People and dogs alike look forward to Springtime for the warmer temperatures, sunny skies, and newly-bloomed flowers. Like humans, however, dogs can experience seasonal allergies as the weather gets warmer. Look for these Top 9 Signs of Spring Allergies in Your Dog to see if your pooch is one of approximately 10% of dogs that react to Springtime allergens.
9. Booty Scooting
Humans experiencing a histamine, or allergic, reaction mostly respond with wheezing, watery eyes, or hives. For dogs, however, a histamine reaction can manifest in bothersome anal itching. To relieve this itch, dogs will scoot their bottoms across the carpet or grass. Of course, booty scooting can be related to other issues, like worms or anal gland problems. If you observe your dog scooting, then you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian. The vet many determine that the scooting is, indeed, a histamine reaction and you can discuss giving your dog an antihistamine, like Benadryl. You should never give your dog medication, even over-the-counter medication, without first contacting your veterinarian.
8. Fur Loss
Dogs suffering from Springtime allergies can sometimes experience fur loss or excessive shedding. That’s because allergens can cause itching, dryness, and skin irritations. Your poor, tormented pooch will rub or itch the skin, leading to patchy fur loss. Your veterinarian can recommend a medicated ointment that will alleviate the dryness and itching to give your dog some relief. Avoid putting your own ointments or lotions on your dog. Human skin is quite different than dog skin. Also, remember that dogs will lick at medications that have been applied to their bodies. Lotions made for humans can be toxic when ingested by a dog.
7. Ear infections
Certain dog breeds with floppy ears—labs, hounds, and spaniels, for example—are more prone to ear infections than Dobermans, bulldogs, and terriers, and other breeds with upright ears. Ear infections are sometimes related to Springtime allergies. Signs of an ear infection include vigorous head shaking, pawing at the ears, and red, inflamed ears. Dog ears are delicate, intricate organs. Never try to clean your dog’s ears with a cotton swab or wash cloth. If you suspect that your dog has an ear infection, then get him an appointment with your veterinarian. He or she may prescribe a medicated ear drop to help heal the ear infection. Be patient. It can sometimes take several weeks for an allergy-related ear infection to clear up.
Fleas…the arch nemesis of the dog. This annoying parasite is irritating to all dogs. For a small percent of dogs, however, normal flea bites are even more vexing. These dogs have a flea allergy. An allergy to fleas causes severe itching, welts, and lesions, most often on the backside of the dog. An even smaller percentage of dogs have a hypersensitivity to flea bites that can lead to neurological, behavioral, and personality changes. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose a flea allergy by looking for signs of fleas and observing the symptoms. The key to managing flea allergies in dogs is to prevent the animal from getting bit by fleas in the first place. Preventative measures, such as oral and topical flea medications, may be recommended. Your vet may also prescribe an ointment to heal sores and lesions from the flee allergies.
5. Licking Paws
Obsessive paw licking in a dog can mean a sign of a Springtime allergy. When your dog goes outside, it is his paws that come in contact with the new grass, weeds, and fungi of Spring. These allergens can create itching or discomfort on the paws as histamines are released by the dog’s immune system to combat the allergens.
4. Face Rubbing
Dogs that rub their faces on furniture or carpet, or paw at their snouts, could be experiencing itching from Springtime allergies. The histamine that is released from the dog’s body to combat allergens causes both itchy skin and itchy nasal cavities. When your dog is rubbing his nose, it is probably because he is trying to relieve the itch. Your veterinarian may prescribe an oral antihistamine to clear this up.
3. Respiratory Issues
Pollen, dust, and mold that can be prevalent in the Spring can lead to respiratory problems in dogs. Dogs with allergies can have the same sneezing, coughing, and wheezing that human allergy sufferers experience, especially in the Spring. Coughing and sneezing are the dog’s natural means of expelling the allergens from the nose and throat. Just be sure to stay clear. Unlike (most) humans, dogs don’t have the social awareness to turn away and sneeze into their elbows. If you are in the line of fire, then you may get hit with a wet, disgusting dog sneeze.
Because most Springtime allergies in dogs present in the form of skin irritation, it is not uncommon to see an angry-looking rash on your dog’s body. The rash itself could be the skin’s reaction to the allergen, or it could be a secondary condition caused by the scratching and biting that your dog does when he tries to sooth the itching. Keep the skin around the rash clean and dry. You may want to have your dog seen by the vet if the skin is broken or the rash is spreading. You don’t want an infection to set in. Your vet will try to determine the cause of the rash so he or she can determine the best course of action for relieving it.
Itching due to Springtime allergies can torment a dog. He will do almost anything to ease the irritation, including biting at his own skin and excessively scratching himself. If you see that your dog seems rather itchy, then you need to investigate why. Most likely, a Springtime allergy is the culprit. Although it may be tempting to try to treat the itch yourself with doggie shampoos or flea powder, the best thing you can do is seek professional help. Your trusted veterinarian may be able to determine the cause of the allergen so you can try to avoid it. Your vet may suggest using an over-the-counter hot spot spray to sooth itch spots. He or she can also prescribe oral or topical medicine that can control the itching and offer other suggestions for managing your dog’s Springtime allergies.
Seasonal allergies are not uncommon in dogs. Just like their human owners, pollen from plants and trees can wreak havoc on dogs’ immune systems, triggering the production of histamines that can cause itching, sneezing, and more. Take back the Spring by watching for these Top 9 Signs of Spring Allergies in Your Dog and working with your veterinarian to manage your dog’s allergies. Once the allergies are under control, your dog will be happy to smell the Springtime flowers again.