If Your Dog Has a Pollen Allergy, Would You Know?
Allergies have become the norm, but just because they’re commonplace doesn’t mean symptoms can be dismissed. Sure, mild reactions to dust, mold, smoke and bug bites can resolve on their own, but prolonged exposure to triggers makes matters worse over time. If a dog has a pollen allergy that isn’t addressed or treated, serious health problems may be afoot.
One Thing Leads to Another
A dog with an allergic reaction to pollen can suffer from intensifying symptoms with increased frequency. To add insult to injury, symptoms can cause secondary health problems, such as ear infections, bacterial or yeast skin infections, eye issues, and problems related to the anal glands. These secondary issues may last much longer than the initial allergic response.
A Very Unhappy Dog
Dogs are usually between 1.5 and 5 years old when they begin to show signs of allergies. Exposure to allergens can occur over time before the immune system launches an attack, and then symptoms become obvious.
Pollen is categorized as an inhalant allergen, but the effects of a pollen allergy are due to a faulty skin barrier. Pollen absorbed by the epidermis moves through underlying layers of the skin to the lymph nodes where an allergic response begins.
Tree or grass pollen, or weed pollen, such as ragweed, can cause symptoms similar to other allergens. Unfortunately, dogs can also have several different allergies concurrently.
Your Dog Has a Pollen Allergy
If you suspect that your dog has a pollen allergy, the following symptoms are the most common:
- Uncontrollable scratching and possible hair loss
- Excessive licking
- Face rubbing on carpets or furniture
- Head shaking
- Inflamed-looking eyes with or without discharge
- Anal gland issues
- Foul-smelling ears accompanied by redness of the skin on and around the ears
- Inflamed, sensitive skin with possible hot spots from excessive licking
Without veterinary dermatology, a dog may not be able to stop scratching or licking, causing wounds and infection.
A Year-Round Situation
If your dog has a pollen allergy, spring and summer might be terrible for them. Perhaps unsurprisingly, if your dog has a pollen allergy they may also be sensitive to mold spores or dust mites. Because these allergens are present all year long, symptoms can persist long after the typical allergy season.
Additionally, if your dog doesn’t have a pollen allergy but exhibits telltale signs, they may have allergies to their food, fleas, or other environmental triggers. Ruling these out is essential to their health.
Intradermal skin or blood tests can reveal allergens. While a cure to allergies isn’t possible, symptoms can be controlled.
Nothing to Shrug Off
If your dog has a pollen allergy, it’s time to step in. We can help soothe their skin with various treatments. In severe cases, anti-inflammatory medications, such as corticosteroids or antihistamines, and others, may be needed. Hypoallergenic shampoos, trigger removal or avoidance, and deep cleaning of your dog’s home environment go a long way toward easing their symptoms.
Once a specific trigger is identified, desensitization therapy offers relief by injecting small amounts of antigen into the bloodstream. This helps the immune system reprogram its response to pollen.