How to prevent your dog’s seasonal allergies

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How to prevent your dog’s seasonal allergies - puppy in a flowerbed

Seasonal allergies can affect dogs as well as people in the spring and late fall, resulting in itchy skin and other unpleasant symptoms. If you suspect your dog has seasonal allergies, you can talk to a veterinarian to get a customized strategy to prevent allergy symptoms. Read on if you’ve ever asked:

  • What causes seasonal allergies?
  • Can seasonal allergies in dogs be prevented?
  • How do I know if my dog has allergies?
  • How are canine allergies treated?

The most common symptom of allergies in dogs is itchy skin, which can result in hair loss and secondary infections from excessive scratching. Seasonal allergies are usually environmental, and symptoms wax and wane as the seasons change and allergens are reduced in your dog’s environment.

What are seasonal allergies?

Allergies in dogs occur when the body has an inappropriate immune response to a foreign substance or allergen, resulting in widespread inflammation. An allergy can be year-round or seasonal. Seasonal allergies have symptoms that wax and wane with a seasonal pattern due to an increased amount of allergens at particular times of the year. Most environmental allergies are seen in the early spring and late fall, but there are a few that are more prominent in the winter months. It is possible for dogs to have multiple seasonal allergies that cause symptoms year-round.

How are seasonal allergies diagnosed?

Seasonal allergies are suspected when typical symptoms wax and wane with a seasonal pattern. Diagnostic testing is needed to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms before concluding the symptoms are caused by allergies. There is no specific test to diagnose allergies. Rather, allergy testing identifies specific allergens that affect your dog but is only useful once you know your dog has allergies. The offending allergen does not necessarily need to be identified for successful treatment.

Can I prevent my dog’s seasonal allergies?

“Seeking veterinary guidance is the safest and most efficient way to prevent allergy symptoms,” explains Dr. Jo Myers, a veterinarian at Vetster. “A veterinarian can help create an allergy management plan to help prevent allergic symptoms”

Avoiding contact with common allergens or the identified offending allergen is the only true way to prevent allergies in dogs. Most dogs with allergies are allergic to more than one thing, so it may be beneficial to avoid as many of the common allergens as possible. Common types of allergens include:

  • Flea saliva
  • Grasses
  • Flower or tree pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores

Dog owners can help their pets avoid contact with these allergens by:

  • Using vet-recommended flea prevention
  • Limiting time outside when the pollen count is high
  • Closing windows in the home
  • Using high-quality filters in central air and heating systems
  • Using an air purifier in the home
  • Rinsing your dog’s feet off when they come inside
  • Bathing or rinsing off your dog’s fur weekly
  • Vacuuming and dusting frequently
  • Washing dog beds, collars, and harnesses frequently

Flea allergy dermatitis is one of the most common allergies in dogs and regular use of a vet-recommended flea control product is the best way to prevent it. Airborne allergens can be reduced with high-quality filters and air purifiers. Contact allergens can be removed from the body with regular grooming and wiping or rinsing your dog’s fur. Allergy symptoms are usually worse when more of the allergen is present, so regular cleaning around the home may provide some dogs with a little relief.

Quote from Jo Myers where she emphasizes how important vet-help is for preventing allergy symptoms in dogs.

What are common symptoms of spring allergies in dogs?

Itchy skin is the most common symptom of allergies in dogs. Excessive scratching caused by itchiness can lead to skin irritation, inflammation, and open sores, resulting in secondary skin infections. Other allergy symptoms can include:

Skin symptoms are far more common than respiratory symptoms in dogs. If a dog is experiencing symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or discharge from the eyes or nose without any skin symptoms, they are likely being caused by another condition. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea can occur with food allergies but rarely occur with environmental allergies.

What are the treatment options for canine allergies?

Every dog reacts differently to allergy treatments, so various options may need to be explored with a vet to see what works best. Successful allergy management usually requires multiple strategies for both prevention and treatment. Allergy treatment options include:

  • Flea treatment and prevention
  • Oral or injectable anti-itch medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Medicated shampoos
  • Skin support supplements
  • Steroids
  • Immunotherapy allergy shots

Secondary skin infections or ear infections resulting from excessive scratching may require additional treatments such as antibiotics or antifungals.

What should I do if my dog shows symptoms of allergies?

If your dog is showing allergy symptoms, talk to a vet to ensure the pets in your home are on safe and effective flea control. You can also discuss the possibility that another medical concern might be causing your dog’s symptoms and rule out other causes. It’s best to consult a veterinarian before assuming that allergies are causing your dog’s symptoms and attempting to treat them from home. Once your dog’s allergies are confirmed, a vet can help you create a long-term allergy management plan to treat and prevent symptoms effectively. Canine allergies cannot be cured and require lifelong management, and following your vet’s instructions can help minimize your furry friend’s discomfort. If your dog is showing symptoms of allergies, you can talk to an online vet to understand how to manage and prevent their symptoms.

FAQ - How to prevent your dog’s seasonal allergy symptoms

How do you prevent a dog from getting allergies?

Pet owners cannot prevent their dogs from developing allergies. However, allergy symptoms can be prevented by avoiding common allergens such as fleas, pollen, and grass. Work with a vet to create a long-term allergy management plan to minimize symptoms during allergy season.

Should I take my dog to the vet for seasonal allergies?

Allergy symptoms are similar to symptoms of other medical conditions. It’s best to talk to a vet if you suspect your dog has allergies to determine the cause of the symptoms before trying to treat them yourself at home. Most affected dogs need prescription medications in order to be comfortable and prevent secondary infections, hot spots, and ear infections. Even mild allergies can have a negative effect on a dog’s well-being and quality of life when left untreated.

How can I help my dog through allergy season?

Work closely with a vet to develop an effective allergy management plan for your dog. This may involve treating symptoms with allergy medications, avoiding common allergens, and using an effective flea control product.

What does an allergic reaction in dogs look like?

Itchy, irritated skin is the most common sign of allergies in dogs. A dog with allergies may also lick at their feet, frequently shake their head, have dry or inflamed skin, or develop respiratory symptoms such as coughing or sneezing. Food allergies can result in itchiness as well as vomiting or diarrhea.