Grass allergies in dogs

Key Points 

Do you notice your dog itching and scratching themselves after they play outside? Externally, dogs are strong, carefree, and curious pets who enjoy exploring everything they can get their nose into. Internally, however, your dog's immune system may not be as strong, causing certain symptoms to arise when they're exposed to allergens. Grass allergies in dogs are common, and your dog's scratching and excessive licking could be a sign of this condition.

Specific symptoms during peak pollen season point to grass allergies in dogs. There are many remedies to ease your dog's grass allergy symptoms, both medically and naturally, and a few precautions to take around your home to make your dog comfortable.

Why Are Some Dogs Allergic to Grass?

Your dog's immune system dictates which allergies they have. A weak or sensitive immune system reacts to allergens quickly, working to eradicate them from the body immediately. Your dog reacts strongly to allergens when their immune system kicks into overdrive.

Grass contains pollen; just like with human allergies, your dog's immune system reacts to the pollen in the grass if they have an allergy. Depending on the time of year, your dog's allergies experience highs and lows. During their highs, it's important to find solutions to offer them relief from their symptoms.

Grass Allergy Symptoms

Pay attention to when grass allergy symptoms occur to help you pinpoint the cause. The best way to determine whether your dog has a grass allergy is to observe them when they play outside and when they come back inside the house.

Does your dog sneeze and constantly scratch when playing in the grass? Do they display the common symptoms immediately after coming inside? If so, your dog's immune system is likely sensitive to grass pollen.

Keep an eye out for these common symptoms of grass allergies in dogs:

Skin Irritation

When your dog is allergic to grass, red, irritated patches appear on their skin. The redness occurs not only due to an increase in scratching but also inflammation caused by the pollen.

Excessive Itching

Your dog's itching increases exponentially as a result of grass allergies. Finding a remedy quickly is important if the itching is consistent and constant. Excessive itching may result in torn skin or irritation.

Licking and Chewing

Licking may seem like an unusual side effect of grass allergies, but it's a common symptom. Your dog licks excessively due to pain or swelling in different areas of their body. The licking soothes these areas until the pain or itching subsides.

Chewing is also another possible side effect. It soothes painful or itchy areas such as the paws or legs.

Other Conditions That Mimic Grass Allergies

While grass allergies are common in canines, many other allergy conditions mimic these symptoms.

If your dog is allergic to certain foods, they experience similar symptoms. Another possible cause of allergies is external sources such as grooming products or cleaning supplies you use around your home.

Veterinarian Dr. Hubbard recommends what to do if your dog is experiencing skin issues

"I would encourage pet owners to ensure they are on flea control year-round. There is the possibility their pets may have flea allergies, and if they are not on a veterinary-recommended flea preventative, it could result in a skin flare-up. I will also encourage pet owners to bathe their pets in a medicated shampoo once a week if they have a skin condition."

Fleas are also another common source of allergy symptoms in dogs. Sifting through your pup's fur is an easy way to spot them.

When Do Grass Allergies Develop in Dogs?

Grass allergies can develop at any age. However, your dog's grass allergies are most likely to occur when they are one year old due to more frequent contact with grass pollen by this age.

Your dog's immune system is more sensitive when they're a puppy, so grass allergies that develop earlier in their life aren't necessarily set in stone. From the moment you notice allergy symptoms in your canine, have a vet examine their symptoms and decide on a game plan for minimizing them in the future.

How Your Vet Treats Grass Allergies

Your dog loves nothing more than roaming the background and rolling around in fresh-cut grass. To ensure they continue playing outside without allergy symptoms diminishing their quality of life, take your dog to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Allergy Tests

The first step in combating your dog's grass allergies is determining whether they have the allergy. Some allergies, such as food allergies, are easier to spot on your own.

With food allergies, allergic reactions occur within a certain period of time after your dog has eaten. An elimination diet removes potential allergens from their meals and allows you to determine what foods or ingredients are causing their symptoms.

However, grass allergies are much harder to identify. Your dog probably goes outside multiple times a day, so there isn't necessarily a period of time when they aren't exposed to grass pollen. Since removing grass from your yard typically isn't an option, it's best to take your dog to the veterinarian to test them for a grass allergy.

There are two ways your vet tests for allergies. The first method is a skin test — your vet inserts small amounts of allergens into your dog's skin. A reaction from these allergens pinpoints exactly what triggers your canine's immune system. Once your vet identifies the specific allergen, they will determine the best treatment. 

The second method is through a blood test. Your vet measures the antibodies in your dog's blood and compares them to other antibodies associated with common allergens.  

Both tests are useful in identifying your dog's allergies, but they aren't foolproof. Even if it's difficult to identify your dog's specific allergies, with enough information, your vet can determine the best course of treatment to combat your pup's symptoms. 


