$

Pets, Autumn and Allergies

Pets, Autumn and Allergies

Tis the season – itching, scratching, licking of paws.

Yup, it’s autumn allergy season for our pets!

Many people associate spring-time with the blooming and new growth of plants and flowers as allergy season, but for some, including my dog Edie, autumn causes skin itch and irritation.

Pets, Autumn and Allergies

What’s causing your dog to itch?

Autumn is our favourite time of year, the perfect pug weather for long walks and being outside.There is nothing more impressive or picturesque than my maple trees displaying beautiful red and golden yellow leaves come autumn, but those wet moldy leaves, in combination with our pine trees and wet grass, play havoc on my dog Edie’s skin.

For several years I was able to sooth and control Edie’s allergic skin itch with regular bathing – at the peak of allergy season, bath time could be as frequent as every other week. When bathing alone could no longer keep my dog comfortable, her vet prescribed a medication to ease Edie’s allergy symptoms and prevent her from developing hot spots/sores and skin infections from all her licking and scratching.

Information within this post is not a substitute for veterinarian care. If your pet is experiencing any health issues, consult your veterinarian.

Vet Chat with Dr. Ryan Llera

On this episode of Vet Chat – Dr. Ryan Llera discusses the topic of pets and allergies. Dr. Llera tells us what we need to know about allergies, the different types of allergies, how we can help our pets, and when it’s time to seek advice from our veterinarian.

Allergies Season and our Pets

Falling leaves, sweater weather, pumpkin spice everything, piles of pet hair, and the sound of incessant scratching or chewing from your family pet. Yep, it’s not just autumn, it’s allergy season. While it affects you, it can also be affecting your pets. Unchecked, allergies affecting our pet’s skin can lead to pain or infections.

Pets, Autumn and Allergies

Left untreated, allergies can lead to painful skin infections for your pet

 

Pets, Autumn and Allergies

Check your pet’s ears! Don’t wait till they get this sore and infected before consulting with your vet.


Allergies can cause some typical allergy issues for our pets, like sneezing, runny eyes, and many skin or ear issues, especially those problems that seem to carry on for awhile. Fortunately, many of these are seasonal or temporary issues that might only pop up for a few months though for some pets, problems will carry on year round. Some of the typical offenders are fleas, grasses, weeds, and trees, particularly around the time of blooms or in the fall. A less common allergens that might not be considered are house dust mites. Year round allergy problems in our pets might very well be due to food.

Manage Your Pet’s Allergies Before They Get Out Of Control

Keeping your pets from getting exposed to the allergens in the first place is the best way to help them out.  Yet, this is unrealistic so all we can do is minimize exposure and manage the signs before they get out of control and make your pet uncomfortable.  This part is multi-factorial. 

Antihistamines have a variable effect but have virtually no side effects. Other types of medications tend to be more effective and can have no side effects or an extensive list.

Steroids are one of those really good medications but cause increased amounts of drinking, urination, & appetite, slower regrowth of hair, thinning of skin and muscle wasting, and in some cases can cause aggression in our pets.

A newer group of medications works on blocking certain parts of the immune system without all the side effects of steroids. And even if you don’t see fleas, it’s advisable to be 100% sure by using a topical or chewable product from your veterinarian that will kill the fleas.

Food Allergies and Pets

Two more prolonged ways of treating allergies in our pets (depending on the cause) are hyposensitization therapy and food trials.

Hyposensitization therapy works by repeatedly exposing the body to micro-doses of the allergen thereby essentially build a level of immunity. After testing for which allergens are the problem, treatment can be given to our pets orally or by injection, at first shorter intervals and later only once monthly. If a food allergy is determined to be the problem for your pet, a diet change will be in order for at least 8-12 weeks. The common belief is that grains are an issue but the fact is that the protein source is most typically the problem in our pets and occasionally the carbohydrate source. A diet recommendation from your veterinarian can help your dog or cat and current options might include kangaroo, crocodile, or a hydrolyzed protein (it’s been broken down so the body doesn’t recognize it as the offending allergen).

Consult with you Veterinarian

As a last note, I want to add that you should never give any medications to your pets without first consulting your veterinarian. Go check out your pet’s coat & skin and maybe it’s time for that bath. If they seem to have that runny nose, watery or puffy eyes, it’s time to start investigating what you can do to help them out.

Do your pets suffer from seasonal allergies?

What solutions have you used to make them more comfortable?

 Dr. Ryan LleraDr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic in Kingston, Ontario. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with 2 cats, 2 dogs, 2 horses, and a rabbit. Ryan is also a regular guest writer for the Ontario SPCA blog. You can find more of his writing at drryanllera.com or see what else he is up to on Facebook & Instagram

Author: Kelly Harding

Share This Post On

23 Comments

  1. I thought Truffle had an allergic reaction this past month because she was scratching so much. I did find a flea on her the day she was scheduled to get her Revolution treatment. I haven’t seen one since and the vet didn’t see any evidence of fleas. He said she could have had a reaction to the flea bites. He gave her a steroid shot to help with the itching.

