Humans are not the only species that go “achoo!” when springtime comes. Sometimes we get too busy unclogging our noses and scratching ourselves all over that we fail to see our four-legged best friends exhibiting the same symptoms. Dog owners are advised to pay special attention to their pets during pollen season so they can provide the proper allergy relief.
The telltale signs that a dog is plagued with skin allergies are excessive scratching, licking, hair loss, and redness or hot spots. The great itch can be from pollen, dust mites, and fleas. Veterinarian Robert O. Schick of the Georgia Veterinary Specialists suggests removing pollen residue from a dog’s paws using a cool towel and giving the dog a cool water bath every week. It is best to wash the dog using shampoos and soaps that are specially formulated to kill fleas and ticks.
Homeowners can also reduce dust by vacuuming not only the carpets but their dog’s favorite nooks as well, such as under the bed. Doggie beds should also be washed with a dye and perfume-free detergent regularly. Freezing plush toys is another way to get rid of dust mites.
When a dog starts to sneeze, wheeze, and cough, it may be allergic to dust, mold, and pollen—just like you. And also like humans, the best solution is to avoid exposure to these, but unlike humans, dogs do need to go out to do their “business,” and furthermore, dogs do like to burrow in the tiniest spaces where these contaminants abound.
Pet owners should keep their homes as clean and dust-free as possible to relieve their dog’s allergy symptoms. They can also invest in a good air purifier to lessen the allergens in the air. Pet owners should not give their dogs the same medication they are taking, because not all over-the-counter drugs are safe for pet use.
According to veterinarian Andrea Dunnings of the East Atlanta Animal Clinic, many dog owners give their pets Benadryl as allergy relief, and notice that itching is reduced. However, this is more due to the antihistamine side effect of drowsiness instead of relieving symptoms. When giving a dog any kind of medication through ingestion or topical application, call the vet clinic first.
When you have cleaned your house from top to bottom but your dog’s symptoms persist, visiting the vet is your best bet. An allergy test can be conducted to help the vet determine the cause of the dog’s symptoms so that they can advise a proper course of action, which can include a one-time vaccine, a series of allergy shots, or even a new diet. Whichever allergy relief you and your vet come up with, your dog is sure to thank you for it.