Flowers blooming, grass growing, trees sprouting. Sneezing, itchy throat, watery eyes. Yep, it’s Spring in Tennessee, which means it’s also allergy season. And not just for humans; your dog could also be sensitive to environmental allergens. Allergy symptoms can occur when the immune system “over reacts” to specific substances like pollen, fleas, dust and dander. Interestingly, signs of environmental allergies in pets tend to be a bit different from those commonly seen in people. While people tend to show signs of allergies with their respiratory systems (e.g. sneezing, wheezing, or scratchy throats), dogs and cats more frequently respond to allergies with their skin.
Common allergy symptoms in dogs include
• Itchy skin that is either very dry or oily
• Frequent of constant licking of the paws
• Secondary skin infections
• Ear infections
Allergies can be a challenge to treat, but there are a number of steps you can take to prevent your dog from developing allergies or experiencing a “flare up”.
1. Bathe your dog weekly, especially if he spends a good deal of time outside or in the yard.
2. Begin a flea control regimen even before allergy season begins.
3. Regularly clean your dog’s bedding to remove dust and pollen build-up.
4. Expose dogs to allergens in their outdoor environment from a young age; doing so helps to decrease the immune system’s sensitivity to allergens.
5. Talk to your vet about specific allergy testing and associated allergy treatments. Just like people, dogs can be given allergy shots or oral drops to help decrease the immune system’s sensitivity to allergens.