Spring is here, bringing with it the usual host of daffodils, longer days, warmer weather and… allergies. Yes, for some, the joy of this time of year can get a little diluted by bouts of hay fever.
It’s not just humans who suffer with itchy eyes and runny noses, though. That’s right. Canine hay fever is a thing. Although it can’t be cured completely, canine hay fever can be treated with some topical treatments that can keep the symptoms at bay.
The symptoms of canine hay fever are surprisingly similar to human hay fever. They also vary just as widely in severity.
Here are some symptoms to look out for:
That doesn’t mean your dog has to have all of these symptoms to have hay fever. Often, it’s just skin irritation that’s the giveaway.
Some breeds are more likely than others to suffer from hay fever. They include dalmatians, Irish setters, poodles and schnauzers.
For us humans, an over-the-counter antihistamine pill will usually do the trick. For more serious cases, we can get steroid treatments from our GP. For dogs, though, targeted hay-fever treatments work best. That could mean eye drops or nasal sprays. If your pet has a severe allergy, your vet can offer an injection.
Of course, you’ll have most success by limiting your dog’s contact with the troublesome plant in question. But first you’ll need to identify it. If you live in the countryside, that might not be so easy.
Start a diary and note precisely when the symptoms start in your dog. Then check which plants or grasses are in season at that time.
You can also mow your grass twice a week to keep it short, wash your dog’s coat more often and keep their bedding clean, to banish allergens from the house.
You’d also be well-advised to restrict walks to the early morning and late evening, as that’s when pollen counts are at their lowest.
Watch out: it can be easy to mistake dry eye for hayfever. Dry-eye symptoms include not being able to produce tears effectively. That can create runny, irritated eyes. If you spot this, don’t assume your pet has canine hay fever. Go to a vet to get a firm diagnosis. Dry eye can lead to much worse problems, including blindness.
These simple steps can help you and your dog to get the most out of the warmer weather.