With Spring in full bloom, it's time to start thinking about allergies in your furry companions. While seasonal allergies can affect humans and animals alike, dogs are particularly prone to pollen-based allergic reactions. If you've noticed your dog scratching more than usual lately or exhibiting other unusual behaviours, they could be suffering from an allergy flare-up caused by airborne pollen. In this post we'll cover the common signs of pollen allergies in dogs, provide advice on how to determine if that’s what they’re reacting to, as well as discuss some treatment options available for dog owners who want to help manage their pup’s symptoms.
Can dogs have hay fever or pollen allergies?
Much like humans, dogs can have an allergy to pollen and this can be particularly bad during Spring and Summer when pollen counts are higher. It may be that your dog is only allergic to a particular pollen or plant so you may not notice symptoms all year round, which is why this type of allergy is often called a seasonal allergy.
Signs and symptoms of a pollen allergy
It can be tricky to know if your dog has an allergy to pollen but there are some key symptoms to look out that could help you know if that is what they’re suffering from:
- Increased and frequent scratching – An allergy to pollen can cause dogs to have itchy skin, particularly in their ears, on their tails and their feet and legs. If you notice increased itching in these places your dog may have a seasonal allergy.
- Itchy, watery eyes – As happens to humans, pollen can irritate a dog’s eyes, particularly when they’ve been bouncing around in long grass, so itchy eyes are a common symptom of a pollen allergy in dogs.
- Red or irritated skin – You may notice your dog has red or irritated skin, particularly in places that come into contact with grass such as their feet, legs and tummy. Skin may also become irritated from excessive scratching so this is definitely a sign to look out for.
- Sneezing – The occasional sneeze can be amusing to watch and may not be cause for concern. However, if your dog starts to sneeze more often it may be that pollen is irritating their nose and respiratory system.
- A runny nose – This is a common reaction of a dog’s immune system to help with a pollen allergy so the irritant your dog has inhaled isn’t able to stay in their system.
How to prevent your dog suffering from seasonal allergies
Later in this article we discuss treatments for seasonal allergies but there are some things you can do to help prevent seasonal allergies affecting your dog or at least reduce the risk of them having symptoms:
1. Avoid going for a walk when the pollen count is high
It is important to make sure your dog has the right amount of exercise to stay healthy but you could look to walking them when pollen is at its lowest. Typically pollen counts rise throughout the morning and peak at midday day before falling again in the afternoon. This means the best time to walk your dog is before dawn and in the late afternoon or early evening when the pollen count is lowest.
2. Keep their bedding clean
We all know dogs love to take naps and be curled up in their bed or on their blanket. This means it’s especially important during allergy season to keep where they sleep clean to help stop any pollen your dog brings into the house from lingering.
3. Bathe your dog weekly
Your dog may not be a fan of having a bath but to help prevent them being uncomfortable and having symptoms of a pollen allergy it’s important to help stop pollen building up on their skin and coat. When there is a build up of allergens on your dog’s skin and fur it can make them irritated and itchy causing them to scratch more and potentially spread pollen around your home.
Using a gentle shampoo that will help any itchy skin, such as Wild Wash’s sensitive shampoo for itchy allergy skin, is a great way to help remove any pollen build up in your dog’s coat. It is also great for using on those areas that need a bit more attention, such as your dog’s feet and legs, which come into contact with allergens.
How to treat your dog’s pollen allergy
Sometimes no matter what you do to try and prevent your dog struggling with a pollen allergy they will still get symptoms that you need to treat. Depending on what their symptoms are there are a few different things you can do to help soothe and treat your dog’s allergic reactions:
Feed your dog a healthy diet
Your dog’s health is directly linked to their gut microbiome so it is important to make sure you are doing as much as you can to help your dog have a healthy digestive system. A healthy diet can not only help your dog’s gut but can also help with inflammation if it includes foods that are anti-inflammatory such as sweet potatoes, squashes and broccoli. Additionally, prebiotics and probiotics, such as our daily probiotic powder for dogs, are a good way to help boost your dog’s immune system and support normal yeast production which can help with itchy ears and paws.
Make sure your dog gets enough Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids can help boost your dog’s normal histamine levels and moisturise their skin to create a barrier against seasonal allergies. However, dog’s aren’t able to produce Omega-3 themselves so you need to make sure they are getting enough through their diet. One way of doing this is to give your dog salmon oil rich in Omega 3, 6, 9 which helps keep your dog’s skin, coat, heart and joints healthy. Our Jammin’ Salmon has the added benefit of containing powerful natural antioxidants as well and is one of the purest on the market so is a great way to help treat your dog’s allergies.
While seasonal allergies can be a real challenge for dog owners, the good news is that they aren’t completely unpreventable. By keeping an eye out for symptoms and understanding what measures you need to take to address them early on, you can give your pup a fighting chance at having a healthy and pleasant Spring and Summer. Of course, if you haven’t already, it’s always important to speak to your vet if nothing you try helps your dog as they will be able to give you the best advice for your dog specifically. Ultimately, ensuring that we do the best we can for our pup’s health is essential. With timely intervention and proactive care you can help stop your dog from suffering with seasonal allergies and help them be their usual happy selves throughout the year.