Seasonal Allergy Cures for Dogs

Seasonal allergy cures for your dog may involve a multi-step treatment plan that includes giving your pet medications, cleaning your home more thoroughly and following a strict flea-control protocol as recommended by your veterinarian.

Types of Canine Seasonal Allergies

Two main types of seasonal allergies affect dogs: flea allergies and inhalant, or atopic, allergies. Although these allergies may seem to spring up overnight, they are actually the result of long exposure to the potential allergen before the dog shows signs of the allergy.

Flea allergies are the most common canine allergy, affecting about 40 percent of American dogs. Affected dogs have a reaction to a protein in the flea's saliva that results in a potentially severe allergic reaction. It can be provoked by a single flea bite once the dog's immune system has been exposed to flea saliva frequently enough to treat it as an allergen that requires a defensive response.

Atopic allergies affect about 15 percent of American dogs. In these allergies, a dog inhales something, such as pollen, mold or house dust, that sets off an allergic reaction in his body. Here again, the dog must be consistently exposed to the potential allergen before his immune system triggers an allergic response.

Signs of Canine Seasonal Allergies

Most dogs with seasonal allergies begin showing clinical signs when they are between 1 and 3 years of age. For atopic allergies, these can include sneezing, nasal discharge and eye irritation, while dogs with flea allergies can become extremely itchy on their rear ends and around their tails. They can also develop scabs on their skin or suffer from hair loss. Fleas or flea dirt (pepperlike specks of flea waste) may also be seen on the dog's skin. Keep in mind, however, that atopic dogs can also develop skin problems as part of their allergies.

Diagnosing Canine Seasonal Allergies

If you suspect your dog has seasonal allergies, contact your veterinarian's office for an appointment. Blood and skin tests can help your vet determine the cause of your dog's allergies and create a treatment plan to help him feel better.

Seasonal Allergy Treatments for Your Dog

Helping resolve your dog's seasonal allergies requires treating both the dog and your home to eliminate as many potential allergens as possible.

Treating your dog may involve giving him oral medications, bathing him with special shampoos or spraying him with medicated topical treatments to help relieve his itchy skin. He may need to be wiped down after he spends time outdoors to remove pollens and other potential allergens from his coat, and you may also need to apply flea treatments to help eliminate his fleas.

Treating your home involves regular vacuuming and cleaning to remove dust mites or other indoor allergens. Thoroughly vacuum draperies, mini-blinds and upholstered furniture to remove flea eggs, dust and other potential allergens.

You may choose to use high efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filters on your vacuum cleaner to remove more potential allergens. You may also find your dog's allergic signs are reduced if you use a HEPA air cleaner in the room in which he spends most of his time, or you may opt to use a HEPA filter in your home's climate control system.