A dog sniffs a flower in a meadow.

If you notice your pet scratching a lot more than usual or biting at their paws and legs, chances are they have allergies. Spring is a beautiful time for budding trees and blooming plants, but it’s also the bane of most allergy sufferers. Your pet can also experience seasonal allergies, which can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.

Volunteer Veterinary Hospital is here to explain more about pollen allergies in dogs and what you can do to relieve the itchy-scratchy for your pooch:

Pollen Allergies In Dogs

Allergies are an overresposne by the immune system to a foreign substance, usually dust, pollen, mold, and other things in the environment. Allergies are typically classified into four categories: atopy, food allergies, flea allergies, and contact allergies. Pollen allergies are considered atopy, and can be problematic year-round, but are more prevalent in the spring through early autumn

If your dog is allergic to seasonal allergens, like pollen, they may exhibit the following clinical symptoms:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Chewing at paws
  • Rubbing the face
  • Ear infections and/or inflamed ears
  • Hot spots and other skin disorders
  • Sneezing
  • Eye or nasal discharge
  • Wheezing (not as common)

Diagnosing Pollen Allergies

During your pet’s examination, your veterinarian will ask you a number of different questions about your dog’s symptoms and when they are their worst. Your veterinarian will look for signs of infection along with skin problems, such as hair loss, hot spots, dryness/scaling skin, and redness. Dogs with allergies often have yeast infection between the toes or an overgrowth of yeast in the ears. 

Parasites can sometimes cause similar skin issues, so we will assess your pet for any infections caused by parasites, fungi, or bacteria. Oftentimes, blood testing can rule out any underlying illnesses that can cause similar symptoms, but if your furry one experiences these more acutely during peak allergy season, they’re probably dealing with pollen allergies.

Treatment And At Home Care

If you suspect your pet has seasonal allergies, a veterinary visit should be your first step. That way we can examine your pet and get started on treatment options. We can offer some prescriptions to alleviate some of the itch and give recommendations on supplements that can bolster the immune system.

At home, you can also:

  • Wipe your pet’s coat and paws after being outside using a warm, damp cloth. This will rid them of some of the pollen brought in from their walk.
  • Shampoo your pet once a week with hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner.
  • Use skin relief sprays containing aloe and oatmeal.
  • Use HEPA filters for the furnace as well as vacuum, and place a number of standing air filters around the home.
  • Launder bedding, pet beds, and blankets often.

If you would like more information on pollen allergies in dogs or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us