An antihistamine is one option your vet either prescribes or recommends as an over-the-counter supplement. Histamines are compounds released as part of the body's immune response to allergens. These histamines create symptoms throughout the body — like sneezing and itching. Antihistamines block histamine production, preventing those symptoms from arising when in contact with allergens. 

Taking an antihistamine is relatively safe for your pup, but drowsiness or hyperactivity are two side effects that could affect their daily life if taken regularly.


Lastly, immunotherapy is another option available from your veterinarian. Immunotherapy exposes your dog to small amounts of grass pollen over time. The vet increases pollen exposure at each appointment, but just enough not to activate an immune response. After a few months to a year, your dog's immune system doesn't react as strongly — or at all — when exposed to allergens.

There are some downsides to immunotherapy. It isn't always successful, so don't count on it as a surefire way to rid your dog of symptoms. Additionally, because this process occurs over a number of veterinarian appointments, it gets costly.

Immunotherapy is not the best route for allergens your dog rarely comes into contact with. However, because grass pollen exposure is constant and sustained over your dog's life, immunotherapy is effective.

Natural Remedies for Grass Allergy Symptoms

While there are many over-the-counter or veterinarian-prescribed methods for treating grass allergies in dogs, a few natural remedies also soothe your dog's symptoms. 

Coconut Oil

If your dog experiences itchy skin, keep their skin and coat moisturized to prevent further damage. Moisturize your pup with coconut oil, which is very safe and mild for dogs, by rubbing the oil into any sensitive spots. Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and soothes irritated or inflamed skin when used frequently. Apply the oil after baths or daily while your dog is experiencing symptoms. 

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea contains anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties that combat your dog's grass allergies.

While allowing your dog to drink the tea isn't necessarily beneficial, adding a cup or two to their bath is a great way to relieve their body. Brew the tea as normal, and after it's no longer hot, add it to their bath water. For as long as your pup allows, soak them in the water, rubbing it into their coat and problem areas. 


Quercetin is a natural compound found in fruits and vegetables. This supplement stabilizes the cells that produce histamine and lowers the body's reaction to allergens. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine alternative if your dog doesn't respond well to an over-the-counter option. 

Aloe Vera

Your dog probably enjoys laying in the grass, which unfortunately means their skin suffers the consequences. Aloe vera is your dog's best friend when they suffer from skin irritation. It boosts the skin's healing process. Use aloe vera gel directly from the plant, or find a gel version to spread over your dog's problem areas. 

Apple Cider Vinegar Baths

Apple cider vinegar is anti-inflammatory and great for combating grass allergy symptoms. Due to its high acidity levels, never apply apple cider vinegar directly to your dog's skin or it could cause further irritation. Start small, only adding a couple of cups of vinegar to your dog's bath. If they tolerate it well, use two parts water to one part apple cider vinegar next time. Allow your dog to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Afterward, drain the tub and rinse your dog's coat clean. 

How to Prevent Grass Allergy Symptoms

While keeping your dog away from grass isn't always possible, there are a few things to do around the home to keep the occurrence of grass pollen to a minimum. 

Keep Your Windows Shut

Opening your windows is a great way to let fresh air into your home, but with that fresh air comes grass pollen. Depending on where you live, grass pollen is more prevalent at certain times of the year. Keep your windows closed as much as possible during high-pollen months. 

Use an Air Purifier 

If keeping your windows closed isn't an option, add an air purifier or two to your home. These filters remove grass pollen from your home's air, making it easier for your dog to avoid exposure when inside. Keep an air purifier near your dog throughout your home, especially where they sleep. 

Brush Out Your Dog's Coat

After your dog comes inside from playing in the grass, brush out their coat. Grass pollen gets stuck to your dog's fur, causing allergy symptoms. Regular brushings remove excess pollen and other potential allergens from your dog's skin, minimizing their overall symptoms. 

Use Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements

Adding a supplement of omega-3 fatty acids to your dog's diet combats overall inflammation throughout the body. Omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish and certain nuts and seeds. They include EPA and DHA, which are essential in keeping inflammation at bay. Adding fish oil or omega-3 supplements to your dog's daily meals ensures they get enough of these essential acids. 

Don't Try to Stop the Impossible

If you live in a house with a yard, don't try to stop your dog from playing outside. Even while going for walks, it's almost impossible to avoid exposing your dog to grass pollen. 

Implement some of the methods in this article into your dog's routine. While you can't avoid grass pollen altogether, work towards combating it early, keeping your dog's symptoms away, or diminishing them substantially. 

If natural remedies don't work, consider taking your dog to the vet for testing. Even if you're sure they have a grass allergy, another cause may be responsible for their symptoms. Regardless of the reason for your pup's allergies, take advantage of the many options out there so they can live a normal life and enjoy the freedom of playing outdoors. 

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