Grass Allergies in Dogs

Grass allergies in dogs can cause your pet quite a lot of discomfort. In some cases, the allergic reaction that your pet has to grass and grass pollens may be so severe that it requires attention immediately or else it puts him at risk of more serious health concerns. Grass allergies are almost never fatal, but they can nonetheless be quite serious. Read on for a brief guide on what causes these allergies, how you can recognize them, and how to go about treating them or moderating them so that your pet can live as comfortably as is possible.

Causes and Symptoms of Grass Allergies

The exact reason for why a pet may suffer from a grass allergy is not known. The mechanism by which an allergic reaction happens begins with an immune system response to a perceived threat. In the case of grass allergies, the culprit is typically the pollen produced by the grass. This pollen may come into contact with your dog when he is walking around outside. He may also, and usually more likely, breathe the pollen in while he's either outdoors or even indoors as well.

When your allergic pet's body detects grass pollens in its system, he'll respond by producing chemicals called histamines. These histamines float throughout your pet's bloodstream and find receptor cells on which to attach. When they do, they cause a variety of different symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of a grass allergy in dogs include the following:

  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Redness and irritation around the eyes, nose, mouth and any other place that may have come into contact with grass
  • Sneezing, coughing or wheezing
  • Rubbing or pawing at the face

Recognizing and Treating Grass Allergies

If you see your pet displaying any of the symptoms listed above, it's a good idea to take him in to the vet for analysis. Grass allergies typically come about more frequently in summer months, when pollen counts tend to be higher. You may therefore notice a slight change in your pet's reaction over time.

Your vet can diagnose the allergy based on the symptoms and, occasionally, based on a set of allergy tests which can be done in the lab. When you recognize the source of the allergy, you can then go about treating it. The single best way to do that is to limit your pet's contact with the offending allergen. In the case of grass pollens, this means you may need to limit the time that your dog spends outside. It may also mean that you need to purchase special equipment, like hypo allergenic bedding and air purifiers for your home.

Acute reactions can be treated with drugs called anti histamines. These medicines work to block the reception of the histamine cells, thereby limiting the allergic reaction. It's good to have some of these on hand if your pet's allergic reaction to grass can be severe. Ask your vet for additional information.