants release allergens at different times and unless the weather gets freezing cold for a long period of time allergens can affect your pup all year round! Plus, it may be that your dog's allergies aren't caused by pollen at all.

So, let's dive into some causes, symptoms and what you can do to help your pooch all year round!

What are seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies are all caused by environmental allergies however not every environmental allergy is seasonal, like dust (which is present all year round) – got it?

Is your pooch incessantly sneezing? Is there a sudden change in their behaviour? This is a sign that there is something amiss.

What causes dog allergies?

Quite simply, an allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to an allergen (such as pollen or dust) which the immune system sees as a threat. Histamine is released, causing reactions we all know well like inflammation, sneezing and other allergy symptoms.

When do dog seasonal allergies occur?

Typically, you could expect seasonal allergies to set in any time from 6 months and up to 3 years of age. You would generally expect them to flare up at a specific time of year. For example, a pollen allergy would typically present throughout the spring and summer whereas an allergy to mould spores will typically happen during colder and wetter months, especially autumn when fallen leaves build up.

Symptoms of dog seasonal allergies

Make sure you know the signs of seasonal allergies to look out for. These typically are:

  • Obsessive licking – also look out for bald spots and discolouration around their paws. These are common problems linked with over licking
  • Red irritated skin with possible crusts or scales – this is an indication of infection
  • Excessive scratching
  • Reddened or watery eyes
  • Sneezing and / or a runny nose
  • Hot spots
  • Waxy discharge or red ears – another sign of scratching
  • Dragging their bum across the floor – often caused by itchy hindquarters

Is your dog sneezing all year round? This could be a sign of multiple allergies and you should book an appointment with your vet.

Remedies for your dog’s seasonal allergies

None of us like to see our dogs in pain or discomfort and so you will be pleased to hear that there are many home remedies available to you to help relieve itchiness, discomfort and flare-ups. Here are some great options:

  • Antihistamines are the go-to vet solution for treating allergies. There are several different types out there for your dog so do consult your vet as the most effective tablet could be dependent on your dog’s breed.
  • Probiotics - the beneficial bacteria in probiotics can help repair your dog's gut microbiome which helps boost your dog's immune system. 
  • Salmon Oil – by giving salmon oil, you can help to balance out the fatty oils in your dog’s system potentially decreasing how susceptible they are to allergens
  • Apple cider vinegar is a great fix to help relieve itchy skin. Try diluting 1/3 apple cider vinegar to 2/3 water as a supplement to your dog’s diet (no more than 1tsp vinegar) or apply it topically onto skin lesions.
  • Medicated shampoos and conditioners – these can sometimes contain antihistamines too so have a look on the label
  • Immunotherapy (or allergen shots) might be an effective treatment option if your dog is still suffering despite trying other measures. However, it can take up to year before you see the benefit of these shots so be prepared that this is a lengthy and costly option with lots of visits to the vets too.

There are other options which your vet can advise on including serums, steroids and anti-itch medication.

A couple of final things which can help; clean your home regularly to get rid of excess dust and build-up and change your routine. For example, avoid taking walks in the early morning / late evening when pollen is at its peak or avoid piles of leaves.

Other types of dog allergies

We’ve discussed seasonal and environmental allergies but there are many other common dog allergies which can impact on your dog’s health which you need to be aware of. In a study by Banfield Pet Hospital, 3.6% of observed dogs had environmental allergies, and this number was on the rise.

The same study found that 1.8% of dogs had a flea bite allergy or flea allergy dermatitis as it’s more commonly known. Look out for fleas or flea debris (little specks of dried blood) in your dog’s coat. Just 0.2% had a food allergy. 

Typically food allergies develop because your dog is a little sensitive to certain proteins such as chicken, beef or pork.

There is no cure for seasonal allergies, but the condition can be managed. Try your best to avoid allergens and address your dog’s symptoms. Working with your vet will help identify the underlying cause. 

Hopefully by implementing some of the techniques we have discussed today, you can help to keep your dog happy, healthy and comfortable.