How Pollen Allergies Affect You And Your Dog
As humans start to embrace the first signs of spring, a few of us start to sniffle and sneeze, but do our four-four legged friends get hay fever too? The simple answer is yes. Anyone with an allergy problem will tell you that pollen is their worst enemy. Pollen count rises as the temperature increases, making months like April a dreaded season of torture for some. Pollen and dust granules are inhaled by dogs just as they are by dog owners, but instead of producing sinus congestion and a sore throat, they cause the skin to itch, the hair to fall out, and, with prolonged scratching, the eruption of pustules that often become infected. A flea or two can add to the misery, and if the dog is allergic to something in his diet as well, watch out. Allergies can lead to stomach and intestinal problems, including vomiting and diarrhea, and are often accompanied by ear infections.
Allergens are substances in the environment that cause the immune system to react as if invaded by a foreign body. If all dogs reacted to these substances, they would not be allergens, they would be toxins.
Development Of Hay Fever In Dogs
Hay fever is a seasonal allergy in both dogs and people, causing the greatest problems during the summer and early fall. When you start to see pollen counts climbing on your local newscast or you start to feel hay fever symptoms yourself, you can expect to your dog to begin experiencing symptoms himself. As soon as pollen count rises in your area, your dog will show symptoms almost instantly if he suffers from hay fever. Once your area experiences its first hard winter frost, the hay fever symptoms should go for both you and your dog.
Symptoms Of Hay Fever In Dogs
As well as the skin problems listed above, dogs with hay fever may also have watery eyes, runny noses and they may sneeze, but these symptoms are less common in dogs although they are probably more familiar to human hay fever sufferers than the skin problems previously discussed. If you notice something up with your furry friend that you often notice with people who suffer from hay fever, then it’s likely that your pup has the same problem.
Dogs with hay fever are often very itchy all over their bodies. The itching is followed by a rash that breaks out on the dog’s face and feet. Over time, the hair over the dog’s eyes and on his feet may actually begin to thin because he’s scratched so much or chewed his feet so often. These symptoms indicate an atopic allergy or one that is caused by an inhaled allergen that causes skin, rather than respiratory, problems.
How to Help a Dog with Hay Fever
Think about someone that you know who suffers from hay fever – they’re often in a bit of a mess and they don’t act themselves, right? You’ll probably be wanting to help them out as much as you can, so please think the same way when it comes to your pup!
A variety of methods can be used to help your dog feel better when his hay fever flares up. Firstly, if you have a dog that likes to mess about in flowerbeds or roll in the grass like a Disney princess, consider keeping them on a leash as pollen can cling to their fur and cause irritation.
Pet owners can also take precaution by administering oral or topical medications as recommended by your veterinarian practitioner. Try bathing your dog frequently in cool water – not too cold, though, it’s not nice feeling like you’re about to freeze! Clipping your dog’s coat if he has long hair is also another great idea which we recommend. Keep your dog indoors on days when pollen counts are high will help him feel better. Check out pollen.com to see the National Allergy Forecast in your area. Running the air conditioner overnight to filter pollen out of your home environment is another fantastic way of making your dog feel better. Your dog will really appreciate if you rinse his feet in cool salty water – make sure that you rinse his feet completely before letting your dog out of the tub because he could develop diarrhea if he licks his paws when they have salt on them. Not to sound all spa guru, but one remedy we sometimes recommend is using oatmeal baths or other skin-soothing methods on your dog’s irritated skin. Washing your dog’s bedding weekly with hot water and drying them completely before returning them to your dog.
If none of these treatments prove effective at controlling your dog’s hay fever, he may be a candidate for allergy shots. Not nice for you as an owner, we know, but he will appreciate it more than you’d think!
Also, always remember that before giving any form of medication to your pets, it is advisable to consult your vet or carefully read the packaging. We’re not veterinarian experts, and this is just our advice!