The transition between spring and summer is peak allergy season, and humans aren’t the only ones who find themselves sneezing and coughing. Your dog may also suffer from coughing, sneezing, wheezing, itching, or runny discharge near the nose and eyes. If your dog isn’t reacting to pollen, mold, or another outdoor substance, their allergies could be caused by something they’re eating. While it’s always best to ask your vet about your dog’s specific needs, there are lifestyle changes and allergy chews for dogs that could help improve their symptoms.
If you notice that your dog has itchy skin, ears, or paws after consuming a particular food, try cutting that food out of their diet. Common food allergens in dogs include dairy, beef, chicken, soy, and wheat products. If your dog’s immune system reacts to the food they’re eating, resulting in hives, itchiness, vomiting, or diarrhea, it’s best to cut out that food completely and contact a vet. If the onset of symptoms is more gradual and less severe, your pup may just have a food sensitivity rather than a food allergy. If you aren’t sure whether your dog is allergic or just sensitive to a certain food, you can take them to the vet for blood or skin allergy testing.
If your pup’s allergies tend to act up after they have been playing outside, they may be reacting to a bite from a flea, wasp, bee, mosquito, or spider. Symptoms of bug bites often include swelling and redness near the bite. If your dog likes to chase insects, he or she may have had an unfortunate insect encounter that ended in a bite on the face. Scratching and itching, skin irritation, and biting at the skin might also be symptoms of fleas. If your dog likes to play outside and has the potential to encounter fleas, ticks, or other insects, ask your vet about preventative flea and tick medicine as well as topical ointment to treat those bites that already occurred.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies yourself, you probably know what your dog is going through. It’s wonderful to enjoy a sunny, summer day full of the smell of fresh flowers—until you can’t stop sneezing. Luckily, you can limit your dog’s exposure to outside allergens by washing their paws after they play outside. Give them regular baths to wash away any pollen and other organic substances that might contaminate your space. You can find medicated dog shampoos with ingredients to help soothe allergies and irritated skin. Another recommendation is to vacuum and clean your dog’s bed and space regularly. This will also reduce the amount of dog hair and dirt in your house, which may provide relief for your own allergies.
Whether your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies, itchy skin from insect bites, or digestive issues due to food allergies, allergy chews for dogs are a great supplement to support your pup’s immune health, help him or her digest food, and soothe skin irritations. Look for organic ingredients in allergy chews for dogs. Wild alaskan salmon oil and bovine colostrum help support skin health. Bee Propolis is great for the immune system and is known for its antibacterial properties. Finally, probiotics are another great ingredient in allergy chews for dogs—and for humans. Probiotics make sure your dog is digesting their food without any stomach pain, diarrhea, or vomiting.
If your dog’s allergies are more severe, you can talk to your vet about allergy shots. Immunotherapy is a type of allergy treatment in which your dog’s specific allergens are injected into him or her to aid in desensitization. This may not be the best solution for food allergens, but for dogs who love to play outside—and can’t avoid triggers like fungal spores and pollen—allergy shots can improve their quality of life. Much like human beings, dogs can also take oral allergy medication such as Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec. Allergy medications work better for some dogs than others, so if one dosage or brand isn’t working for your pet, ask your vet for an alternative. Dosages for dogs do work differently than for humans, so be sure to consult a vet before administering any oral medication.
Depending on how easy it is to avoid your dog’s allergens, your vet might recommend treating the symptoms rather than the cause of the allergies. If your dog suffers from coughing or wheezing, your vet may prescribe a cough suppressant for your dog’s irritated chest and throat. If your dog is constantly itching and scratching and is suffering from red patches of irritated skin or dermatitis, a topical allergy ointment, cream, or spray might be recommended. Oral antihistamines are more common than topical ones, though, as your pup may attempt to remove any strange substance from their skin and fur. Make note of your dog’s specific symptoms and any likely allergens for your next visit to the vet.