Endless sneezing, itchy eyes, a stuffy nose – the telltale signs of the dreaded allergy season. Did you know your dog is just as prone to these environmentally-triggered allergies? Unfortunately, your canine companion can’t let you know when they’re suffering so it’s up to you to keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of an allergy attack.
Seasonal allergies, otherwise known as environmental allergies, are activated by allergens like dust, pollen, grass and mold. While symptoms are triggered by inhalation, many are absorbed through the dog’s skin or paws. Every reaction ranges from mild to severe so learn these common signs of allergies and you’ll be able to know when your dog is not feeling well.
- Scratching/Biting/Inflamed Skin – The most common symptom, excessive scratching or biting happens as the skin comes in contact with and reacts to the allergen. While this provides immediate relief, if not treated, it can lead to red, inflamed patches usually in the place that the allergen came in contact with the skin. If these patches are left untreated they can lead to secondary infections like a bacterial infection as a result of the skin being opened.
- Incessant Paw Licking – In response to the allergens, the body pushes out the histamines (chemicals in the immune system triggered by the allergens) to a dog’s extremities (paws, face, ears or anal region). It can also present by your dog rubbing their face.
- Scooting The Anal Region – This is another reaction to the histamine being expelled from the dog’s system . The unpleasant itching will have your dog scooting their rear end or even incessantly licking the area.
- Excessive Shedding – A result of itching due to the allergy, your dog will lose more hair than normal. Accompanying this is dandruff as the allergies dry out the skin and cause flaking.
- Chronic Ear Infections – Most common in dog breeds with floppy ears, signs of ear infections include head shaking and red, waxy ears. This symptom isn’t only uncomfortable, but painful for dogs. It’s best to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible as treatment can take a while to kick in and provide relief.
- Respiratory Issues –Not as common as the other symptoms, respiratory problems can signal a more serious allergic reaction that could potentially be fatal. If you are observing coughing, wheezing, sneezing and trouble breathing that is out of the ordinary, take your dog to the vet immediately.
While there isn’t a cure for your dog’s allergies, you can manage the symptoms and relieve their discomfort. Learn six ways to manage your dog’s allergies.