Relief for Your Canine Companion: Discover Effective Solutions for Seasonal Allergies in Dogs · The Wildest

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Relief for Your Dog: Discover Effective Solutions for Their Seasonal Allergies

A vet explains why environmental allergies flare up and what to do about it

by Charlotte Brackett | expert review by Dr. Aletha Carson, DVM
Updated 22 March 2024
Brown terrier dog scratching its ear outdoors
Olga Moreira / Stocksy

Scratching: every dog does it, some more than others. We know this. But here’s something you may not know: itchiness can be seasonal, and if you notice that your dog is itchier in the warmer months, there may be a legit reason for that. Unlike us, it’s much harder to pinpoint what exactly is ailing your dog when they start to scratch.

We asked veterinarian Dr Aletha Carson how to tell if your itchy dog has seasonal allergies, what treatment options are available, and which breeds are more allergic than others.

Can dogs have seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies are a common problem for dogs. The causes of seasonal allergies in dogs can run the gamut from dry skin to a mosquito bite to a new detergent. Unfortunately, our dogs can’t tell us what’s up, but with allergy season upon us, it’s a good time to consider allergens as the culprits.

What are seasonal allergies in dogs? 

Just like humans, dogs can have seasonal allergies that cause them to scratch incessantly, sneeze, lick their paws or shed. Often the common culprits are the same as ours: pollen, dust and mould.

What are the signs of seasonal allergies in dogs? 

Dogs often exhibit similar allergy symptoms as humans, though they show up on their skin. Here are few of the most common seasonal allergy symptoms in dogs:

  • scratching and biting their coat or skin

  • red, inflamed or infected skin

  • excessive shedding

  • nonstop paw licking

  • licking anal glands

  • chronic ear infections or red, waxy ears

  • respiratory issues, such as difficulty breathing, coughing or wheezing

What months are allergy season for dogs?

Itching can be seasonal, and part of that is because there are different amounts of allergens in the air. Pets can be allergic to fleas, which like to come out when it’s warm. Mosquitos can cause our pets to be pretty itchy as well.

How do you treat seasonal allergies in dogs?

It really depends on the cause, but there are some fundamentals. Below are some effective treatments.

Shampoos and wipes

If allergies like pollen and grass are suspected, bathing your dog with a gentle allergen shampoo after they have been playing outside can help remove the allergens from their skin. But if you use a topical flea preventative, shampoo can wash that off, so it’s a bit of a balancing act.

Allergy vaccines

There are also allergy injections for animals, just like there are for people, that can knock allergies down to a manageable level. Your vet might offer your dog antihistamines, too.

How can you tell if it’s just seasonal scratching or a chronic skin problem?

Seasonal scratching can also be a chronic skin condition, because environmental allergies can be seasonal. It becomes a little bit of a sleuthing game to sort out exactly where the scratching is coming from and ruling out the obvious things. Have you changed your bedding? Did you wash your dog with a new shampoo? Are you using flea preventative? If your vet suspects that there’s a food component to it, they may recommend doing a hypoallergenic food trial.

Are there any natural remedies or home remedies for seasonal allergies in dogs?

Certain home remedies have been found to relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies in dogs:

  • Raw honey: though there is no scientific evidence, some experts believe that when dogs eat raw honey, it makes them more immune to the pollen allergens over time.

  • Coconut oil: if your dog is suffering from super-itchy skin, coconut oil can help relieve the itchiness when it’s used topically.

  • Apple cider vinegar: another favourite natural remedy of humans, ACV can help remove pollen and other seasonal allergies from your dog’s coat when it’s mixed with water and sprayed on its fur.

What happens if allergies are left untreated?

When dogs scratch, their nails tear at their skin, introducing bacteria. That bacteria populates the area and makes their skin even itchier. And that’s the beginning of what we call a hot spot.

When that happens, the itch can go from zero to 100 overnight and quickly become an oozy wound of horrors that’s painful, uncomfortable and needs to be aggressively treated. The dog usually earns a cone of shame and some medication. That’s why it’s important to catch that itch before it turns into something really detrimental.

Frequently asked questions

1) How do I know if my dog has seasonal allergies?

Your dog may have seasonal allergies if they exhibit excessive scratching and itching, inflamed skin, excessive shedding or paw licking, ear infections or respiratory issues.

2) How do I help a dog with seasonal allergies?

There are shampoos and wipes, allergy injections, supplements and home remedies such as spraying your dog’s fur with apple cider vinegar that can help.

3) What are signs of seasonal allergies in dogs?

Common signs include excessive scratching and itching, inflamed skin, excessive shedding or paw licking, ear infections or respiratory issues.

4) What are the most common seasonal allergies for dogs?

Dogs most commonly have seasonal allergies to pollen and mould.

5) Can seasonal allergies be prevented?

The best way to prevent or relieve seasonal allergy symptoms is to reduce your dog’s exposure to allergens by limiting time outside, though that’s difficult.

6) What are the breeds of dogs that are most prone to allergies? 

Certain breeds are known to have more allergies, which is likely genetic. Pit Bull mixes (American Staffordshire Terriers) and West Highland White Terrier are common.


charlotte brackett

Charlotte Brackett

Charlotte Brackett is a writer and content manager for the Pet Insight Project, which gathers data about dog behavior that may improve the lives of pets. She enjoys interviewing veterinarians and writing articles that help make dog ownership as easy and fun as possible. Charlotte earned a degree in journalism and English from the University of Richmond.

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