Spring, summer and fall are beautiful seasons, but they're also the time of the year when pesky seasonal allergies are likely to strike both humans and canines. However, dog owners can do a few things to ease their pup's allergy symptoms.
Are You Sure It's Seasonal?
Pollen, mold, mildew and dust mites are allergens that cause seasonal allergies in humans as well as dogs. Like humans, dogs may show symptoms like sneezing, itching and runny nose and eyes -- but more common canine symptoms include dermatitis, or skin issues, like itchy skin, hair loss or rashes. Unlike food allergies, seasonal allergies only happen certain times throughout the year, so keep track of when your dog experiences them to see if a seasonal pattern emerges.
One way to prevent seasonal dog allergies is to monitor the pollen count. When the count is high, keep your dog inside except for quick potty jaunts. You can find daily pollen counts on a variety of online weather websites, and it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the months your area is experiences high pollen and dust counts, like spring and autumn.
A Clean House
Keep a clean house to help reduce pesky allergens. As your dog enters the house, use baby wipes or a wet towel to clean off his paws to eliminate tracking pollen and other allergens into your living area. As prevention, you should also remove your shoes, which can track in allergens. In addition, vacuum and dust your house regularly, including changing the dog's bedding, to reduce dust mites.
A Clean Dog
Regular grooming and baths also helps to prevent your dog from experiencing seasonal allergies. Baths using soothing ingredients like oatmeal or aloe vera not only give relief to an itchy dog, but they also wash away the offending allergens from the coat and skin. However, don't over-do the baths, and too many can cause your dog's skin to dry out--which then increases itching. Make sure to look for shampoos for sensitive skin.
Giving your dog supplements can have a beneficial impact on seasonal allergies. According to Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, giving your pup allergy-fighting supplements like quercetin, a bioflavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, can prevent histamine (which causes the allergic response) from being produced. She also recommends the enzymes bromelain and papain to increase the absorption of quercetin, omega-3 fatty acids to decrease inflammation, and coconut oil to decrease the production of yeast. Ask your vet whether any of these supplements would be beneficial in your dog's particular case.
By Debra Levy
About the Author
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.