Can dogs get hayfever?

As the warmer weather rolls in and flowers bloom, so does pollen – and with it, the dreaded hayfever season. Just like us, our dogs can also suffer from seasonal allergies. 

Let’s explore hayfever and how you can support your pooch if they suffer during the warmer months… 

What is hayfever?

Hayfever is an allergic reaction to pollen. When these allergens come into contact with the nose and eyes, it causes inflammation in the lining and triggers symptoms such as sneezing and itching. 

Can dogs get hayfever?

Yes, just as we might experience hayfever, dogs can also be prone to similar allergies. While we might not react to the same types of pollen, our canine companions can be allergic to things like grass, tree pollen, and dust mites. 

Symptoms of hayfever in dogs

While our dogs cannot express their discomfort with words, there are several telltale signs that might suggest your dog has hayfever. These include: 

  • Excessive scratching, or licking – your dog might start constantly scratching or licking their skin, especially around their paws, ears, or face.  
  • Red, inflamed skin – hayfever can cause redness, inflammation, hot spots, and flaky skin.
  • Itchy, runny eyes – the irritation caused by their reaction to pollen can make your dog’s eyes watery and irritated.
  • Sneezing and/or coughing – just like humans, dogs with hayfever may start sneezing or develop a persistent cough.

Diagnosing hayfever in dogs

Diagnosing hayfever in dogs can be tricky, as the symptoms can often indicate another medical condition. Here are some of the methods your vet might use to determine whether your dog has hayfever:  

  • Physical examination: Your vet is likely to start with a thorough physical examination, paying close attention to your dog’s skin, ears, and breathing.
  • Allergy testing: Skin prick tests or blood tests can detect antibodies in the immune system, helping identify specific allergens that trigger your dog's reactions.
  • Elimination diet: Your vet could recommend an elimination diet to help rule out food allergies as a potential cause of your dog's symptoms. 

How to treat hayfever in dogs

Treating your dog’s hayfever will depend entirely on the severity of their condition and can include: 

  • Medicated shampoos, creams, and wipes.
  • Eye drops and nose sprays.
  • Antihistamines.
  • Immunotherapy vaccinations.
  • Medication to help reduce skin inflammation. 

Remember: Human medications are extremely toxic to dogs, always follow your vet’s advice on what to give your dog.  

Prevention of hayfever in dogs

While it’d be impossible to entirely remove all pollen from your dog’s environment, there are steps you can take to help ease some of their symptoms: 

  • Change your walk times – go for a walk in the early morning or late at night when pollen counts are lower.
  • Gently wipe your dog’s fur after a walk – to remove as much pollen as possible from their paws, fur, and face.
  • Vaccum and dust your home more often – to keep pollen levels low. 
  • Frequently clean your dog’s bedding and toys – keeping their favourite areas clean and pollen free. 
  • Keep windows and doors shut – while this might not be ideal on those warmer days, it will help during hayfever season. 

You can use The Met Office’s pollen forecast, which could help you determine when your dog is most likely to suffer from hayfever or pollen allergies. 

The vet experts at Joii Pet Care are available all day, every day, if you’re concerned about your dog’s hayfever symptoms. 

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