This post is part 1 of a 3-part series to help you keep your dog happy and healthy this spring.
Spring is a fantastic time of year to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine, but it's not so great for those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies.
Allergies are at their peak during spring, causing symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose in people who react to allergens like pollen and grass in the environment.
But it's not just people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Dogs can get them too –but the symptoms are often a little different.
In this post we'll take a look at some of the most common symptoms of seasonal allergies in dogs. We'll also give you some tips for minimizing your dog's uncomfortable allergy symptoms.
Symptoms of Seasonal Pet Allergies
As we mentioned earlier, the symptoms of seasonal allergies in dogs are usually different to those in people. Let's take a look at some of the most common.
Itchiness and Skin Irritation
If your dog has itchy skin at this time of year there's a good chance he's suffering from seasonal allergies. Dogs will often scratch and bite the irritated area in an effort to relieve the itching. This can cause the skin to become red, painful, and inflamed.
If your dog scratches his skin excessively, hot spots can develop. These are moist, red patches of irritated skin that are usually tender and painful to the touch. Hot spots may also bleed, worsen, and become infected if left untreated.
Obsessive Paw Licking
Dogs will lick their paws for a variety of reasons including grooming, boredom, and dry skin. But if paw licking becomes obsessive during the warmer months, it could be a symptom of seasonal allergies.
Allergens can become stuck to your dog's paws causing itching and irritation. Many dogs will lick their paws obsessively to try and soothe the affected area.
Ear infections can be caused by allergens in the environment, and they're a common problem for dogs with seasonal allergies. Symptoms include redness and inflammation in and around the ear. You may also notice head shaking, excessive scratching, and a foul odor from the ears.
Preventing and Treating Seasonal Allergies
In the first part of this post we outlined some of the most common symptoms of seasonal allergies in dogs. But what can you do to prevent them, and how can you relieve your dog's symptoms?
Allergens are all around us in the environment at this time of year, so you'll need to take extra care to minimize your dog's exposure to them.
Minimize Allergens in the Home
Start by asking family members and guests to remove their shoes before entering your home. Allergens can stick to the bottom of shoes and can easily be tracked inside the house.
Removing shoes before entering the house will prevent allergens from being transferred to floors and furniture where your pet can come into contact with them.
It's also important to keep your home as allergen-free as possible by regularly vacuuming and cleaning floors, carpets, furnishings, and pet bedding. This will prevent allergens from building up inside your house.
Bathe Your Dog Regularly
Regular bathing and foot soaks are also a good way to eliminate allergens and irritants on your dog's skin and coat.
Bathing once a week may be necessary if your dog regularly comes into contact with allergens. Foot soaks can be given every time your dog returns from a walk outside.
Visit Your Veterinarian
Finally, if you suspect your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies it's always worth visiting your veterinarian for a checkup.
As well as seasonal allergies, dogs can become allergic to other things such as flea bites and food ingredients. Your veterinarian can identify the underlying cause of your dog's allergy symptoms and decide on an appropriate course of treatment.
That's it for today's post. Check back next week for the second post in this series, How to Naturally Protect Your Dog Against Fleas and Ticks, to learn how to beat stubborn springtime pests.