Does my dog have seasonal allergies?
By Mary Daly
May 06, 2019, 10:51:14 AM EDT
Many people spend spring with itchy eyes and a runny nose, thanks to the blooming landscape. And our canine friends might be struggling with the same allergens — just with their own set of symptoms. Here are nine signs of seasonal allergies in dogs.
1. A pattern to the symptoms
This sounds like the most obvious sign, but it actually can be the most helpful for a proper diagnosis. Seasonal allergies in dogs often mimic other allergies and health issues, sometimes with almost identical symptoms. So noting a seasonal pattern to your dog’s symptoms might end up being how you finally diagnose them.
“Some of the common causes of seasonal allergies include dust, dust mites, pollen, grass and flea bites,” according to PetMD. Depending on what your dog is allergic to, allergies typically occur in the spring when things are blooming and throughout the warmer months. But if you live in a warm climate where plants bloom year-round, the allergies might persist for most or all of the year. Plus, seasonal allergies might become chronic in older dogs. So noting a pattern can help, but it’s not always an option.
Extreme itchiness is a telltale sign of allergies in a dog. “Environmental allergies, or atopy, are the second-most common cause of itchy skin in dogs after flea allergy dermatitis,” according to VetStreet. “Although it is hard to know exactly how many dogs suffer from atopy, recent studies estimate the prevalence at about 10 percent of the canine population.”
Again, you might notice your dog scratching or biting their skin only during certain times of the year, which strongly suggests seasonal allergies. They might focus on spots that most frequently come in contact with environmental allergens, including their paws, stomach and face. If this is the case, a bath with a gentle shampoo might help to temporarily relieve symptoms, as it washes off pollen and other potential allergens. Still, if your dog is extremely itchy, it’s important to get them to the vet as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis.
3. Paw licking
Excessive paw licking is another classic sign of canine allergies — both when they pick up environmental allergens and also when they ingest them. “Allergic skin disease is the most common reason why canines lick and chew their feet on a chronic basis,” according to VetStreet. “Food allergies, in particular, are typically the culprit, and secondary infections from yeast and bacteria can further exacerbate the behavior.”
Licking also can arise from a foreign body, such as a thorn, lodged in their paw. Plus, the dog might have experienced an injury or some other paw-related ailment — or even developed an obsessive behavior. And because excessive chewing and licking of the paws can lead to secondary infections, it’s important not to ignore the behavior.
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