Dog Allergies present in many ways, such as sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, inflammation, and nausea.
Treat summer allergies in dogs with at-home remedies.
In more severe cases, veterinarians administer allergy treatment options for your dog.
When the weather warms up, summer allergies in dogs creep in. Pollen, mites, plants, and animal exposure are all triggers for a pup with allergies.
Summertime is fun for both you and your dog. Getting to play in the yard, go on longer walks, and accompany you on camping trips is the highlight of their year. Those warmer months, however, are the most challenging times for combatting summer allergies in dogs.
Relief is possible. Understand how allergies work, identify their triggers, and learn ways to heal uncomfortable symptoms to maintain your dog’s health and happiness.
Allergies occur when your dog comes into contact with environmental allergens. Their immune system recognizes these foreign particles as a threat and works hard to remove them from their body. The immune response to allergens creates various symptoms like itching, coughing, or sneezing – depending on your dog’s physical health and genetics.
Dogs are susceptible to a wide variety of summer allergies, but the following are the most common:
Fleas and Ticks
Dogs who play in the yard are prone to fleas and ticks. These pests are not only uncomfortable but are a potential allergy trigger.
Dr. Hubbard, a veterinary dermatologist from the Alabama Veterinary Allergy and Dermatology Service, recommends precautions against fleas and pests:
“I would encourage pet owners to make sure that their pets 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 would also encourage pet owners to bathe their pets in a medicated shampoo once a week if they have a skin condition.”
These bugs are most prevalent during summer months, so check your canine periodically to ensure they aren’t hiding in their fur. Excessive scratching is the most common sign of these pests.
It might sound crazy, but your dog can be allergic to grass!
How is that possible? Grasses produce pollen like other plants, and this pollen triggers an immune response in your dog. The pollen is a foreign threat to your dog’s system, so their immune system creates symptoms such as itchiness, watery eyes, and sneezing to remove the pollen from their body.
Grass pollen isn’t inherently bad, but some dogs have sensitive immune systems that will react to grass pollen.
Dust mites exist throughout your home no matter what time of year it is (or how much you clean).
Summer offers higher levels of humidity, which allows for a higher amount of dust mites. These mites irritate your dog’s skin, causing inflammation and redness. Other symptoms include ear infections, eye issues, and coughing.
Mold allergies are common in dogs. While playing outside in the yard, your dog comes into contact with mold and experiences symptoms such as sneezing or a stuffy nose.
Summer’s humid temperatures and warmer rain increase the quantity of mold spores in the air.
Being exposed to wild animals is also a trigger for some dogs’ allergies. Cats, birds, and even other dogs create allergy symptoms in some canines.
If your dog is sensitive to other animals, protect them from wild animals or non-familiar neighbor pets.
How to Diagnose Summer Allergies
Every dog is unique and will have their own struggles. Still, use these methods to diagnose your dog’s allergy symptoms.
Your veterinarian is able to diagnose many allergies simply by examining your dog’s symptoms. When they know what potential allergens your dog has been exposed to, it’s easy for them to connect the dots.
Before taking your dog to the vet, walk through your house and yard and make a note of anything that could be causing their symptoms. Based on this information, your vet makes a diagnosis and develops a treatment plan.
Veterinarians also administer allergy testing for dogs with summer allergies. There are two main types of allergy testing: a skin test and a blood test.
For a skin test, your vet administers small amounts of allergens into your dog’s skin. If a particular allergen causes a reaction on the skin, they’ve identified the issue. Because the allergen exposure is minimal, the symptoms are mild and resolve quickly.
A blood test uses a sample of your dog’s blood and scans it for antibodies. Your vet looks for antibodies associated with summer allergen triggers. If they find these antibodies, they create a treatment plan that often involves medication.
Summer Allergy Treatment Options
Have you just discovered your dog has summer allergies? Don’t panic! Many treatment options are available for fighting off their symptoms all season.
Steroids are a vet-approved solution to your dog’s allergies. Steroids work by suppressing the immune response causing your pet’s painful symptoms.
They also reduce inflammation throughout the body, giving your canine much-needed relief.
This medication isn’t a long-term solution because it has adverse side effects. Prolonged use suppresses the immune system too strongly, and when your dog is no longer on the steroids, their symptoms come back in full force.
When your dog ingests an allergen, their cells release compounds called histamines as part of the immune response. Histamines cause inflammation and other troublesome bodily symptoms to purge the allergens from the body.
When your dog suffers an allergic reaction, give them an antihistamine to block the release of histamines and calm symptoms.
Your vet might recommend an antihistamine prescription for long-term use or advise you to use an over-the-counter option if your dog’s allergies are mild.
Antihistamines cause drowsiness, so only give your dog this medication at an appropriate time.
Immunotherapy is an effective way to overcome summer allergies in dogs. This method works by injecting your dog with allergy shots containing low doses of allergens.
Initially, they experience a mild reaction to the allergens as their immune system works to eradicate them.
After a while, their immune system becomes used to the allergens and no longer reacts as strongly as before.
