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Ways to Help Your Dog Deal with Seasonal Allergies

For some, seasonal allergies can be a huge problem. Whether you’re affected by a runny nose, itchy eyes, or endless sneezing, it can be a tough time of year. 

 

Just like us, some dogs can also suffer from the effects of seasonal allergies. Besides the chemicals found in household cleaning products, cigarette smoke, and certain perfumes, dogs can also be allergic to natural, seasonal substances such as plant and tree pollen, mould spores, dust, feathers, and even fleas! 

 

A dog’s allergy symptoms are very much like those experienced by humans. The immune system overreacts to offending substances, leading to itchiness and irritation. Your dog may lick or scratch themselves, develop irritated eyes, or sneeze repeatedly. Some dogs experience itchy, swollen skin, while others suffer from diarrhoea and vomiting.  


Here are a few things you can do to help control any discomfort your dog may be dealing with due to seasonal allergies and reduce the risk of more serious problems:  

 

Change your daily walk routine 

If possible, avoid walking your dog in the early morning or late afternoon, when pollen levels are typically the highest. Steer clear of fields and parks where offending plants are common and consider an indoor play session instead (see a previous blog). 

 

Once you return home, ensure to wipe your dog’s body and paws with a moist cloth or a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free grooming wipe; these can be purchased from your local pet store. This will remove excess pollen and other allergens from your dog’s fur and skin without the hassle of a bath. Pay special attention to the paws, as the sensitive skin here is often affected by allergens.  

 

Some dog parents soak their dog’s paws in apple cider vinegar to remove pollen and other substances. If you want to try this method, mix 2 parts water with 1 part apple cider vinegar. Another option is to put boots on your dog’s paws before going outside to prevent them from stepping in irritants and then bringing them back into your house.  

 

Clear the air  

Inside your home, if you have air conditioning or even a dehumidifier, these will really help remove moisture from the air inside the home, making it harder for mould to grow in your home. Minimise the amount of time your dog spends in damp environments, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, or cellars, as these places are more susceptible to mould growth. Vacuum at least once a week and remember to clean curtains and rugs that may have picked up dust and pollen.   

 

Protect your dog from garden or outside dangers. If you live the good life and grow vegetables in your garden or outside areas, then be careful, as vegetables like onions, garlic, tomatoes, and chives are poisonous to dogs and should be fenced off in a way that prevents your furry friend from getting into them!  

 

Don’t sleep on it   

The surfaces your dog encounters at bedtime can become covered in allergens, so make sure they are kept clean by being washed in hot water weekly. Consider putting towels or blankets on top of all the beds—yours and theirs—and any chairs to make this task easier and keep offending substances away from the surface underneath. Also, make sure any soft toys your dog plays with get washed regularly. This is a great routine all year round, anyway.  

   

Bathtime   

Prevent dry, itchy skin by giving your dog a bath more often during the most troublesome times of the year. Wash their fur with a gentle, hypoallergenic anti-itch shampoo that contains a soothing ingredient such as oatmeal, aloe, or evening primrose oil. Some dog owners give their pets a 10-minute soak in a bath mixed with a gentle moisturising oil.  

Some cannot, but if you can, maybe treat them to a doggie spa!  

   

Supplement your dog’s diet   

Try giving your dog a natural dietary supplement such as fish oil or a fatty acid such as omega-3 oil to reduce itchiness and improve overall skin health. Coconut oil has also been shown to suppress some allergic reactions while contributing to healthier skin.

Finally, make sure your dog’s drinking water and bowl are kept clean and free of any contaminants.  

   

Further treatments   

If your dog won’t stop licking, scratching, and chewing and has red and/or irritated skin or hair loss, make sure to make an appointment with your vet.  

 

Depending on the seriousness of the problem, a professional can provide more aggressive treatments such as antihistamines, steroids, or even allergy shots; this is known as immunotherapy.  

 

As always, be careful, and don’t forget to have lots of fun. 

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