It is fun to see dogs happily rolling in the grass during summer, but they can be allergic to pollen in the grass. Just like humans, dogs can get hay fever from pollen and other allergens too. According to reports, 10% of dogs in the UK have suffered from hay fever. That being said, it is important to quickly spot the signs of hay fever in dogs for proper treatment.
How dogs get affected by hay fever
Research reveals that dogs that were not exposed to plants, trees, and grass in their early years are likely to manifest hay fever signs in later years. In other words, pollen sensitivity is more prevalent on dogs that have not developed such level of immunity.
In technical terms, hay fever refers to allergic rhinitis. As its name suggests, it is a type of allergic condition triggered by pollen, dander, and dust. A place that has the presence of grass or any other plants can be the worst place for dogs with allergies.
Affected dogs will have an allergic reaction in the presence of any of the mentioned allergy triggers. The dog’s immune system will respond by releasing antibodies to fight off intruders. Unfortunately, this will further cause discomfort to the dog involved.
March to September can be the worst months to these dogs either in the country or city. The onslaught of tree pollens is more prevalent in March and April. Owners should be more careful of grass pollens in May, June, and July. Pollens from flowering weeds are the highest in June, July, and August.
Watch out for these symptoms
Hay fever symptoms in dogs are relatively different from hay fever symptoms in people. Instead of scratchy eyes, dogs develop itchy skin, which can be easily mistaken for something else. Other symptoms are listed below:
- Frequent biting or licking his paws
- Persistent scratching all over his body even without the infestation of fleas or flea dirt
- Rashes on areas around the ears, eyes, or paws
- Lack of interest and lethargy
- Persistent scratching on his muzzle or ears
- Runny nose
- Repeated sneezing
In most cases, hay fever affects dogs through skin reactions and not necessarily with the last two symptoms. Note that symptoms may vary on each pooch. If you think this is the case with your furry companion, it is best to set an appointment with the vet. It also helps to check updates on the pollen count in your area to see if the symptoms align with it.
Dog breeds that are likely to get hay fever
As previously mentioned, dogs with less outdoor exposure are more likely to suffer from hay fever than others. Whilst it can affect dogs of any breed, it has been observed that the following breeds are more susceptible to the condition:
- Poodles in all variety
- Schnauzers in all variety
- West Highland terriers
- Boston terriers
- Cairn terriers
- Irish setters
What to do if your pooch has hay fever:
There is no permanent cure or treatment for hay fever. However, there are some ways to help manage the situation to benefit you and your furry pals:
- Consult the vet for a proper prescription, such as antihistamine to make your dog more comfortable. For severe cases of hay fever, your dog might be given anti-allergenic injection but only when necessary.
- Keep tabs on the pollen count in your area. The highest seems to be in the late morning and late evening. Dog walks should best be done in the late afternoon, dawn, or early evening.
- Identify the specific allergic triggers of your pooch. As much as possible, it must be avoided.
- Keep him on a leash and keep him from getting in contact with the grassy areas.
- Keep regular grooming as well as brushing, especially after a walk. Brushing removes pollen that clung to his fur.
- Use baby wipes to clean his muzzle and paws.
- Beddings and blankets need a frequent wash to remove any pollen.
If your dog is suffering from hay fever, it is best to seek advice from your vet as well as taking precautions with these tips.