How Do I Know If My Dog Has Seasonal Allergies?

We can’t tell who’s sneezing more: us ... or our puppers.

If you are a living, breathing human, you have probably noticed that seasonal allergies are particularly brutal this year. (But really, we say that every year, so maybe allergies are always brutal and we’re just in denial? Unclear.) Anyway, there’s usually that murky period where we squint our watery eyes and wonder, “Is it the pollen or do I just have a cold?”

We have a hard enough time deciphering allergies in ourselves — how on earth are we supposed to know if our four-legged friends have them too? And if it’s not allergies, how do we know if it’s something for true concern?

According to PetMD, Healthy Pets, and Rover, there are several symptoms that dogs display when they’re suffering from seasonal allergies. Here are the red flags, along with treatment suggestions. (Spoiler alert, we always suggest speaking with your vet!):

Scratching and biting

We’re not talking the occasional nip; it’s more of an intense, repeated itching that causes the skin to become red and inflamed, and even cause hair loss. An easy, at-home treatment is a gentle dog shampoo or coconut oil, but if that doesn’t help, visit your vet.

Increased shedding and dandruff

It might be a byproduct of all the scratching and biting, or it may be a result of extremely dry and irritated skin. Unfortunately, pet shampoos won’t help with this; you’ll need a prescription cream, so get to your vet as soon as you notice issues.

Paw licking

In the way that histamines affect humans’ eyes and noses, they similarly affect dogs’ paws. The compulsive licking, pushing, and prodding is your pup’s way of trying to push out the histamines and relieve that frustrating itching. As much as you want to give your dog a respite, never give him human antihistamines (such as Benadryl) without speaking with a vet.

Ear infections

One of the more generalized allergic responses in dogs is an ear infection. If you see your furry friend pawing at his ears or repeatedly shaking his head, allergies are the likely culprit. But if (god forbid) you see leaking fluid, they may have triggered a bacterial or yeast infection. In that case, be sure to visit your vet as soon as possible.

Butt scooting

It’s not just the paws that experience the itch; dogs’ anal glands can be flooded with histamines too! (Think of it as sneezing with your butt. [Or don’t.]) But if you don’t notice any other symptoms, the infamous butt scoot may be indicative of gland issues. Either way, take your sweet pooch to the vet!

The takeaway? Seasonal allergies in your pup are easy to spot and not inherently dangerous. But some of the allergic reactions may exacerbate other issues, and some symptoms may be indicative of larger problems. As always, with any medical concern, (SAY IT WITH ME NOW!) speak with your vet first, then stop and smell the roses second.

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