March is a month many humans love, due to the overabundance of new growth. Winter ends and Spring begins, with beautiful wildflowers starting to blossom for the season. While this makes for a gorgeous landscape, many humans suffer from seasonal allergies. The pollen! The dust! The beautiful green grass! The sneezing, wheezing, scratching and itchy eyes is unbearable at times. Does this sound familiar to you? Does your dog appear to suffer as well? We run many trail dogs, but some of these pups have to temporarily refrain from the trails if they suffer from allergies. Read on to learn if you have a dog with seasonal allergies.
Identifying Spring Allergies In Dogs:
When a dog suffers from seasonal allergies, their bodies are more sensitive and the immune system does not tolerate allergens. When the weakened immune system has contact with these environmental allergens, the respiratory system attempts to fight them off, unsuccessfully.
Environmental hazards are abundant in Spring. Examples are grass, tree and weed pollen as well as dust. Recognizing signs of allergies in dogs can be different from the traditional itchy eye symptoms humans have. Nearly all allergy symptoms in dogs are expressed directly out of their skin. If you notice your dog constantly scratching their paw, armpit or groin area during Spring months, this may be an allergy and needs to be addressed with your Vet. In addition, incessant scratching and runny noses signal allergies.
Diagnosing Environmental Allergies:
Your Vet may refer you to a dermatologist to do further testing if your dog has a severe allergy. Your Vet will determine whether or not to see a Dermatologist based on your dog’s history and current physical exam. The Dermatologist will perform skin testing, which measures the skin’s reaction to microdoses of allergens. This is similar to a human patch test to see which environmental allergens are the cause of such discomfort. These results help determine the appropriate course of action for medicine and/or at home remedies.
Nutrition To Manage Allergies:
While we strongly believe nutrition is a key component to the health and wellbeing of a dog, can it help with allergies? The answer is yes. Adjusting your dog to a therapeutic diet is the start. These specialized diets are formulated to help combat many diseases and illnesses in dogs, including seasonal allergies. Finding an allergy specific diet, with an appropriate transition time, may be just what your dog needs. This will help the immune system strengthen and alleviate environmental symptoms.
Dogs who suffer from seasonal allergies don’t have to stay away from outdoors and exercise. As long as you are aware of your surroundings, and your dog’s cues, life can still be a fun adventure for your dog. At home play may make more sense in the meantime, and we encourage safe activity during this time. Being aware of health and diet is the sign of a loving and caring dog parent! Seasonal allergies will pass, and with diagnosis and management, your dog will not suffer. Dogs give unconditional love, and are just as thrilled to play in your backyard or living room, as long as they are with YOU!