    Post a Reply
  2. I’d like to see somebody study the effect of quercetin supplementation on allergies.

    Post a Reply
    • This is something I’m going to have to find out more about!

      Post a Reply
  3. Excellent article! I’ve battled a few cases of allergies here this summer with my Huskies. Some issues I’ve never encountered in the past 16 years! It has been an unusually hot and very, very humid summer here and as a result my senior gal developed bald spots with sores (way beyond hot spots) that she is still being treated for, my other girl had a few hot spots, and ear issues galore among all four of them! Someone at some point had something going on from darn allergies. Pinning this to share!

    Post a Reply
    • Oh it sounds like it’s been a terrible summer for your girl! How sad when they get so uncomfortable and develop issues as bad as they have 🙁 I hope they all feel much better and get the help they need

      Post a Reply
  4. I was talking to my niece just today about her dog’s skin allergies! Purrfect timing for this information. Now I’m going to call her back and tell her to read this great post.

    Post a Reply
  5. My dogs don’t have bad allergies but they do experience occasional allergic symptooms. Right now Icy is sneezing every now & then. I’m watching both of them closely to see if they have any issues. Thanks!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Post a Reply
  6. I get seasonal allergies but luckily, so far Kilo the Pug has been OK. That said he had a sudden anal gland issue after nothing for 4 years so I keep a keen eye. Thanks for sharing how you deal with Edie.

    Post a Reply
    • Oh anal gland issues are no fun at all! I hope Kilo feels better.

      Post a Reply
  7. ’tis the season! I wrote about natural therapies for pet allergies recently as well. For Gonzo, whom has seasonal allergies I give him a daily spoonful of coconut oil for his dry skin and also like to give a daily probiotic. This seems to help a lot.

    Post a Reply
  8. Nelly, my Maltese, suffers terribly from seasonal allergies. And last month they seemed out of control, even with antihistamines, she was so itchy. I was just about to take her to the vet for steroids, when the itching subsided. Usually her allergies end in September, but they seemed worse than ever in October.

    Post a Reply
    • I hope Nelly continues to feel better. Allergies are no fun for anyone 🙁

      Post a Reply
  9. Allergies can be so hard to deal with especially if it’s environmental and the pet just wants to go out and play.

    Post a Reply
    • It is very difficult this time of year for Edie. The weather is finally perfect for pugs and now we have to deal with keeping her from getting into and playing in the leaves – and playing in the leaves is the best part of this time of year!

      Post a Reply
  10. I wrote about Layla’s bad allergies on my blog this week and my vet and I decided to give her the allergy shot which lasts a month and since she got it she has totally stopped scratching

    Post a Reply
    • I just finished reading your post about Layla’s allergies! I am very interested in learning more about the allergy injection she received.

      Post a Reply
  11. Honestly I didn’t realize pets could have allergies to the changing of the seasons like us humans. Oh that looks painful! Thanks for sharing your tips to help ease their discomfort. I’m glad Edie found help too and is more at ease.

    Post a Reply
  12. Oh my doG, those pictures! Hurts to look at them. My first GSD suffered from atopy and had toe ulcers like that. Poor doggy. Great info, thanks for sharing!

    Post a Reply
  13. Oooooh, the reactions in the photos look painful!
    Henry struggles with allergies. We’ve tried him on different diets and medications (hated having him on steroids).
    Interested in looking into food testing and Hyposensitization therapy.

    Post a Reply
    • Not a fan of steroids and the side effects, but they can have benefits for dogs that need them. I would like to know if you do the food testing and Hyposensitization therapy and the results you have with it.

      Post a Reply
  14. My poor pup has been having issues with allergies lately and I haven’t been sure what to do – will an antihistamine like benadryl for people work for dogs?

    Post a Reply
    • Personally, I had used Benadryl for Edie when she first showing signs of seasonal allergies. You will want to check with your vet to make sure it’s the right medication for your dog and of course what the right dosage should be. The only thing I found with giving Benadryl was it only made Edie sleep so she didn’t itch, it didn’t do much more than that for her and we had to find an alternative.

      Post a Reply
  15. Great and timely article as my dog Jack has environmental allergies, supposedly, and sometimes he scratches like crazy. My vet prescribed Apoquel which I’ve given him on the odd occasion and it helped a lot. I definitely prefer a more natural route and luckily it’s not something he had to take more than a few days to make a difference. I bought Colloidal Silver Spray and I find that helps a lot, I just spray it on a spot he’s chewing and it gets better in no time. I would like to find out exactly what he’s sensitive to but never got results back from the home kit I got. I’ll have to try a different avenue.

    Post a Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: