I know exactly how you feel. It is that time of the year when you see changes in your fur baby. Unfortunately, these changes are not exactly pleasant. The changes are obvious in the skin as well as in the behavior of your much-loved pooch. These changes are brought about by seasonal allergies.
What is dogs with Seasonal Allergies all about?
An allergy is a situation in which certain substances such as pollen are hypersensitive. As a result, your fur baby will manifest conditions such as localized itching and runny nose. Dogs are not immune to allergies, just like humans. During the spring season, allergies generally happen to them also like humans.
This is the time when pollen is abundant in the air as flowers begin to bloom; thus, it is referred to as seasonal allergies.
However, seasonal allergies are also prevalent during the season of fall. This is because some weeds tend to pollinate when the weather begins to get cold. Examples of weeds that cause allergic reactions are plantain and ragweed. Besides, molds can also cause seasonal allergies.
How do they get afflicted? Through inhalation and direct contact with allergens.
What are the physical manifestations?
Most often than not, allergies in dogs manifest in the skin, which is referred to as allergic dermatitis. Paw chewing is one of the behaviors that they do to alleviate itchiness. Some may also rub themselves against the wall or rub their faces in the upholstery or carpet to relieve itching.
As the itching continues, you will notice that they begin to lick certain parts of their bodies heavily; the skin gets swollen, reddish, and in some severe cases, may also lead to bleeding. Loss of hair may also occur as a result of too much scratching.
If the seasonal allergies of your fur baby have worsened, it could even lead to a condition called hot spots. Veterinarians call this as moist dermatitis condition. Constant licking makes the skin moist, which is a very favorable environment for bacteria to grow and multiply.
There are other physical manifestations of seasonal allergies that you can watch out for:
- You can take a look at your dog’s ears and see if it is reddish, then it could be a sign of seasonal allergies. Apart from its reddish color, you may also notice an unpleasant smell caused by a bacterial infection.
- Some may also have some respiratory issues. It is not uncommon to see them suffer from runny nose and wheezing. Just like humans, your fur baby’s allergic reactions to seasonal allergens can also lead to more serious illnesses such as bronchitis.
- If you notice that the skin gets unusually reddish which include the anus and paws, then you might as well consider the possibility that your dog suffers from seasonal allergies.
- Shedding. This can be frustrating for many dog owners. Just like you, a lot of dog owners take extra effort to make the coats look healthy and shiny. Investing in a dog grooming kit is not very cheap. Also, you invest time in grooming. But once seasonal allergies strike, the coat slowly thins out and makes the dogs look, less, well “cutesy.” You end up starting all over again to bring back the lost dazzle of your fur baby’s coat.
What are the behavioral manifestations?
You have to understand that dogs who suffer from seasonal allergies may undergo some behavioral changes. Do not be frustrated and never-give-up on them. They are going through some discomforts which can make them aggressive. Here are a few examples of changes in behavior:
- Your fur baby is experiencing some pain as a result of increased scratching, and at times, he or she may react unfavorably to you. Perhaps, patting is something your fur baby does not appreciate at this time. Irritability and aggressiveness can be results of seasonal allergies.
- Your dog may become lethargic. If he or she used to love going outdoor, you might notice the loss of interest in it or in some activities that both of you used to do happily. This is because seasonal allergies can lower their immune system and make them feel weak.
- Loss of appetite is another manifestation.
What fur parents can do to help fur baby with Seasonal Allergies:
I know how much you love your fur baby, and you are very much affected seeing it suffer from seasonal allergies. But no worries, there are many steps that you can do to cope with this condition. Listed below are the stuff that you can undertake to make life easier for your pooch:
- If you love walking around, it is best to do it between late in the morning and early afternoon. During these times of the day, the level of pollen is not at its highest. As much as possible, go to places where there are fewer plants and grasses.
It is the best to invest in hypoallergenic doggie wipes if you have the resources. However, an ordinary moistened face towel can do the job. Make sure you wipe-off the paws, nose, and coat very well to remove the allergens. If you wish, you can also dilute one part of apple cider vinegar and two parts of water. Soak the paws for few minutes to get rid off allergens.
