Summer is almost over, and you may start to notice that your dog is sneezing more frequently than usual. Dogs may experience seasonal allergies.
Spring and fall are the most allergy-triggering seasons for canines. The primary cause of seasonal allergies in dogs is inhalant exposure, which dogs can get outdoors.
Autumn is the time of year when plants start to wither and dry up, and the temperature becomes cooler. This season is quite windy, which may increase the incidence of pollen and allergen dispersion that can irritate the eyes, nose and skin of both animals and humans. Some dog breeds like retrievers, setters and terriers are prone to allergies predominantly by inhalant irritants such as pollen.
Signs of allergies in dogs
Some of the significant and telltale symptoms of allergies in dogs are watery red itchy eyes, runny and stuffy nose, coughing, sneezing, pruritis (constant scratching), chewing, licking and hair loss due to welts and itching.
Most dogs have pollen allergies, which are manifested by itchiness especially in the paw or leg area. You will notice your pet chewing its paws or scratching all over. This is dangerous, because scratching can prompt infected welts, soreness, hair loss and stained furs. Furthermore, dogs must not be left to scratch for too long; else, it will be difficult to treat the itching.
Dog allergy management and prevention
Allergies have no cure but they can be managed and treated to make them bearable for both dog and master. While dogs with a strong immune system will easily adapt to different seasons, those who are not resilient and cannot acclimatize with these changes will likely be susceptible to allergens. It is the duty of the pet owners to take matters into their hands and prevent dog allergies before they happen.
Although it sounds superficial and external, allergies may become more serious over time, even to the point of hurting the immune system. In the event that this happens, your pets will be more prone to illnesses and disorders. They can easily be afflicted with cancer, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease and the like. Even a simple allergen can get out of hand with regards to the health of your pet if not treated immediately.
In order to protect your dogs from the curse of fall allergies, you need to follow these tips:
- Have your dog undergo skin testing to determine the cause of the allergy. Blood testing is another smart option.
- If your dogs belong to allergy-prone breeds or exhibit signs of seasonal allergies, it would be best to have them stay inside the house with closed windows and doors during the late mornings when pollen is at its peak. This should prevent them from catching the allergen inhalants. Air conditioning may also be used when it gets warm inside. In addition, air filtration must be monitored on a regular basis.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions on the frequency of cleaning and changing the filters for both cooling and heating systems.
- Keep your house clean, and this includes vacuuming rugs and furnishings. In addition, wash your beddings both for dogs and humans at least once a week.
- For red itchy eyes, an eye drop may be applied to soothe the itching. You will notice that the eyes of a dog with allergy will be teary. This is because your dog’s immune system is trying to flush the allergens out of the body.
- Cut the grass short and keep leaves raked often to minimize the spread of inhalant allergens.
- Bathing your pets more than the regular frequency can help remove the irritants from their coat and skin. Likewise, bathing will eliminate other bacteria, pet dander, dead skin and fleas. You can bathe your dog between once a week and once a month.
- Application of eye and ear drops, as well as administering treatments and medications to ease the condition brought by allergy can solve your dog’s dilemma. Of course, you need to consult your veterinarian to determine the exact medical needs of your pet.
- Act on the itching immediately. Leaving your pet to scratch for some time may result to difficulty in treating the condition.
- Fall months spell cooler temperature. If your dog likes to stay outdoors, make sure to bundle it up. It would be best if you provide your dog with a warm and comfortable place to sleep, in order to avoid getting hypothermia.
- Allergy issues – either brought about by inhalant allergies, flea allergy or food allergies – require long treatment, which can be quite costly. Be sure to commit yourself physically and financially to ensure that proper treatment is given to your pet. Prolonged delay has a negative impact on its immune system health.
- Immediately submit your pet to the veterinarian for consultation on its condition. Religiously follow whatever recommendations the pet doctor has.
- Watch your dog’s weight. Obesity in itself is a health issue that needs to be addressed. Being overweight can cause more stress to all the body systems, and make the inflammation caused by allergens much more severe.
- Feed your pet with freshly prepared meals free of artificial colors and flavors. Make sure that the food is rich in protein, fat, fiber, grain, vitamins and minerals.
- Cleaning your surroundings on a regular basis will eliminate the need to use topical and oral anti-parasite medications for ticks and fleas.
- Having an air purifier in the house can do wonders as it helps relieve nasal irritations.
Following the tips above can lead to a happier dog and a much happier dog owner. Welcome the fall season with the sound of cooing birds and not with the annoying scratching of your dog. Remember that part of responsible dog ownership is taking care of your pet’s welfare.
Do not let your dog’s allergies deter the both of you from having fun outside. It is not too late to go leaf-pile diving or enjoying hay rides for as long as you know how to combat the symptoms of its allergies. Your dog will always need your help and, above all, your love. Enjoy the rest of the fall season!