Hay fever in dogs
Allergies are common in dogs, as in people these days. They reflect a weakened immune system. This can be explained by a buildup of toxins in the tissues and blood, which affects their abiliy to function.
Dogs whohave seasonal symptoms have hay fever, called “atopy”. These dogs may have some reactions to food as well, which can increase their allergic symptoms during this time of the year.
Typical problems are:
Itching/scratching on ears, sides, face, rectal area, armpits.
Recurring ear infections
Pink/red skin and /or ears (white is normal)
Red, itchy eyes
Recurrent skin infections (Staph or yeast)
Secondary seborrhea (oily/flakey skin)
Redness between toes
Most dogs do not show the sneezing and runny nose typical of human atopy, because their allergy receptors are in their skin, rather than the nose and eyes.
What can you do to ease your dog’s suffering?
The supplements and homeopathics that you are using should, over a period of 6 monhs to 2 years, help your dog to tolerate the pollens and molds with little to no symptoms. In the meantime, use these methods to reduce the amount of allergen he is exposed to, which should help him be more comfy.
Home treatments for hay fever:
Wipe feet with a wet cloth after a trip outside to remove pollens and molds.
Keep windows closed and the A/C on during warm, windy days. This is when pollen counts are the highest.
Consider 1 or 2 good quality HEPA floor filters for rooms where your dog spends most of his time. Be sure these are designed to clean the size of the room.
Vacuum 2X weekly, preferably with a HEPA vacuum, to remove allergens from carpet.
For dogs who react to molds (symptoms at first thaw in spring and wetterdays), try to keep your basement humidity level low. Molds growing there may increase his reactivity to outdoor molds. Picking up leaves in the fall will also reduce mold exposure out doors.
For winter itchy dogs (dust reactive), use a good quality furnace filter and replace monthly. Again, vacuum 2X weekly with a HEPA vacuum to reduce dust collecting in carpet. Vacuum cloth furniture occasionally if your pet spends time here. A safe product called diatomaceous earth , available from feed and farm or pool stores, can be used every 2 months or so during winter to reduce dust mite population in carpets. Dust allergic dogs feel better out side, so take Fido along on the family sledding trip!
Wash pet bedding every 1-2 weeks during his “bad” season.
Consider a hypoallergenic food trial if your dog has ANY skin, ear or intestinal issues year-round, even if his symptoms are mild during his “good” season. The allergic threshold is the point when the body has contacted enough allergen to cause symptoms- kind of like a cup overflowing with water. If your dog has food sensitivity, you can really help him by avoiding these foods, at least during his bad season.
Use Aveeno bath (available at grocery and drug stores) @ 2-3 T per large spray bottle to soothe irritated skin. This can be kept in the fridge and shaken before used. It is simply ground up oatmeal, so is very safe for topical use and can be applied frequently if needed.
Don’t say “no” to medication if your pet is really suffering. Steroids and antihistamines can be used short term for pets who really need them, and I find that a reduced dose can often be used, while still getting relief.