Dog wearing sweater on the grass outside with autumn leaves

Seasons are changing, the temperature is falling, and a new allergy season is on the horizon. Protect your pup by being aware of fall allergy symptoms and concerns your dog may be experiencing. Taking the time to note the signs of allergies can help prevent your dog from a season full of sneezing and scratching without diagnosis. Let’s discuss the main causes of allergies impacting your pup this fall and the ways you can be a proactive pet to help avoid them.

As a reminder before we begin, if your dog is experiencing any irregular symptoms or behaviors, always seek guidance from your local veterinarian.

Fall Allergies

Like people, dogs can also suffer from seasonal allergies. If your dog seems to be experiencing new or sneezing a little extra between the months of July through September, it may be possible your dog is showing signs of allergies.

One of the main causes of allergies seen in dogs is known as ragweed. Ragweed pollen counts are highest during peak allergy months. In places with longer flowering seasons, ragweed will have more of a presence. Fun fact: a single flower can create a billion airborne grains of pollen. As a result, ragweed may cause your dog to sneeze and itch.

A secondary kind of allergen spreading in the fall months is mold. When the weather begins to cool down and trees and other plants drop their leaves for the winter, the leaf buildup on the ground, along with cooler weather, creates an ideal environment for the growth of mold spores. Mold can be poisonous to dogs. If you notice a pile of leaves sitting in your yard, removing it will be your best solution to keeping your pup healthy.

This summer many pups and people have felt the effects of poor air quality caused by an extensive wildfire season and a greater-than-average thunderstorm season. Increases in air pollution along with warm and humid air can lead to irritation and make allergy symptoms worse.

There are a variety of symptoms a dog can have when experiencing environmental allergies, ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms can include:

  • Scratching
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Endless licking or chewing on feet
  • Red inflamed paws
  • Coughing, sneezing, or runny nose

Most dogs facing allergy symptoms can find relief with a variety of veterinarian-recommended treatment plans.

Staying Proactive

As a pet parent, it is important to remain mindful of allergy season to best protect your pup. Here are a few ways to be proactive during the fall allergy season:

  • Pay close attention to AccuWeather allergy forecasting. AccuWeather provides a plethora of information for most allergens including ragweed and mold spores.
  • If you notice a day of high pollen count in the forecast, it will be best to avoid outdoor play until the allergen count decreases.
  • Just like with kids, wash hands and paws after playing outside any time during allergy season.
  • Maintain your outdoor play space by cleaning up piles of fallen leaves where your dog may play.

Parasite Concerns

Flea populations thrive in the fall due to lower outdoor temperatures and an increase in precipitation. Although some pet parents do not see a need to use flea and tick prevention year-round, these parasites can cause problems all year. Dogtopia’s Environmental Biologist, Lorraine Rhoads, wants to remind all pet parents that, “Fleas can carry tapeworm larva that develop into an adult tapeworm – another important reason to prevent flea infestation.” This is a year-round concern and should be proactively handled for your pup’s continued health and safety.

Ticks are another common parasite in any season where temperatures remain above freezing. Over the last two years, tick populations have expanded their range. A large concern with this expansion of tick populations is that ticks can not only cause problems for our dogs, but also for humans. It is important to be proactive when it comes to ticks so we can all do our part to limit tick-borne related illnesses that are transmissible to both dogs and humans.

Lastly, Giardia is an intestinal parasite that naturally occurs in the environment in places such as lakes, ponds, streams and contaminated soil. This parasite causes dogs to have upset stomachs and, in some cases, diarrhea. Most Giardia cases peak in the late summer to early fall months and are more common in the rainy season.

When it comes to parasite diagnosis and prevention, the best person you can turn to is your local veterinarian. Your veterinarian will have the most expansive knowledge on parasites and allergens in your region to best treat your pup.

Traveling With Your Pup

It’s almost the holiday season! As we approach the holidays and plans are made to visit loved ones, it is important to keep in mind the health and wellness of your pup.

When traveling to places with other dogs, monitor your dog’s behavior to ensure your pup remains healthy and content. When returning home, watch for signs and symptoms of sniffly nose, mild cough, or a change in appetite. If symptoms and behaviors prolong longer than a day or two, it might be time to get an exam done by your local veterinarian.

As much as we love traveling and seeing loved ones, this can be overwhelming for our dogs. It may be in your pup’s best interest to remain at home or with a well-known friend or family member.

Keeping Your Pet in Mind

No one enjoys the side effects of allergy season, especially your dog. Schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian for a fall wellness exam to keep your dog playing more and scratching less.

If allergy season is overwhelming where you live and you need a clean indoor area for your dog to play and exercise without directly involving your pup in outdoor allergens, check out your local Dogtopia daycare today! We’d love to give you a tour and explain our open-play daycare philosophy, pet-safe cleaning procedures and highlight our extensive training program for our team members. No matter the weather, your dog can enjoy our fun indoor playrooms!