Signs Your Dog Has Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies are as big a problem for dogs as they are for humans.  These allergies are generally to trees, grass, and pollen.  There is not really a way to keep your pet away from these allergens as they go out to potty, play, and roll in the grass.  Here are some indicators that your dog may have seasonal allergies:

  • Scratching and biting at his skin.  If your dog sits down and scratches himself after almost every trip outside, he probably itches badly. He may actually bite himself and scratch hard enough to make holes in his skin, leading to infection.  A bath using a gentle shampoo, such as an oatmeal shampoo for sensitive skin, can help wash the allergens off of the dog.
  • Inflamed and infected skin. Your dog may scratch so intensely that he makes his skin become red and inflamed.  More scratching can lead to an actual wound that can be difficult to heal.  Putting witch hazel on the wounds can offer temporary relief, but the dog will need to see a veterinarian for help with this problem.
  • Paw licking.  All dogs lick their paws on occasion, but this is compulsive licking, not cleaning.  They can be so compulsive about this licking that they will lame themselves by causing sores on the bottoms of their feet.  If your dog is this miserable, a trip to the veterinarian is warranted.
  • Scooting and licking the anal region. While this behavior is often associated with needing their anal glands expressed, it can be because of an itchy bottom.  If the dog shows other signs of itchiness, you should take him to your veterinarian to make sure it is allergies and not the anal glands.
  • Chronic ear infections. Dogs that shake their heads and/or have red wax in their ears may be suffering from allergies. Repeated ear infections may have allergies at their root, as well.  Ear infections may take ten to twelve weeks to completely heal after the allergy that caused them is treated.  Untreated ear infections can leave your dog deaf.  It can also leave your dog head shy because he is in a great deal of pain.  This pain can cause even a good dog to bite.

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it is important to take him to your veterinarian.  The veterinarian will perform tests to see which allergens are bothering your dog and will recommend a course of treatment.  It is important that you do not give the dog an antihistamine designed for humans unless the veterinarian tells you to.  Many antihistamines are toxic to dogs or have wildly different dosages from humans. Doggy antihistamine doses are based on the dogs weight, so a Chihuahua gets a lot less than a Great Dane.    In addition, your dog may be put on a drug such as prednisone to reduce the inflammation of his skin and help him heal any skin problems he might have from scratching and biting his skin.