We may associate the warmer weather with singing birds, longer days and blissful walks however some of us know the all too familiar signs of itchy eyes, runny noses and the general miserableness of hay fever. However, 10% of dogs in the UK are also sufferers of this allergic condition.
April through to September are particularly challenging for dogs suffering from hay fever. It can affect dogs in countryside and cities! The main allergens are pollen, grass, dander and dust which have an increased presence in the air during summer months.
Breeds that are most prone to developing canine hay fever are wire-haired dogs, Poodles, West highland terriers, Schnauzers, Scottish terriers and Dalmatians. Symptoms of hay fever can develop at any age however they are most likely to begin between 1-3 years old.
A dog will display a reaction of the immune system when they are in contact with one of the above triggers. The body then produces antibodies which then cause side effects. These side effects usually include sneezing repeatedly, runny nose, red itchy runny eyes, pruritus (all over body itching), chewing of paws, rashes appearing on the face/paws which may lead to excessive scratching and hair loss/sore patches.
If a dog’s reactions and discomfort coincide with the patterns of the pollen count in your local area. Hay fever is usually the cause.
Treating a dog for hay fever is partially the same as treating a person.
- It is always best to consult your vet who may be able to prescribe antihistamines, steroid creams or anti-allergenic injections.
- Remove all flowers/plants from your home.
- When cutting the lawn, keep dogs inside.
- Wipe down dog’s coat with a damp cloth after walks.
- Clip long fur if possible to reduce the risk of pollen being trapped.
- Try to take walks in the early morning or evening when the pollen count is lower.
- Use a filter in your home to eliminate pollen particles.
- Bathe dog’s skin regularly with a sensitive dog shampoo, not too often as this may affect the coat’s natural oils.
- Wash bedding and soft toys every 1-2 weeks to avoid build-up of any allergens.