Another option is to let them wear those cute little booties.
- By cleaning the air inside your home, you lessen the severity of seasonal allergies. Clean the filters of your air-conditioning units often. And if you have a dehumidifier machine, it will greatly reduce the growth of molds and mildew. Also, regular vacuuming will do a huge work in helping your fur baby cope with seasonal allergies.
- It is time to get those sleeping mats and doggie toys clean and sanitized. Wash with warm water every week to get rid of those allergens.
- Give your baby a nice bath! Not only will it make your baby smell good, but it will also lessen the effects of seasonal allergies. Go for the hypoallergenic soap or shampoo. The milder it is, the better. You may also want to soak her/him in a tub filled with water with few drops of mild oil or ground oats.
Got no time? Then I suggest that you visit your neighborhood doggie spa.
Medical treatment of seasonal allergies:
Those mentioned above are the home treatments that you can easily do to manage the condition of your fur baby. But do not skip a visit to the vet so you can make it much easier for your dog to get through this allergen-filled season.
- Ask your Vet about the ideal diet. During this time of the year, you may have to change the flavor of the food that you give slowly. There is anti-inflammatory dog food which is low in carbohydrates. You may want to consider single-source protein dry food, too.
Choose also the ones with omega 6 and 3 fatty acids, which can decrease the effects of seasonal allergies. Another thing to look into is the probiotics or good bacteria, which decreases the amounts of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract.
Your Vet can help you decipher the ideal nutrition of your fur baby.
- There are prescription meds out there which are useful in reducing doggie itch. It could be oral or injectables. Ask your Vet about the right option for your dog. Like all types of meds, some may have harmful effects, and this is why it is important to know the correct dosage as well as the side effects.
The injectable is called immunotherapy shots, which is initially given at a smaller dosage and gradually increases over time. On the other hand, oral meds are usually steroids and aspirin.
A topical ointment might also be given, depending on the treatment plan of the Vet.
Since ears are also affected, ear cleaning solutions can be prescribed for your dog to wash-off allergens. Ear-hair plucking is also done to take-out the accumulated allergens and to prevent bacterial infection.
Supplements to ward-off the effects of seasonal allergies:
Upon the supervision of the Vet, you may also include some daily supplements to cure the symptoms. These are all-natural products which rarely have adverse reactions. But as a precautionary measure, nothing beats seeking expert’s advice.
Quercetin: This is a member of the flavonoids, which is a chemical present in plants proven to heal many ailments, including seasonal allergies. It is effective in the control of histamine, which is responsible for itching.
Papain and Bromelain: When taken along with quercetin, these two help in the quick absorption of quercetin in the body. Plus, these also inhibit the release of prostaglandin, which causes inflammation.
Coconut Oil: This oil is rich in saturated fat, which makes it one of the super foods that are available anywhere. This has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which help lessen allergic reactions.
Thyme: Yep, you heard it right! Thyme is not just good for whipping up dishes, but this herb is also beneficial for your dog’s seasonal allergies. Why? Because it has flavonoids which reduce redness and inflammation of the skin, especially in the paw areas. Simply make an infusion out of it and then apply in the itchy areas such as paws. Doesn’t have any side effects if licked by your fur baby.
Those are some of the options available for you to choose as to how you can help your fur baby cope with the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Always remember though that you need the guidance of your Vet regarding these helpful supplements for your fur baby. There is a corresponding dosage based on the age and weight of dogs.
As a parent to a fur baby, I know the frustration that comes with the season change. The health of your baby is affected. But a change in the environment is inevitable, and all you have to do is to adapt. Talk to your Vet and discuss options regarding diet and medications. You can also alter some of the usual activities you both love to do to reduce the symptoms. Additionally, there are natural remedies out there which are safe to use for as long as these are in guidance with the Vet.
Season change shouldn’t stop your fur baby from enjoying life. With proper care management, you two can go on and have an awesome adventure all year-round.