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  • Writer's pictureBear & Kind

Does Your Dog Have Seasonal Allergies?

Is your best friend sneezy, wheezy and itchy all over this time of year? You might be dealing with seasonal allergies. While it’s important to talk to your vet about what is causing your dog’s symptoms, there are things that you can do at home to give him some relief.

What Causes Seasonal Allergies in Dogs?

Seasonal allergies in dogs, also known as canine allergic rhinitis or allergic dermatitis, are typically caused by the dog's immune system reacting to allergens present in the environment during specific times of the year. Common causes of seasonal allergies in dogs include:

Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds is a significant allergen for many dogs. Pollen levels can vary by season, leading to seasonal allergies. Dogs can inhale pollen or come into contact with it via their skin and eyes.

Mold spores tend to be more prevalent in humid conditions, so dogs may develop allergies when humidity levels rise, typically in the warmer months.

Dust Mites are present year-round however their populations can increase in warmer months when humidity levels rise. Dogs can be allergic to dust mites found in indoor environments.

Flea bites are a common cause of allergies in dogs, and flea activity tends to increase during the warmer months. Some dogs can also be allergic to the saliva of other biting insects, like mosquitoes.

What are the Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies in Dogs?

Symptoms of seasonal allergies in dogs can vary but often include:

  • Itchy skin

  • Scratching or biting at the skin

  • Red, inflamed skin

  • Ear infections

  • Sneezing and nasal discharge

  • Watery eyes

  • Paw licking or chewing

  • Hair loss or hot spots (areas of irritated, moist, and inflamed skin)

  • Gastrointestinal issues

If you suspect that your dog has seasonal allergies, it's important to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Your vet can perform allergy tests or recommend other diagnostic procedures to determine the specific allergens affecting your dog. Once the allergens are identified, your veterinarian can suggest treatment options, which may include allergy medications, antihistamines, topical treatments, or allergen-specific immunotherapy (allergy shots) to help manage your dog's symptoms and improve their quality of life. While some veterinary prescribed allergy medications and treatments have side effects that are not ideal in the long term, they are sometimes necessary in the short term to get the symptoms under control.

How Can I Relieve the Symptoms at Home?

Here are some things you can do at home to help prevent or reduce the severity of allergy symptoms.

Regularly bathing your dog with a mild, hypoallergenic natural shampoo can help remove pollen and allergens from their skin and coat. Make sure to use lukewarm water and avoid over-bathing which can strip the skin and coat of natural oils and cause dryness.

Topical Remedies such as aloe vera gel or chamomile tea (cooled and diluted) can have a soothing effect on irritated skin. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties, while chamomile has natural antihistamine properties. For more topical remedies you can use at home go to our recent post 10 Natural Remedies for Itchy Dog Skin.

Diet is often overlooked but has been proven to play a significant role in managing seasonal allergies in dogs.

  • Gut health is particularly important as it plays an important role in the health and function of the immune system. Studies suggest that probiotics can help modulate the immune system and reduce allergy symptoms in dogs.

  • Feeding a balanced fresh diet has also been shown to reduce allergies and improve gut and immune system health. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and improve skin health.

  • Adding omega-3 rich foods including fatty fish (sardines, salmon or mackerel), hemp or chia seeds and oils to your dog’s diet has significant benefits for the skin and overall health.

  • Quercetin is a natural antioxidant found in certain foods (e.g., apples, berries) and is available as a supplement. It has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties that may help reduce allergy symptoms.

If you are looking to make changes to your dog's diet consult a canine nutritionist who can formulate a plan and recipes suited to your dog's individual needs.

Local Honey, which contains small amounts of local pollen, is believed by many dog owners to help build immunity to pollen allergens. Scientific evidence supporting this idea is limited however honey is still beneficial in soothing and preventing infection when used topically.

Regular Cleaning at home can help to minimize exposure to allergens. Regularly vacuum carpets and furniture, wash your dog's bedding, and use air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters to reduce airborne allergens.

Herbal Remedies such as nettle leaf and licorice root, are believed to have anti-allergy properties. However, the safety and efficacy of these remedies in dogs can vary, so consult with your canine herbalist, naturopath or holistic veterinarian before use.

Good Hydration can help maintain healthy skin and reduce itching. Make sure that your dog has access to clean fresh water at all times and clean his bowl regularly.

Consult a Holistic Veterinarian or Canine Naturopath if you're interested in exploring holistic approaches to managing your dog's allergies including guidance on treatments like acupuncture or herbal medicine. Remember that natural remedies may not work for every dog or may only provide partial relief. Your veterinarian or naturopath can help you develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your dog's specific needs, which may include a combination of natural and conventional treatments to manage seasonal allergies effectively.

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