Dog hayfever - coping with seasonal allergies
Dogs are just as susceptible to hay fever as humans, but it can be difficult to recognise the signs of a seasonal dog allergy.
DOES YOUR DOG SCRATCH AND BITE HIS BODY?
HAS HE STARTED TO LICK HIS PAWS?
DOES HE RUB HIS FACE ON THE FLOOR OR FURNITURE?
….if your dog has any of these symptoms he is likely to have hay fever or a seasonal allergy and we can help!
Dogs can inhale pollen granules in exactly the same way as we do, but the resulting responses are different. While we tend to react with a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing, a dog allergy will generally show on his skin. This is because the histamines released by the body in response to pollen in animals are mostly released in the skin rather than in the nose and eyes.
It's not just by inhaling pollen that a dog can suffer hay fever either. Direct contact with the skin can also trigger these responses so frolicking in a grassy meadow this summer could leave your pet with a persistent itch.
Dog hayfever symptoms
If suffering from dog skin allergies like hay fever he is likely to scratch and bite his body, possibly to the extent that he will pull some of his coat out. He may also lick his paws, shake his head and rub his face on the floor or furniture. He is likely to be more sensitive to being touched and generally miserable in his demeanor.
In more severe cases, the skin may well appear pink, red or inflamed, and if they have scratched so much that they have broken the surface of the skin, the scratch may well have become infected with bacteria.
If your dog is sensitive to seasonal allergies, it is likely that they will start showing these symptoms from April onwards as dogs are particularly sensitive to tree pollen, which is about much earlier than grass pollen and the early days of spring are when we usually see it.
Soothing your dog's skin
In order to prevent these irritating symptoms it is worth ensuring that your dog’s natural skin defences are working as well as they possibly can. Omega 6 and 3 oils increase the essential fatty acids in a dog’s diet to improve their skin health. For example, adding Yumega Plus to your dog’s diet will ensure they get the correct balance of these oils, helping to calm sensitivity and irritation in his skin, and will make it more difficult for the pollen to penetrate the skin, which should discourage the dog scratching. Yumega Plus contains added fresh salmon oil and more vitamin E than standard Yumega making it perfect for dogs with itchy and sensitive skin. Click here to find out more about Yumega Plus.
Other things that you should try include bathing your dog with a shampoo designed to reduce skin problems in dogs, although not so frequently that it dries out the skin or you could lose those vital oils in their coat. It’s also very important to keep up to date with flea control and brushing the coat to ensure there is no dirt and debris or trapped pollen in matted hair. At peak hay fever times ensure you brush the coat to remove seeds, etc from his coat and wipe him down with a damp towel after his walk to get rid of the pollen. Regularly washing your dog’s grooming brushes and bedding can help too.
If you suspect your dog’s scratching has lead to a skin infection, you should visit your vet as soon as possible to ensure the infection does not spread further.
TOP TIPS for reducing dog hayfever!
1. One simple way to guard against the irritating symptoms of hay fever and other dog skin conditions is to make sure your pet’s natural skin defences are in tip-top condition. By adding Yumega Plus to your pet’s diet, pollen and other allergens will find it more difficult to get into the skin and calm sensitive & itchy skin, so it no longer requires scratching. The omega 6 and 3 oils contained in Yumega Plus improve animals’ skin health by increasing essential fatty acids that are lacking in their diet.
2. Consider bathing your dog with a shampoo designed to sooth irritated skin, but not too frequently as you don’t want to dry out their skin. If bathing more regularly becomes necessary, include an omega 3 and 6 supplementation, such as Yumega Plus, in the diet to make up for lost oils from the skin and coat.
3. Keep up to date on flea control. Flea allergies can cause skin eruptions and should be treated immediately. This will prevent further skin problems in dogs.
4. Brush the coat daily and carefully comb or cut out matted hair which can hold dirt and debris and from which bacteria can enter the skin causing bacterial dermatitis.
5. Wipe your dog down with a damp towel after they’ve been out in the grass – this helps to remove the pollen trapped in their coat