After a long and cold winter, most people and their pets are eager for the warmer weather and longer days of spring. But if you have a pet with seasonal allergies, you might feel the exact opposite! Helping a pup manage springtime allergies can be challenging—you’d do almost anything to save them from the scratching, licking, sneezing and inflammation that atopic dermatitis can cause.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can make spring a fun and irritation-free time for your pup! Use these seven steps to help your dog avoid an allergic reaction to springtime’s many allergy triggers.
- Get your pup allergy tested: If last spring was a nightmare for your dog because of their allergies, you’ll want to take action as early as possible this year. If you know that your dog suffers from seasonal allergies but you aren’t sure of the exact cause, visit your veterinarian and have them conduct an allergy test. By exposing your dog to a variety of common allergens, your vet can help you determine which pollens, grasses and materials will cause your dog to go haywire with scratching and which ones are safe for them to frolic in.
- Add omega-3s to the diet: An omega-3 fatty acid supplement can be added to your dog’s food every day to help their body fight off the inflammation and itchiness that come with allergies. Omega-3s help regulate the body’s inflammatory response, as well as bolster the immune system. Aside from allergy benefits, omega-3s are great for your dog’s health in many other ways, including joint and cardiovascular health.
- Stock up on allergy supplements: It doesn’t hurt to be prepared! Stocking up on herbal allergy supplements will ensure that you’re able to soothe your dog’s allergy symptoms as soon as they start. If you know the airborne pollen count is high but you can’t avoid heading outside, it may be useful to administer supplements to your dog before going out to minimize the chances of symptoms like watery eyes, sneezing and mucus buildup.
- Invest in a HEPA filter: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters work to remove up to 99 percent of airborne particles from your home’s air. Purchasing a HEPA filter and placing it in the room your dog spends most of their time can help keep the air free of allergens, so your dog doesn’t have a reaction. Some additional household cleaning may also be helpful, especially if you like to keep the windows open.
- Check pollen counts: Online resources like weather websites often display the pollen counts for a given region. Some even go so far as to note what types of pollen are most prevalent. Make a habit of checking the pollen counts for the day or week before taking your pup outside. If the pollen count is high, their chances of having an allergic reaction to airborne particles will be higher!
- Choose indoor activities: If the pollen count is high or you’d rather not expose your pup to potential allergens outdoors, choose another activity to help your dog get exercise. There are lots of indoor activity centers for dogs, including indoor swimming pools, doggie daycare centers and indoor running tracks. Playing inside can reduce your dog’s exposure to their allergens and make them more comfortable throughout the season.
- Give regular baths: Allergens are sneaky—they can cling to your dog’s paws and fur after a walk or a thorough roll in the grass. This means your dog carries them home with them and later transfers them onto your carpet or their dog bed, perpetuating their exposure. Giving your dog more frequent baths in the springtime can help with this by washing away the allergens in your dog’s coat and leaving them squeaky clean! Plus, if your dog is already experiencing dermatological symptoms of allergies, a soothing shampoo can help ease discomfort on their skin.
Of course, these tips aren’t fool proof. Springtime allergens are extremely prevalent, so there’s a chance your dog will develop symptoms in spite of your best planning. Herbal supplements may offer some relief, but if your dog’s symptoms are leading them to harm their skin or causing secondary problems like infections, visit your vet to discuss other approaches like over-the-counter medications or steroids.
Dog allergies will never go away, so it’s best to observe when and why your dog’s symptoms begin to flare up and make a plan to prevent them in the future. By taking a proactive approach to allergy season, you can help your dog enjoy springtime without the irritation.