Seasonal Dog Allergies

Seasonal dog allergies, also known as atopy is a common problem in canines during the pollen seasons. This problem occurs due to different allergens that are present in the air and are inhaled by the dog. The allergies will be signaled by excessive scratching and rashes and the condition may be controlled through medication or a change in diet.

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies

A dog with allergies will present the following symptoms:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Pawing the face or eyes
  • Rubbing the face on the wall, floor or furniture
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Hair loss, bald patches
  • Severe skin lesions caused by self mutilation that may get infected
  • Chronic ear infections, as the ear produces an excessive amount of wax and this may facilitate the overgrowth of yeast cells or other bacteria
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Skin rashes
  • Irritated feet
  • Dry, crusty skin or, in other cases, oily skin

These symptoms may occur also as a response to other allergens, but they clearly indicate that the dog is allergic to something.

Causes of Atopy

Atopy or seasonal allergies may be caused by numerous particles that are present in the air. The main causes of atopy are pollen grains.

These allergens may be inhaled or they may penetrate the skin and cause negative reactions.

The immune system of the dog produces a protein known as IgE which causes the release of histamines.

Some dogs are genetically predisposed to develop allergies.

Diagnosing Allergies

The dog must be exposed for a while to the allergen before he starts showing some symptoms.

Typically, seasonal allergies occur when the dog is between the ages of 1 and 3. However, it may also happen that the dog starts being allergic when he is 6 or 8. In time, the dog may also develop allergies to other factors.

It is important to notice some symptoms and take the dog for some tests. A blood test may confirm if the dog has seasonal allergies. The ELISA test is the most commonly used test in pets to diagnose allergies. Intradermal testing is also used to diagnose allergies.

The allergen should be isolated and this may be done through elimination and judging by the main symptoms of the dog.

Treating Seasonal Dog Allergies

The exact allergen must be determined and the dog’s exposure must be reduced as much as possible. You can keep the dog off fields during pollen seasons and keep the grass short. You may also clean the dog’s paws after he’s been outside.

Topical ointments are also available to relive itchiness and the typical symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Regular bathing or cleaning of the dog’s skin may also reduce his allergic reactions.

A change in diet can reduce the allergies by strengthening the dog’s immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids can boost the canine immune system.

Medication therapy is also possible: antihistamines and steroids can be administered during the seasons when the dog experiences the allergies.

Immunization therapy may also reduce the dog’s allergic reactions; the allergen is injected in small amounts in the dog’s system and after a few shots, he will start building immunity to the allergens.