Even though this year it has been a bit late to the party, Spring is actually here and we can look forward to some lovely warmer weather, after the recent frosty Winter. And while most of us are super happy about the warmer temperatures, for others Spring means lots of hayfever medication and a big box of Kleenex.
What some people may not know is that your pets can have allergies from the environment, just like humans. I once knew a Jack Russell Terrier who was allergic to grass. Poor thing had to watch all the other pooches playing and having fun in the garden while he was stuck indoors.
There are some differences, however, between how our dog has allergies to compared to us. For starters, in humans, the allergy is related to the respiratory tract and results in inflammation, irritated breathing and mucous, whereas in our dogs and cats, you will mostly see their allergic reaction on the skin, referred to as allergic dermatitis.
So if Rover or Kitty are having an allergic reaction, they will show signs of being irritated by very itchy skin. This starts with excessive scratching and they will probably start to use their teeth to nibble at the fur in the really itchy spots. You will often notice lots of rubbing their bodies and faces against the furniture or along the carpet to relieve the discomfort.
Understandably, as the rubbing and scratching behaviour persists, your pet's skin will become red and irritated and painful to touch. Over time, the fur will fall off the affected areas and there will likely be uncomfortable wounds and then scabbing.
If the condition worsens in dogs especially, bacteria will flourish at the area and a Hot Spot will result. This is very painful and uncomfortable for your dog as the area will bleed and have no fur.
So really not very pleasant for the poor puppers.
If you notice the crazy itching behaviour start in the Spring, check with your vet to see if it is a seasonal allergy and not just a dietary issue. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies, here are a few other things that you can look out for.
Dogs who get Prickly Paws
Just like you or I can experience a skin irritation by touching pollen or another allergen, if your dog goes for a tiptoe through the tulips and then starts excessively biting and chewing at their paws, it could be a result of the allergens in the grass and plants. In the worse cases, if your dog chews at their paw pads too much, then this will result in bleeding. So it's best to find a good quality paw cream or wax to start soothing those poor sore paw pads.
Another great way to protect your dog's allergy sensitive paw pads is by having them wear a pair of dog sandals or dog booties. Yes, dog sandals! They do look a little bit odd but are great for allowing your dog's paws to breathe. There are different types available, so we suggest that you check out the range here and find the right fit and type for your dog. Dog Shoes are a great way to keep the pollen off your dog's feet and will save a lot of unnecessary gnawing and bleeding.
Dogs who have Sensitive Skin
So if your pet is rubbing themselves raw and gnawing at their fur, you can invest in a good Hot Spot Cream or Spray to relieve the irritation and soothe your pet's skin. There are some human creams and sprays that are suitable for dogs, however, it is best to get your vet to recommend a suitable spray or cream for your dog.
As a general precaution all year round, you can try bathing your dog with grooming products infused with oatmeal as this ingredient has been proven to soothe dogs skin. If you are out walking with your dog, it's a good idea to keep some anti-itch wipes in your bag or purse, in case of any episodes.
And if your dog is a long-term sufferer of allergies, to help keep them healthy and relaxed, your vet will most likely put your pet on some sort of allergy supplement or even some medication specifically to treat their inflamed hide.
Dogs who have Irritated Ears
Another area on your dog that can be irritated by allergies is the soft insides of their ears. Dogs with pointy ears are less prone to allergy infections, as pointy ears are better able to dry out and not breed bacteria. Dogs with floppy ears like hounds, Maltese Terriers, Poodles and poodle mixes are some of the breeds that will benefit from a good ear clean. To keep your dog spring allergy free, make sure you check inside your dogs ears and clean them out with dog ear wipes so that bacteria, yeast, bugs and other dirt can't cause inflammation in the inner ear.
Things to do for Dog Allergy Sufferers
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help out and allergy affected pooch. Once your vet has determined that your pet suffers from seasonal allergies, here are some helpful tips to support your dog and keep them comfortable.
- Frequent baths - just like when you got the chicken pox and had to soak in Epsom Salts, a bath for your dog in a doggy approved allergy soak will do wonders for the itching and irritation. A bath with formula will go a long way towards calming their inflamed skin.
- Foot soaks - great for dogs who are suffering from allergies effecting their sensitive paw pads and will give instant relief. The other benefit of a foot soak before coming in the house, is to minimise all the nasty allergens on the floor and create an allergy free space.
- Although it will be a bit of extra work, it is advisable that you do and extra bit of house work and keep the floors of your home squeaky clean. There are many great eco options for floor cleaners that eliminate toxins, so find a great chemical free floor detergent and give your house a spruce.
- Just like human allergy sufferers, pets will get extra sensitive to inflammation after they get their yearly vaccinations. Therefore it is a good idea to speak with your vet and work out a vaccination schedule that takes your pet's allergies into the equation and doesn't put their immune system under extra stress during the allergy season.
- There are so many great brands of dog food on the market these days for all your dogs specific needs, so if your dog has allergies, switch them to an anti-inflammatory diet. Anti-inflammatory kibbles are designed with a low grain ratio to reduce irritation. Or you can check out all the great resources available and prepare your dog's food from scratch with their allergies in mind.
So if you have an unfortunate doggy who has seasonal allergies, don't despair, there are plenty of things you can do to support your dog and make their lives more comfortable. Check out all the great online resources and work with your vet to create an environment, food and purchase a range of allergy free dog products to help reduce your dog's inflammation.