Symptoms and Treatment of Pollen Allergies in Dogs

A dog sitting in a field

As warmer weather begins to emerge, you may notice your dog scratching, biting, and rubbing their face a lot more than usual. This behavior may not seem like allergy symptoms, but in dogs, skin disorders are one of the more common signs you’ll observe. 

Many dogs suffer from seasonal allergies, and it tends to get worse in the spring and summer months. Pollen allergies in dogs is a frequent diagnosis at our clinic. This is why Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital is here to address what you need to know about it to better help your furry loved one.

What Are Pollen Allergies in Dogs?

An allergy is an immunological response to an allergen. Allergies are usually one of the following: atopic or airborne, food, fleas, or contact allergy from something in the environment. In fact, 10% or more of canines are allergic to something. Seasonal allergies are considered to be a reaction to pollen from weeds, grasses, trees, shrubs, etc. 

In a pollen-allergic dog, the body will work to protect itself by sending out antibodies to attach itself to the antigen and flush it out. Since allergens are everywhere, your dog can be uncomfortable without treatment.

Symptoms of pollen allergies in dogs:

  • Chronic scratching 
  • Chewing the paws
  • Excessive licking
  • Skin conditions like hot spots, hair loss, etc.
  • Ear infections
  • Rubbing face on floor or furniture
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from the eyes and/or nose
  • Wheezing

Diagnosis and Treatment

During your pet’s examination, your veterinarian will ask you several questions about symptoms and when they are at their worst. In order to rule out other conditions that mimic allergies, we will run some basic blood tests and other diagnostics, such as checking for parasitic infection or those caused by bacteria, fungi, or yeast.

Sometimes, allergy testing will be ordered to get to the correct allergens affecting your best friend.

There is no cure for allergies, but we can manage them through the use of:

  • Over the counter antihistamines – While you should never give your dog OTC medications without the direction of your veterinarian, Benadryl and Zyrtec have been known to help dogs experiencing allergy discomfort. 
  • Shampoos, conditioners, and topicals – These often are designed to relieve itchy skin through ingredients such as soothing oatmeal and aloe vera. 
  • Corticosteroid injections– If topicals are not doing the job, sometimes your vet will recommend these tablets or injections to clear up the skin.
  • Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy requires that a small amount of the allergen be injected into your pet in a series, as a way to decrease their sensitivity and response to the allergen(s).

At home you can minimize your pet’s allergies by keeping windows closed, running air filters, vacuuming often using a HEPA filter, and laundering their bedding frequently. Shampoo your dog once a week or every two weeks with a medicated or hypoallergenic shampoo. 

If you would like to schedule an appointment for your sweet pet, or have questions about pollen allergies in dogs, please contact us. We’re here to get the itch out of allergies and make for a healthier, happy pet.