Have you noticed your dog licking, chewing its paws, or scratching itself more than usual? As much as these habits are normal, you should still observe them carefully as they might be signs of seasonal allergies in dogs. 

Dogs can develop allergies, too. But sadly, unlike us, our four-legged friends usually hide the pain and have no way of telling us about it. So as owners, we need to pay attention to anything out of the ordinary and act upon it quickly. But how to tell if our dog has an allergy? 

Read more to find out: 

What’s a Seasonal Allergy & When Is Allergy Season For Dogs? 

Allergy is a condition where the body sensitively reacts to substances from our everyday living

Generally, they’re not harmful to humans or dogs. But the immune system might be less tolerant to some of them. That’s when the body starts treating those substances as germs or foreign bodies and produces antibodies to fight against them. It considers them harmful. 

The word seasonal means the allergy happens during one or two seasons and not throughout the whole year. And, just like for us, those seasons for dogs are spring and autumn.  

Can Dogs Have Seasonal Allergies?

Experts on the subject believe that up to 20% of all dogs will develop allergies throughout their lifetime. They also say the typical time when your puppy shows the signs is between one and two years.  

Skin allergies are the most common, with environmental allergens being the top factor. The most affected areas are usually the ears and paws. While humans inhale the allergens, dogs mostly absorb them through their skin and paws. That’s why gnawing paws and scratching are the most common signs of dogs having allergies.

The Most Common Seasonal Dog Allergies

Now, what triggers seasonal allergies in dogs? Vets say these are the most common culprits: 

  • Pollen
  • Flea saliva
  • Fungi
  • Weeds
  • Molds
  • Dust

Let’s look at the symptoms to find out what you should pay attention to.

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies in Dogs to Look Out For

Unfortunately, the symptoms are difficult to identify. They’re very similar to everyday habits our dogs have, like scratching and licking. Also, our puppies usually hide their pain.

So it’s on us to watch out for any unusual behavior and consider it a possible red flag. The AKC and other respected experts mention the following symptoms: 

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Respiratory congestion
  • Itchy skin
  • Ear infection
  • Licking paws and anus
  • Inflammation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Usually, you’ll notice it first on the ears and paws, but sometimes allergies can also affect the toes, ankles, wrists, and eyes.

Does Your Dog Have a Seasonal or Food Allergy? Here’s How to Tell

Experts agree that defining the source of a dog allergic reaction is challenging because symptoms overlap. But one thing is certain — seasonal allergies are more frequent than food allergies.

Here are the main differences between the two types of allergies: 

  • Environmental allergies come and go depending on the season.
  • Food allergies can happen at any time and cause chronic gas, diarrhea, or vomiting. These symptoms aren’t very common with environmental allergies. 

If you still can’t tell which is which, a trip to the vet will solve your dilemma. 

Diagnosing Environmental Dog Allergies

So how to tell if your dog has seasonal allergies? 

Although rare, diagnosing food allergies is simpler. It goes by the elimination trial. Within a month, you stop giving your pet food that’s usually considered to cause allergies and observe if your dog’s condition is getting better.

In contrast, environmental allergies are harder to diagnose. The best way, and often the only one, is to take an allergy test for dogs. It’s done by conducting a skin or blood test. While you can take it with experienced and certified veterinarians, you can also purchase a kit and do it yourself at home. Once the results are in, your vet will develop a plan on how to treat the allergy.

Puppy scratching himself and biting fleas

Breeds at Risk

Although all dogs may get paw allergies, some breeds are at higher risk: 

  • Setters
  • Retrievers
  • Terriers
  • Bulldogs
  • Pugs

If you have one of these breeds, you should be extra alerted anytime you see watery eyes, scratching, or sneezing. Regular vet checkups can help you diagnose the allergy and come up with a treatment. 

How to Treat Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

Sadly, there’s no cure for allergies. But there are ways to ease the discomfort your dog experiences:

  • Medication: With mild seasonal allergies, over-the-counter remedies like antihistamines can help your dog. Oral prescription medications can solve the problem for some, but dogs with severe seasonal allergies might need an injection. 
  • Natural Remedies: You’d be surprised to learn that apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy that can help your dog. It can reduce redness and itchiness. Another recommended treatment for an allergic skin reaction in dogs is herbal remedies for skin issues. They’re very powerful and help ease the itchiness. Many vets and pet owners also acknowledge the benefits of tea tree, coconut, or fish oil
  • Supplements: Vets frequently recommend omega 3 and probiotic supplements for dogs with seasonal allergies. A very popular dog seasonal allergy relief is Bark&Spark Allergy Relief Dog Treats. They confirm it helps ease symptoms like paw licking, itching, chewing, scratching, irritation, rashes, and hot spots. 
  • Lotion & Sprays: Reportedly, dogs respond very well to baths with medicated shampoos that contain antihistamines or steroids. Consult your vet on this, as they can give you the best prescription for your dog’s breed. Also, many pet owners share that CBD oil for dogs with skin issues is another way to help your pet. When it comes to sprays, we recommend Pet MD Hydrocortisone Spray for Dogs. It immediately reduces redness, itchiness, and inflammation. 

Remember that not every approach will work for all dogs and seasonal allergies. So don’t give up on testing different products until you find out what helps your dog the most. As always, consult your vet about every step you’re taking to ensure it’s safe.

How to Help Your Dog — Our Best Tips

The best tips we can offer to help your dog and its seasonal allergies come from experts on the topic and include: 

  • Eliminate or reduce exposure to allergens: Frequent baths with dog shampoo formulated for inflamed or sensitive skin can help. Also, washing the paws thoroughly each time your dog comes inside is a routine that can work wonders.
  • Switch your daily walk: It’s not the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s an effective treatment for seasonal allergies in dogs. Change the timing of your outdoor activities. Early in the morning and later in the afternoon, the pollen levels are typically high, so you should avoid those hours and introduce another schedule. Also, don’t go to parks and green fields too much. 
  • Clean your home and your pet: By cleaning and vacuuming your home often, especially the spots that your dog uses frequently, you can help reduce allergy symptoms. 
  • Research your dog’s diet: Foods rich in carbohydrates can trigger and worsen inflammation, a very common symptom of seasonal allergies. 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, the number of dogs developing allergies is increasing. As a pet owner, you should be alarmed if your dog is scratching itself or sneezing more than usual, especially if you have a breed that’s prone to allergies. 

There are no permanent solutions for seasonal allergies in dogs. But you can still help your pet in many ways. For starters, it’s crucial to learn more about common dog allergies and diagnose the condition early. If you notice any of the symptoms above, a trip to the vet will ease your mind and your dog’s discomfort.

You May Also Like