While this option effectively reduces the severity of your dog’s symptoms, it’s a long-term process. These shots are only available in an office setting, so prepare for multiple trips to your veterinarian.
Improve your dog’s allergy symptoms by using an allergy-fighting shampoo. These products are available at the pet store and online and are designed to soothe irritated skin and remove allergens from your pet’s fur.
It’s important to only use reputable body care products on your dog as some include toxic ingredients.
At Home Remedies
Natural at-home remedies are excellent for soothing summer allergies in dogs.
A probiotic is a supplement containing beneficial bacteria for your dog’s gut health. Giving your dog a probiotic supplement strengthens their immune system, potentially decreasing the severity of their symptoms.
Seventy to eighty percent of a dog’s immune system exists within their gut, making this an important part of the body when combating allergies.
Probiotics replenish your dog’s gut with beneficial bacteria while driving out the harmful bacteria negatively impacting their immune health. These supplements aren’t a magic reset button and don’t happen overnight, but they slowly restructure the gut microbiome with time.
Quercetin is an over-the-counter medication that works as a natural antihistamine. Quercetin comes from plant pigment and is found in foods such as apples, onions, and berries.
Give your dog quercetin whenever they experience allergy symptoms or right before you know they are going to interact with an allergen.
Talk to your vet about giving your dog quercetin, as certain health conditions may prevent them from being able to take it safely.
Certain summer allergies cause inflammation in the paws and other parts of your dog’s body.
If your dog allows it, use a cold pack on these inflamed areas to reduce swelling.
Only apply the cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes at a time and repeat the process as necessary.
Coconut oil is one of nature’s most versatile at-home remedies. Its hydrating properties are helpful for dogs with skin allergies.
Coconut oil is very mild and relatively safe for your dog unless they have a coconut allergy.
Dry, flaky skin – a telltale sign of summer allergies – irritates your pup. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to their problem areas and fully rub it in.
After a bath, rub coconut oil into their coat to give them long-lasting protection.
Dogs shouldn’t drink tea, but a tea-infused bath calms their symptoms. Herbal teas have anti-inflammatory properties when both ingested and applied to the skin.
Chamomile and calendula are both excellent for inflammation.
Make a few cups of tea, let the beverage cool, and add it to your dog’s bath water. Allow them to soak for 20 to 30 minutes to soothe their symptoms. Repeat these baths as necessary.
Prevention is the most effective method for combatting your dog’s summer allergies. Some allergies, like pollen, are unavoidable. Take these steps to minimize their exposure.
Check the Pollen Status
During the summer months, check the pollen allergy report every day. This way you stay on top of your dog’s allergies and know when to have them indoors or administer medication.
If you take your dog on camping or hiking trips or plan to be outside with them for an extended period, keep an eye on the pollen report to prevent any overexposure to the allergen.
Keep Up on Your Dusting
Dust mites exist where dust is present. Use high-quality dusting products to make sure the dust is fully removed and not just pushed around.
During summer, maintaining routine dusting is essential. Dust needs to stay at a minimum in areas that your dog spends a lot of time in.
Adding an air purifier to your home benefits you and your dogs.
Find one with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which traps tiny particles in your home’s air that are allergens for your dogs. These purifiers remove mold, pollen, dust, and bacteria from the air, providing your dog with a clean environment.
Do you have a summer garden? If so, do you only plant non-toxic plants and flowers?
Many common plants are toxic for dogs and cause allergic reactions. Daisies, amaryllis, irises, hydrangea, morning glory, and jade are just a few that aren’t safe for dogs.
Plant these in dog-free zones surrounded by garden fencing. Watch your dog when they’re in the yard – especially if your neighbor’s garden is near your fence.
On walks, usher your dog away from any unknown plants, and don’t let them ingest anything that may cause harm.
Aster, camellia, sunflower, rosemary, fennel, and snapdragons are some dog-safe plants to include in your garden.
Depending on your dog’s breed, they may have fur that needs more frequent grooming during the summer.
When they play outside, pollen and other allergens get stuck in their fur and exacerbate symptoms.
Give your dog regular baths and brush out their coat in between. This temporarily removes any allergens from their fur.
Also, add a small amount of apple cider vinegar to their baths to soothe inflamed, irritated skin.
Keep Your Windows Closed
Opening your windows during summer brings in fresh air. However, this fresh air often carries allergens that trigger both you and your dog.
Opening your windows periodically is fine, but having them open for extended periods increases pollen buildup in your home. After opening your windows, run an air purifier to remove any allergens from the air.
Save Your Pup This Summer
Get ahead of your dog’s summer allergies. If you know what allergens irritate them, keep the necessary medications and equipment nearby to make their summer months comfortable. If you don’t know what’s causing your dog’s symptoms, contact your vet for an evaluation.
Summer allergies in dogs aren’t always avoidable, but the right at-home remedies and preventative measures make them minimal. Whether you and your pup enjoy going for walks in the park, weekend camping trips, or playing fetch in the yard, say goodbye to summer allergy symptoms.