How To Help Your Dog Cope With Seasonal Allergies
Your eyes start to itch. Your nose starts to run. A dry, scratchy throat is keeping you up at night. You are coping with the same seasonal allergies that hit you every summer and fall. If you are dealing with these annoyances, you may be shocked to learn that your dog is fairing about the same.
Many people don’t realize that dogs can suffer from seasonal allergies, just like their human guardians. Our best friends don’t often respond to allergens in exactly the same way as we do, which can make it difficult to discern whether or not they are experiencing the same hassles that come with the changing season that we are.
Let’s take a moment to talk about seasonal allergies and your dog: knowing what causes them, what to look out for, and how to help can mean relief for your four-legged friend.
The Causes of Seasonal Allergies
Allergies in dogs behave the same way they do in humans: the body’s immune system becomes intolerant, or less tolerant, of specific allergens. These allergens trigger an immune response, similar to how the body will attack viruses, fungi, and other invaders. These histamine responses invoke familiar side effects: swelling, sneezing, watery eyes or nose, and sometimes even difficulty breathing.
“Seasonal” allergies occur when certain allergies are prominent because of a change in weather patterns, which can coincide with changes in the environment that produce allergens. Allergens for dogs are typically plant pollens, flea bites, and freshly cut grass. Reactions to allergens may change based on the level of exposure, the current plants in bloom, or unpredictable changes in your dog’s immune response.
You can’t wrap your dog in bubble wrap or force them to wear a mask, so what are you supposed to do?
Staying Alert for Symptoms
The most common symptom of a dog experiencing seasonal allergies is changes in the skin. You may notice dandruff, a dull coat, or a dog that simply can’t stop scratching. If the thump, thump, thump of your dog’s paw hitting the floor while scratching is starting to make you crazy, chances are high that you’re dealing with an allergic dog.
You may also notice a dog that rubs its face on the furniture, slides its body along the carpet, or spins circles on its behind. Your pooch may be chewing on his feet like they are coated in peanut butter, shaking his head incessantly, or pawing at her eyes. They may also have symptoms familiar to ours: sneezing, eye discharge, or wheezing breath. All of these things can be signs that your dog is suffering as badly as you are.
Seek a Proper Diagnosis
While the above are often tell-tale signs that your dog is experiencing seasonal allergies, don’t assume. Be sure to seek out a medical diagnosis from your trusted veterinarian. Your vet can treat your dog for symptoms and offer you general advice, or they can perform allergy tests to pinpoint what your dog is allergic to.
Testing for your dog may include skin scrapes, another skin testing, and blood tests. You will also have to rule out common issues like an acute infection. How far you go in diagnostics will depend on what your veterinarian suggests, what you are comfortable with, and your budget. Depending on the severity of your pet’s symptoms, your veterinarian could refer you to a specialist such as a dermatologist for a more specific diagnosis and treatment plan.
Managing Your Pet’s Symptoms
One of the ways you can help your dog be more comfortable is to deliver medication that your vet prescribes or keep your regularly scheduled appointments for allergy shots. There are several prescription medications on the market that are extremely effective in helping control your dog’s itch. Your veterinarian may suggest that you try an over-the-counter medication.
Limiting your dog’s exposure to seasonal allergens can also help. Here are a few things you can do:
- Use an air purifier in the house
- Keep doors and windows closed when pollen counts are high
- Wipe off your dog’s paws and coat with a baby wipe or pet wipe after walks and potty time to remove pollen that may be sticking around
- Mop your floors regularly
- Dust your home’s surfaces daily
- Change the filter in your air conditioner
None of these things are able to eliminate allergens completely, but each can help to provide at least some amount of relief.
But Your Dog Needs Exercise!
It’s true — your dog needs to romp and play. He needs to hike and run. For dogs suffering from seasonal allergies, getting the proper amount of exercise safely can be difficult. What’s a guardian to do during peak allergy season, when their pet can’t seem to take anymore? Find things for your dog to do indoors!
Indoor exercise can involve play, training, or even a romp around the garage.
While it may not seem ideal, mental exercise can be just as tiring as physical exercise. Find a book of tricks, and start teaching your dog a thing or two. Play a fun game of “find it”. Buy a toy that forces your dog to use his brain to receive a treat or a few pieces of kibble. Go down in the basement and play a game of fetch. Get creative! There is nothing that says your dog has to turn into a lump because the pollen count is high.
Greenlin Pet Resorts Is Here To Help
You’re wondering how in the world we can help your dog with his seasonal allergies. We aren’t veterinarians, after all. While we can’t diagnose or prescribe anything for your pet, what we can do is provide a safe, indoor area to learn and play. Our pet resort locations include indoor dog daycare facilities, which consist of spacious open gym areas fed with state-of-the-art air purification systems. With space to run around, lots of toys, games, and play pals chosen by size, age, and temperament, there’s always something to do at Greenlin!
Our wonderful services at Greenlin Pet Resorts like obedience training and daycare can help your dog burn off some of that energy they’ve built up after being stuck in the house for the winter.
Our staff is full of highly-trained dog lovers who want nothing but the best for your friend. You can trust us with the care of your companion and we will make every effort to ensure your dog is happy and pleasantly worn out when you pick him up. We know how important mental and physical stimulation is to our canine friends, and we also know that seasonal allergies can wreak havoc on your routine. Let us help you out! Call a dog daycare facility near you today, or contact us online for more information about the quality services we offer.