Even Dogs Can Be Allergic to Pollen

This time of the year is connected, besides enjoying sun and awakening nature, with annoying allergic reactions for many. However, has it ever occurred to you that your dog companion could be allergic to pollen as well? How can you recognize it and what can you do?

For many of us who suffer from pollen allergy, this time of the year is not only full of sunshine, rising temperatures and longer days. Nature awakens, everything starts to bud and blossom. It is certainly beautiful, but allergic people can’t really enjoy it that much because of swollen eyes, sneezing and blocked-up nose. However, has it ever occurred to you that your dog companion could have allergy to pollen as well?

Dogs’ reactions to allergens are different from people’s, so we don't get to see them with the above-mentioned watery eyes or allergic asthma very often. The most typical sign of pollen allergy in them is the so-called atopic dermatitis. Therefore, it is more difficult to find out the cause of the problems because allergy to food, domestic fungi, mites or flea bites have the same manifestations. However, it is characteristic for atopic dermatitis that’s caused by pollen allergy that it disappears during autumn and winter.

Although this may be surprising, allergy is not a rare health problem in dogs. Some breeds are even predisposed to them. Pollen allergy usually occurs before the dog is three years old for the first time and its manifestations deteriorate over time. You may notice your companion more often intensively scratches or licks itself due to itchy skin, mainly on the head, in armpits and in the surroundings of the rectum or between toes. Such mechanically damaged skin then becomes susceptible to bacterial and yeast inflammation. This may result in reddish, bald or moist nidus. In this case, these infections must be addressed primarily before the allergy itself.

Specific allergens can often be detected by blood tests and the determination of antibody levels. Of course, we cannot cure an allergy, but identifying its cause will help us at least eliminate its impact on the dog. The symptoms can then be reduced by regular bathing in clean water or a special shampoo designed to reduce itching which reduces the contact between the pollen and the skin. Administering unsaturated fatty acids, such as those contained in salmon oil, will also help the dog with itching. In some more serious cases, the vet may also prescribe antihistaminics (but never give the dog any human drugs without consulting him/her!). In the most serious cases when itching is unbearable, corticoids need o be administered.

If antibody tests were performed and we know the allergen, immunotherapy is possible with the dog. However, you shouldn’t expect the effect to be immediate, the improvement will be slow. However, as the pollen allergy season is quite short, it does not complicate the dog’s life so much, so no stronger treatment is needed.

Do you suspect your dog companion is allergic to pollen? Even though it’s usually enough to bath the allergic dog as mentioned above, it is good to at first exclude the possibility it is allergic to food. Ignoring such allergy for a longer period of time could have adverse effects on the dog’s health.

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