Autumn has its many charming: colorful leaves, pumpkin-spiced everything, and cooler days; but for our furry friends with allergies, a change in season can also mean the beginning of uncomfortable itching and skin infections.
Dogs who show fall allergy symptoms are often allergic to weeds that pollinate in the fall, such as ragweed. Other weeds that could cause allergic reaction in the fall include sagebrush, Russian thistle (tumbleweeds), plantain, cocklebur and lamb’s-quarters.
Many dog parents miss the onset of allergic disease in their fur babies because they expect to see them sneezing or having runny eyes, as is often the case in people, but more commonly, they scratch and lick or chew their skin, often causing hair loss, sores and secondary skin infections. Itchy skin is the primary symptom noticed by dog parents, followed by itchy ears and recurrent ear infections. Atopy and recurrent ear infection can occur even in the absence of any other signs of allergic disease, and so, many dog parents continue to treat regular episodes without realizing there is an underlying cause that could be addressed.
So what are some of the things we can do to help alleviate our fur babies suffering?
The first and most precise recommended action is to visit your veterinarian. A veterinary evaluation will help to ensure your dog doesn’t have a secondary bacterial infection or yeast infection that require antibiotics and that usually can be difficult to treat. In addition, if your dog is persistently itchy, relieving symptoms will help alleviate self-trauma as a result of scratching. Typically, antihistamines are recommended but it is important to note that effectiveness varies not only from dog to dog but also amongst different brands, mostly important: don’t self prescribe your dog! Giving any over the counter medications could seriously hurt your dog as they can have toxic effects.
Regularly clean your dog’s bed and towels, especially if they get wet a lot. Do not assume that big thick dog bed is drying on its own, it might be growing mold instead, if so, wash things with a drop of bleach to kill bacteria and mold.
If you suspect your house may have mold, have a professional out as soon as possible! According to petmd.com, during the fall, mold can grow rapidly in cold and dark places in your home. Molds can be allergens and as well toxins to both you and your dog.