Health Alert: Does Your Pet Have Seasonal Allergies?

April 21st, 2009 by Dan

I’m feeling it again. My throat is congested, my eyes sometimes water and I sneeze. I sneeze at the sight of the beautiful flowers blooming all around me. It’s Spring again and my allergies are back with full force. Seasonal allergies aren’t just limited to humans, many dogs suffer from them as well.

Boston Scratching

Photo by pyongbricole

Symptoms of Canine Seasonal Allergies:

Hair loss
Increased itching
Redness of the skin (can be local or all over the body)
Excessive discharge from the eyes
Ear Infections
Swelling post exposure

Seasonal allergies are commonly caused by inhaled allergens (pollens, grasses, mildews, dust mites) and from seasonal circumstances – warm weather leads to fleas. Flea Dermatitis is a very frequent cause of warm weather itching!

What exactly IS an allergy?
When an allergen is inhaled (or your animal comes in contact with it) it triggers an overly responsive reaction from the immune system that manifests as what most of us recognize as common allergy symptoms (itching, sneezing, sniffling, etc). However, unaddressed allergies can wreak havoc on a dog’s entire immune system.

So what can you do about your itchy pooch besides keep him in a bubble until winter arrives? Here are a few tips:

* Try To Avoid Allergens That Cause Problems
Yes, I know this sounds very difficult, but if you are one of the lucky individuals who can narrow down their dog’s itching issues to a certain location, you may be able to isolate their allergens. If they are fine romping in their own yard, but they get itchy if you take them to play at the baseball field, start to look around at what grows there.

* Go Green With Lawn Care
Treating your lawn with chemicals isn’t good for the environment and it isn’t good for your dog! Remember that your pooch walks in, lies in and probably occasionally eats your grass. Many herbicides are toxic and can cause allergic skin reactions.

Yorkie Rolling In Grass

Photo by angelbonestilts

* The Steroid Option
Prednisone is the most commonly prescribed corticosteroid by Veterinarians. It works by lessening the body’s sensitivity to the allergens (by suppressing the immune system) and owners see an improvement in itching and other symptoms right away. However this drug has a multitude of downsides as well. Prednisone does nothing to actually cure or treat the allergy, only cover up the symptoms and it comes with an extensive list of side effects if used for long periods of time including kidney failure, liver disease and autoimmune issues. Discuss the options and safety issues with your Vet if you have concerns.

* Improve His Diet
A dog who suffers from seasonal allergies will benefit from a general improvement in his diet. The less “junk” (meat byproducts, difficult to digest grains, soy, etc) in the food, the less his body will be working to rid itself of that, leading to a healthier pooch overall! You may be surprised to find that your dog’s seasonal allergies improve (or disappear!) with a change of his diet – food allergies are actually the underlying cause of countless canine health issues. Remember to keep his treats high-quality too!

Rolling Bully

Photo by catslye

* Supplement With EFA’s
EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) are vital for the health of your dog’s skin and coat. If skin issues are part of your dog’s seasonal allergy symptoms, find a good EFA supplement that contains both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. These can help with everything from itching to flaking.

* Soothe Naturally
If you’re looking for a topical spray to help cool off your pup’s problem areas, check out FidoDerm, an all natural herbal spray for skin irritations.

One Response to “Health Alert: Does Your Pet Have Seasonal Allergies?”

  1. Mike Edwards Says:

    If you know your dog has allergies then a really great solution is a liquid ioniser. It clears the air silently with a stream of liquidions that reach every corner of the room and iff you have a fragrance too it will take away the dogs wiffs

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