We’re in the heat of summer now, but pretty soon, the temperatures will dip, the days will get shorter and fall will be in the air. And when fall rolls around, seasonal allergies tend to, as well—for both humans and our pets!
Many people don’t realize that dogs can experience seasonal allergies much like humans can, complete with itchy and watery eyes, itchy skin, sneezing and more. If you know your dog has allergies or you suspect it does, get prepared for fall ahead of time to minimize its symptoms and prevent more serious complications like hot spots and infections.
Visit the vet
If you notice that your dog has allergy symptom flare-ups during specific parts of the year, it probably has seasonal allergies. These allergies can develop over time and may have only recently appeared in your pup.
If you’ve noticed your dog displaying allergy symptoms, make sure to have it tested for allergies if you haven’t already. Allergy testing can be extremely beneficial, since it can highlight which specific allergens trigger a response in your dog so you can try to avoid them as much as possible. Testing can also help your vet create a personalized treatment plan for your
During allergy testing, your vet will likely do either a blood test or a skin-prick test to determine your dog’s specific allergies.
Blood tests measure immunoglobin levels in your dog’s blood to determine if your dog is allergic to specific things like pollen, trees, mold and more. Blood testing is most appropriate for environmental allergies, rather than food allergies. Blood tests are convenient and don’t require your dog to be shaved, but getting the test results can take up to a few weeks.
Skin-prick tests, also called intradermal tests, involve a series of tiny injections of allergens under your dog’s skin. After the injections, the vet will wait for a skin response (usually a red bump) to appear in your dog to determine which of the tested allergens produce an allergy response. This test is good for obtaining results much faster, but does require shaving a patch of your dog’s skin.
Once results have been obtained, you’ll have a better idea of what things you dog is allergic to. This gives you a better opportunity to avoid those allergens as much as you can. It also allows you to create a targeted treatment plan.
Depending on the severity of your dog’s allergies, your vet may recommend steroid injections for your pup to reduce its symptoms for a longer time. They may also recommend that you administer antihistamines as needed.
Buy a HEPA filter
Many seasonal allergies are not only present on the ground, but also in the air. This means that if you enjoy a cool fall breeze now and then, the open window could waft pollen and allergens into your home.
Dogs also tend to pick up allergens on their feet after walks and outdoor playtime. Both things can bring and trap allergens in the home, which can cause your dog’s symptoms to get even worse, since it will be surrounded by allergens constantly.
To minimize this, consider purchasing a HEPA air filter for your central air system or placing standalone HEPA purifiers in the spaces of the home your dog hangs out the most.
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. These filters are known to remove up to 99.5 percent of particles from the air. These filters can help trap pollen, dirt and other airborne allergens present in your home to allow your dog to breathe easier and remain comfortable.
Get prepped with these tips
After you have your dog tested for allergies and install HEPA filters to keep the air clean, there’s even more you can do to help minimize your dog’s exposure and reaction to seasonal allergens.
- Stock up on allergy supplements: Make sure you’re purchasing pet-safe allergy supplements and products so you can keep your dog comfortable as soon as seasonal allergies start to kick in. You might also want to inquire about prescription shampoo that will help remove allergens and soothe irritated skin throughout the season.
- Scope out parks and areas: If your go-to park is loaded with the trees and grasses your dog reacts poorly to in fall, it might be time to find other spots to walk and play without as many allergens. Take time to scope out new parks to try out later.
- Plan to walk at the right times: Seasonal allergies can be minimized by protecting your pup from allergen exposure. Sometimes, that means not walking in the early morning or other times pollen is high. Make an effort to adjust your schedule or reschedule dog walkers for fall to help your dog stay comfortable and active.
By staying proactive and making a plan for fall, you can help your dog breathe and relax more easily without all the negative side effects of seasonal allergies.