Does your dog suffer from allergies? It may be more common than you think. Just like humans, pets can have allergies, which become especially apparent during season changes. About 10% of dogs develop environmental allergies, and veterinarians report that the number of cases grows each year. Common clinical signs of pet allergies include:
- Fur Loss
- Nasal and eye discharge
- Change in fur color
- Excessive scratching
- Chewing of body parts.
These allergies are often reactions to the same kinds of things that people are allergic to: pollen, mold, and other outdoor allergens. If your dog does have allergies, what can you do to help them? Here are 6 tips that can help reduce your pet’s discomfort and allergy symptoms.
1. Regular Bathing
Regularly bathe your pet with a hypoallergenic shampoo. Bathing helps to not only remove allergens but also moisturize the skin and wash away dirt and bacteria. Specialists recommend bathing your pet every 2-3 weeks. Be sure not to over-bathe your dog, which can actually irritate their skin as well. Your vet can help you determine the best shampoo and bathing schedule for your pup to relieve their allergies.
2. Foot Soaks
Your pet will pick up allergens on their feet when the spend time outside and then will spread those allergens to their fur, beds, and the rest of the house. Soaking your pet’s feet at the end of any day where they have been in contact with allergies, lawn chemicals, or other irritants can significantly lessen what they track around their sleeping areas. Even regularly wiping their paws after walks can help.
3. Thorough Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
Allergens that are brought in on your pet’s paws, your shoes, and even just the air will settle in your carpets and upholstery, places your dog spends a lot of time. Professionally clean your carpets and upholstery in order to remove built-up allergens and dirt. Then maintain your clean surfaces by vacuuming every few days with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum.
4. Close Windows and Doors
As plants wither in the fall, ragweed and other common allergens are carried into your home from the air. Reduce the number of access points for allergens to enter your home by keeping doors and windows closed as much as possible.
5. Diets and Supplements
Supplements such as biotin or omega-3 can decrease itching and improve the health of your dog’s coat. Making dietary changes can also help with allergies. Consult your veterinarian before making changes to your dog’s diet.
6. Allergy Treatments
Just like humans, pets can be tested and treated for severe allergies. There are two main methods of treatment:
- Injection: Depending on the severity of the pet’s allergies, owners may need to give their pets a shot every few days, gradually decreasing the amount over time.
- Sublingual Immunotherapy under the Tongue (SLIT): Instead of giving an injection, owners squeeze a pump of medication into the pet’s mouth.
Consult your veterinarian if you think your dog will benefit from allergy treatments.