We’ve all seen or felt it before: the sneezing, the itching, the watery eyes, the irritated nasal passages and so on. But your dog is now exhibiting signs of the typical behavior for fall allergies in humans. Could your dog have allergies too? Is this even possible? What are the signs and symptoms you should be concerned about, and when is the appropriate time to call the vet?
Can Dogs Be Affected By Hay Fever?
Although the symptoms may seem like hay fever or fall allergies, it is often referred to as atopy in dogs. The symptoms are very similar to that of what humans would experience with hay fever.
What is Atopy?
Atopy is very common in the fall season. In fact, it is the most common form of allergies in dogs and cats. And although similar, many of the signs and symptoms vary greatly from hay fever. If your pet is allergic to ragweed, symptoms will occur in the fall. Allergies to spring tree pollen will show signs in April and May. If your dog is allergic to dust mites, the symptoms may be most dramatic in the winter, when more time is spent inside. Signs of atopy include:
- Chewing at the feet
- Constant licking of the flank (side) and groin area
- Rubbing of the face
- Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections
- Recurrent hot spots
- Asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems (more likely in cats)
First Signs Your Dog May Have Fall Allergies
Are you noticing that your dog is scratching more often than usual? This is often times the first sign of atopy. If your dog has itchy, red skin then this is a good indicator that something might be going on. In many cases, the skin will also be moist or scabby. Runny eyes and sneezing, coughing or wheezing are also signs your dog may be suffering from fall allergies. As mentioned earlier, paw chewing and constant licking are also an indication that allergies may be present. Hair loss, dry flaky skin or hot spots in one or more areas may also be noticed. All animals will get an itch every now and then, but it will not be often enough to appear like it is an issue.
Other Signs and Symptoms of Fall Allergies in Dogs
It is important to look for the first signs when evaluating your dog for possible fall allergies. Other signs to look for include inflamed, cracked or bleeding skin. If your notice this, try to avoid letting your dog lick or scratch the area until the vet evaluates the situation.
Other signs include bald spots, brown discoloration on the skin, crusty or scaly skin, red or itchy ears, inflamed ears, odors coming from the ears or skin, redness around the outside of the eyes and redness in the eyes. Some dogs may even rub their head (including the eye area) on the floor or furniture, lose hair around the eyes and muzzle and have open wounds that appear to possibly be infected.
Less Common Allergies
Contact Dermatitis includes such things as allergies to carpets, cleaners or plastic. Symptoms of these allergies include:
- Red itchy bumps or blisters on sparsely-haired areas of the skin and those exposed to the allergen such as the belly, feet or muzzle
- Intense Scratching
- Hair loss (in chronic conditions)
Food allergies account for about 10-15% of allergies in pets. They may show up alongside with allergies to pollen, dust, etc. Symptoms of food allergies include:
- Itching, especially of the face, feet, trunk, limbs and anal area
- Ear problems, often yeast-related
- Skin infections that respond to antibiotics, but then recur as soon as the antibiotic therapy ceases
Occasionally, increased bowel movements and soft stool will occur in dogs with true food allergies. Food allergies should not be confused with food intolerance’s.
Treatment and Prevention of Fall Allergies
Ultimately, the best way to prevent fall allergies in dogs is schedule regular visits with the vet and maintaining a healthy diet. It is important to observe the signs so you can get them treated before they worsen. Treatments for fall allergies in dogs include: topical ointments, eye drops, oral medications, topical sprays and avoidance of triggers. Your pet’s individual needs will best determine the type of treatment needed.
If your dog is experiencing any of the signs or symptoms mentioned, All Pets Veterinary Medical Center can assist with treatment options. Contact us today with the link below for more information.