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Springtime is the season of allergies for many people. In fact, more than 50 million Americans suffer from them each year. But allergies don't just affect humans, they also affect our dogs. According to vets, seasonal allergies are a major issue for pets. Although there are a wide variety of allergens for dogs, the most common ones are grass, pollen, trees and environmental pollutants. Know if your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies with these signs and symptoms:
Itching is one of the most common symptoms of seasonal allergies for pets. Dogs typically scratch or bite themselves to relieve itchiness. This can also lead to the next symptom.
Skin irritation and infection are also common signs of seasonal allergies. Red and inflamed skin can be caused by scratching or biting. But allergens can also cause rashes, hives and hot spots (when the skin is so inflamed it turns red and may bleed). These issues often occur around our dog's chins and mouths, as well as where their bodies touch the ground most (like the stomach, feet and between the toes).
Another symptom of seasonal allergies are excessive shedding or hair loss. This can also be related to itchiness, as excessive scratching and biting can be a cause. Dandruff can occur as well because allergies dry the skin out, causing it to flake.
Dogs do lick their paws on a normal basis. That being said, obsessive or compulsive paw licking is not normal and is often a sign of seasonal allergies. Especially, when accompanied by red, inflamed and irritated skin or hair loss.
Allergies often manifest in a dog's ears, be it itchiness or infection. You may see your dog scratching his or her ears more often than normal. And for dogs with floppy ears, such as Basset Hounds, ear infections (especially chronic ones) are a common sign of allergies. Symptoms of an infection include head shaking and red, waxy or odorous ears.
Another sign of seasonal allergies is "face rubbing," which is when your dog rubs his or her face against surfaces. This behavior is a method for relieving itchiness or discomfort, as well as a way to try to push out histamines and allergens.
Scooting or licking the anal region is one more sign of seasonal allergies. These behaviors are related to face rubbing in that they are two more ways dogs try to expel histamines and allergens from the body.
One symptom of seasonal allergies that dogs have in common with humans are uncomfortable reactions to the eyes. These include redness, itchiness, puffiness and watering.
Another symptom that both humans and dogs experience is sneezing and sniffling. Dogs naturally have runny noses, but continued sneezing and sniffling is different and likely a sign of allergies.
A less common symptom of seasonal allergies (and much more common in cats than dogs), is respiratory issues. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing and panting or difficulty breathing. If you see these in your pet, it's best to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
If you see any of these signs and symptoms, take your dog to the vet to be evaluated. They'll likely do testing and come up with a treatment from there. It's important to note that pet allergies can't be cured. That being said, they can be successfully managed.