The flowers are blooming. The trees are budding. The birds are singing. And the sun is out longer, so the days feel longer. That’s right. Spring is here! Personally, spring is my favorite season. It’s a nice change from the cold, snowy, dark winter months. However, my dog, Rosie, probably feels different about spring. For her, spring means allergy season. Dogs typically show signs of allergies around a year of age. For Rosie, she showed signs of allergies at only six months of age.
Symptoms can vary from dog to dog, but for her, she was shedding like crazy. She had red, watery eyes. She was
itching her paws constantly. She tried to scratch herself on anything with a texture. At one point, she itched herself so much she got an infection and needed antibiotics. Rosie was all around miserable her first spring, and allergies are something she has continued to experience every spring and every fall. We spend a lot of time outside, whether that’s playing in the yard, going for walks around the neighborhood and at forest preserves, or spending time hiking. She is my first dog, and honestly, I didn’t even know dogs could have allergies. I’ve had allergies my whole life, and I felt so clueless when the vet first told me Rosie has allergies. It took a little bit, but we’ve finally found what works for Rosie to keep her comfortable during allergy season.
Tips on how to manage your dog's allergies:
1. Talk with your vet about your dog’s symptoms. This can help rule out any other health factors as well as create a starting point to help your dog with their symptoms. Many over the counter medicines you can find at your local drugstore can work for dogs. Make sure you consult your vet prior to beginning any of these. Rosie takes an allergy medicine daily, and she gets a Cytopoint shot twice a year at the vet’s office. The Cytopoint shot provides relief quickly, and its effects last most of allergy season.
2. Wipe down your pup after time spent outside. Their paws are the main area where they will be exposed to allergens. Rosie loves to roll around, so I wipe down her paws as well as her entire body. I really like wipes that have oatmeal in them because oatmeal soothes itchy, dry skin. I like to keep some wipes in my car so I can use them as soon as we leave the outdoors.
3. Bathe your pup frequently during the time when their allergies flare up. I like medicated shampoos that are designed for dogs with allergies. These shampoos are specifically formulated to provide relief for allergy symptoms. I have found a bath every week or every other week really helps Rosie. Although frequent baths help her allergy symptoms, they also dry out her skin. To soothe this, I use a conditioner. Personally, I like an anti-shedding conditioner since Rosie sheds a ton during allergy season.
4. Soak your pup’s paws in Epsom salt. Dogs paws’ are where they are exposed to allergens the most, and Epsom salt relieves inflammation and itchiness. Rosie tends to itch her paws a lot during allergy season, and the Epsom salt helps significantly.
5. Make sure your dog is eating a proper diet. There is a connection between gut health and skin health. Rosie takes a daily probiotic. This helps her digestive system get good bacteria to keep it healthy and working well.
6. There are also some supplements you can add to your dog’s diet that aid in allergy relief. One of these is bovine colostrum. It is naturally found in a dog’s mom’s milk, and it has a component
called proline-rich polypeptide. This component changes the immune system’s response to allergens and can reduce the histamine that triggers an allergic response. Quercetin is another supplement I like to add to Rosie’s food. It is found in turmeric, and it is an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory. I also add fish oil to Rosie’s food. Fish oil helps promote a silky coat as well as reduces itchy, flaky skin. Although Rosie doesn’t typically have itchy, flaky skin, it sometimes occurs because she gets extra baths during allergy season.
Seeing your pet miserable during allergy season is awful. I am not a pet professional, and it is important you consult your vet if you are going to change your dog’s diet or add supplements to your dog’s diet. However, hopefully some of these suggestions that have helped Rosie will support you as you find what works for your pet with allergies!
Want to know more about hiking with your dogs? Read our other blogs! Be sure to follow our Instagram for more daily adventures & Check out Rosie on Instagram and her hiking endeavors!!