Hayfever is a common allergy for humans in the Spring and Summer months caused by a reaction to the pollen in the air. You may be wondering, can dogs get hayfever too?
Our friends at Burns Pet Nutrition have some great advice on this seasonal subject. Read on below to discover how you can prevent seasonal allergies, and help your dog’s symptoms during this time.
Can Dogs Get Hayfever?
In short. Yes. In fact, 10% of dogs in the UK suffer from hay-fever like symptoms (known as environmental allergies).
When dogs react to pollen, it is quite different to hayfever in humans. We rarely see sneezing, a runny nose, or watery and itchy eyes. Instead, dogs tend to get itchy skin.
You may find your dog nibbling or rubbing the following spots to relieve an itch:
- eyes, ears, mouth and muzzle
- bum and groin area
You’ll notice red, sore and possibly flaky skin or lose patches of fur in the areas mentioned. It can also look completely fine as if there’s nothing there, it’s obviously just itchy!
However it’s important to note that an allergy to fleas or house dust mites is more common than seasonal allergies, and it’s always good to check for parasites to determine whether this is the cause. It’s also worth ruling out itchiness due to cleaning products and washing powder.
How To Prevent Seasonal Allergies?
It is difficult to avoid seasonal allergies. Therefore the goal should be to manage the condition and reduce the discomfort to your dog. Unsure of what is causing your dog to itch? Work alongside your vet, you may go through a lot of trial and error until you find the answer. They may prescribe shampoos/creams to help soothe skin and restore the skin barrier.
Here’s our top tips to helping with seasonal allergies:
- Wipe your dog down with a baby wipe after their walk to try to remove pollen from fur/skin
- Cool water on their skin to help to soothe it
- Reduce their time in the garden, and if possible, keep the doors and windows closed to keep the pollen out
- Check your dog’s diet as this can affect good skin health in several ways
- If your dog has an allergy to tree pollen, reduce walking in the wind when it’s dry
- Allergy to grass pollen? Keep your lawn trim and make sure your dog doesn’t roll around in the pollen
- Check the plants in your garden. Often plant pollens are unavoidable for dogs but if there is a plant in your garden you think they may react to it may be worth ruling this out
How Can Diet Help With Seasonal Allergies?
With seasonal allergies it can be difficult to find the exact cause and often many factors can be involved. A high-quality diet can play a role, however.
If you are unsure of what your dog is reacting to, we recommend doing an elimination trial. This way you can rule out diet as a possible cause for the itching.
Even if your dog does not have a food allergy or intolerance, when fed a high-quality diet we can work to get their skin barrier in better condition. Omega fatty acids are important for the skin. Salmon oil is a great in ingredient for this, so look for diets with fish or those containing salmon oil. You may also be surprised to hear that bee pollen can act as an antihistamine for dogs.
Overfeeding or feeding a poor-quality diet can cause itchy skin or aggravate pre-existing conditions as it can cause your dog to be in a state of inflammation. The amount of food a dog needs may vary throughout the seasons of the year. For example, if your dog spends a lot of time outside in the winter maybe swimming in colder water, they burn a lot more calories than in summer months. So during the summer you may need to cut their food back.
Does Your Dog Have Seasonal Allergies?
How do you cope through allergy season? Let us know in the comments below. Your tips and tricks may help another! For more information on your dog’s diet, and for further advice head over to burnspet.co.uk.