Can Dogs Get Hay Fever?

Everyone loves the summertime, but what we don't love about this time of year, is hay fever... including some dogs!

 

What is Dog Hay Fever?

Animals often suffer from allergies, and dog hay fever is simply another kind of allergic reaction, usually to pollens that become more prevalent in the spring and summer months. A sensitivity to these allergens causes inflammation in the lining of the nose and in the eyes, which is what causes those nasty symptoms.

Like humans, hay fever is triggered by your dog inhaling the pollen, but dogs are in fact more susceptible to suffering from hay fever because they are also constantly playing in long grass and running in fields blissfully unaware. This is something we'd naturally avoid if we know we'd be a red-eyed, runny-nosed mess afterwards, but unfortunately avoiding grass is almost near impossible on your dog's walks.

Some research has also found that dogs who were not exposed to a variety of grasses, trees and plants in their early life are more likely to develop signs of dog hay fever later on - so any lockdown pups who spent more time indoors may not have built up a tolerance. 

 

Dog Hay Fever Symptoms

In humans, common hay fever signs include itchy eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing, but in dogs, a pollen allergy usually affects the skin.

During spring or summer your dog may itch, nibble or rub any of the following spots: 

  • paws
  • eyes, ears, mouth and muzzle
  • armpits
  • abdomen
  • legs
  • around their bottom
  • groin area

Their skin may also look flaky, red and sore in the above areas and feel greasy, your dog may lose patches of fur from excessive rubbing or licking. (If your dog has these symptoms at other times of the year, they may have an allergy to something else for example; fleas, bacterial infection or mange). 

Your dog may also sneeze a lot, begin snoring, become wheezy or have a runny nose. 

 

 

How to Help Avoid Dog Hay Fever

Walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening when the pollen count is lower, avoid daytime walks, especially at midday as this when the count is at its highest. 

Clean your dog's fur and paws after every walk with a damp flannel, dog cleaning wipes or a dog cleaning glove to remove any pollen.

Have a daily clean to remove pollen from your house and wash your dog's bedding more often in the spring and summer, this will be a big help. 

You can try an air filter system when they're at home, these filter the pollen out of the air making it a little pollen-free safe haven for them. 

Be sure to also keep on top of your dog’s flea and worming treatment to help reduce any other unnecessary itching triggers. 

 

How to Treat Dog Hay Fever

Although there is no cure for hay fever (sob!), there are ways you can help ease very severe symptoms to make it more bearable for your dog.

Try some of the following medical treatments with advice from your vet first:

  • topical treatments such as medicated shampoos, skin sprays and creams
  • wipes
  • ear cleaner
  • medicated ear drops 
  • medicated eye drops 
  • antihistamines (some human antihistamines are toxic to dogs, only give your dog medicines as directed by your vet)
  • essential fatty acid supplements may help treat your dog