Dog hayfever - coping with seasonal allergies

What causes dog hay fever?

Dogs 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 their skin. This is because the histamines released by the body in response to pollen in dogs 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.

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 show any of these signs?

 

  • Does your dog scratch or bite their body?

  • Have they started to lick or bite their paws?

  • Rub their face on the furniture or the floor?

If your dog has any of these symptoms they are likely to be suffering from hay fever.

Dog hay fever - The symptoms in more detail

If suffering from dog skin allergies like hay fever dogs are likely to scratch and bite their body, possibly to the extent that they will lose some of their coat.  They may also lick their paws, shake their head and rub their face on the floor or furniture.  They are also likely to be more sensitive to being touched and generally miserable in 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 you suspect your dog’s scratching has led to a skin infection, you should visit your vet as soon as possible to ensure the infection does not spread to their fur.

These hay fever symptoms begin 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 this.

TOP TIPS for reducing dog hayfever!

1. 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.

2. Brush the coat daily and carefully comb or cut out matted hair which can hold dirt and debris, from which bacteria can enter the skin causing bacterial dermatitis.

3. 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.

4. 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. 

5. 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. This can be done by adding YUMEGA Plus to your pet’s diet. The Omega 6 and 3 oils contained in YUMEGA Plus aid dogs’ skin health by increasing essential fatty acids that are lacking in their diet. These fatty acids help to replenish your dog's skin barrier, reducing the likelihood of allergens entering their system, which will discourage itching and inflammation.

Written by James Howie

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