One great thing about having a dog is the fact that you can do so many activities with them! Summer is the time when we love to take our dogs hiking, swimming, fishing, hunting, and many other fun undertakings. The problem is that sometimes our dogs experience the same type of allergies that we do. As the pollen moves in, you can expect to see hot spots in her fur, goop in the eyes, and maybe even some issues breathing. Don’t panic, this is completely normal, and to be expected! Truthfully, if your dog is already showing signs of seasonal allergies it’s likely going to get worse as the years go by. However, there are plenty of ways for you to fix these issues and keep your dog happy through the seasons.
Food Allergies Can Exacerbate the Seasonal Allergies
Dust mites, pollen, and ragweed can create a seriously uncomfortable reaction to your dog’s skin. When you couple this with food allergies, you could end up with a serious problem on your hands. The most common food allergies for dogs are gluten, egg, chicken meal, corn, corn meal, and dairy. Even if you’re certain that the problem is due to the changing seasons, switching up your dog’s food can’t hurt. Look for foods that have an abundance of healthy Omega fats; you’ll see an improvement in your dog’s skin, fur, and their allergies overall.
Coconut Oil is a Holistic, and Common Treatment
Before you try anything extreme, natural remedies like coconut oil have been a quick, inexpensive way to take care of hot spots and hair loss. It contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and healthy omega fats that encourage the production of your dog’s natural oils. You can rub it into their fur or mix it into their food, they shouldn’t notice at all. The recommended dose for coconut oil is a teaspoon per 10 pounds of bodyweight. Unlike over the counter medications, giving your dog a little more than the recommended dose won’t cause any severe harm to their body. They might experience a little diarrhea since oil stimulates the bowels, but that’s about it.
Fish Oil is Also Incredibly Helpful
Most of the time, commercial dog food brands aren’t able to supply all the nutrients needed for your pet. In fact, the average pet store foods such as Pedigree and Beneful are ridiculously high in the amount of grains they contain, and are often comprised of various allergens. If you’re already buying a quality brand for your dog, but still feel their coat could use a little bit of a boost, fish oil just might be the solution they need.
Fish oil not only helps with the epidermis, but you can also expect your pet to start feeling much better in the sense of mobility. These supplements help to reduce inflammation and pain when it comes to conditions such as arthritis. When giving your dog fish vitamins, you should keep to a rotation cycle of 2-3 weeks on, and 1 week off. Otherwise, your dog could become deficient in Vitamin E.
Over the Counter Medications
For dogs who are in serious discomfort, there are a number of over the counter medications available. However, it’s essential be sure you’re giving your dog the correct dosage or they could become extremely ill. You don’t want to have to rush your dog to the vet for something that could have been avoided.
Benadryl- The best thing about Benadryl is you don’t really need to buy any special kind, your everyday corner store medicine is just fine. The recommended dose for Benadryl is 1mg per pound of bodyweight. Generally, this allergy medication is sold in 25mg tablets, so if you have a small breed, you can always buy the baby version. While it is safe for your dog, you may see some mild side effects such as drowsiness. Benadryl is meant for mild allergies, so if your dog’s skin is cracking or bleeding, you should seek counseling from a veterinarian.
Apoquel- This medication was designed specifically to disrupt the sequence of inflammation and itching dogs experience during the spring and the summer. You can expect your dog to start feeling better within 4 hours, and continue to feel the relieving effects for about 12 to 24 hours. This medication can be given every 12 hours for up to 14 days; after 14 days you should only be giving your dog one dose per day.
While antihistamines are extremely useful for seasonal allergies, make sure you’re cautious and stick to the appropriate dosage. If you ever suspect you may have poisoned your dog or over medicated them, call the poison control hotline. They may or may not suggest a trip to the veterinarian.
Provide an Aftercare Routine for Outdoor Activities
No matter how much medication your use for your pet, contact with allergens with still cause some irritation in your pet. Use gentle cleansing wipes to freshen up their paws after a good romp in the grass. Dogs who spend a lot of times hiking in the woods or spend time in tall grasses might need a bath that includes a hypoallergenic shampoo. These generally consist of ingredients such as aloe vera, oatmeal, and honey. Jax and Daisy is a highly recommended brand for pets with skin allergies.
There is a chance that you’ll take every precaution possible to prevent your dog’s seasonal allergies and still come up short. Consult with your veterinarian about steroid shots. Now, that might sound a little scary at first if you’ve only ever heard of negative side effects. However, the active ingredient, cortisone, can greatly reduce the painful rash and hair loss that comes with itching and biting. You should expect some mild side effects when administering cortisone to your dog such as drinking more water and using the restroom more often. They may eat more and feel a bit drowsy, and you may rarely see nausea.
Try to avoid using steroids for long periods of time as it can reduce your dog’s immunity to bacterial infections, fungal infections, and mange. They’re also more likely to develop Cushing’s Disease due to high level of glucocorticoids for long periods of time.
Consistency is Important
As long as you remain consistent in your dog’s skincare routine, you should see a huge improvement within a week or two. Just like anything else in life, building up good habits with your dog takes a lot of time and effort. You may fall out of the normal schedule every now and then, it happens. Just try to stay on top of it, a few days without their supplements and their usual care can set you back for days. The last thing you want is for your dog to chew up their tail and behind and again, then its right back to square one. If possible, purchase an Elizabethan collar, also known as a “cone of shame,” and have your dog wear it when you aren’t around. At first it might not be very comfortable for the owner; your pet is going to give you sad eyes, and their range of motion might be a bit limited. However, it’s only temporary and absolutely necessary if you want your dog to feel better.