Dog seasonal allergies come and go with the seasons, just like your hay fever allergies to pollen and weeds. They usually appear when your dog is between 6 months and 3 years old.
The allergens (the particles that your dog is allergic to) enter your pet’s body through his nose or respiratory tract. Or sometimes allergens enter through her mouth or gastrointestinal tract, when she breathes or eats.
What are Seasonal Dog Allergies?
We do see hay fever in dogs and it is temporary, lasting only for the period that the allergen exists in the environment.
For example, if your dog is allergic to locust tree pollen, he will have symptoms while the locust trees are in blossom. If he is allergic to newly cut grass, he will experience allergic symptoms during the growing season for grass, especially when you mow your lawn.
The most common seasonal allergens for dogs are grass and weeds. If your dog is allergic to grass and weeds, he will show allergy symptoms every year at the same time, and they will disappear every year at about the same time (fall or early winter).
However, it does get a little tricky, because your dog could be allergic to airborne pathogens like molds or dust. And those allergens are in your home, year round.
Good Dog Breeding Helps
While it is true that fewer than 10% of dogs are genetically predisposed to have seasonal allergies, if your dog has them, it is important to you and your dog.
To minimize seasonal dog allergies as much as possible, you should seriously consider purchasing a Bichon Frise puppy from one of the many responsible, reputable Bichon Frise breeders.
These breeders are focused on improving the standard for the Bichon Frise breed, and one of the major standards is health.
A Bichon with severe or even moderate allergies won’t be bred, thus eliminating that weakness from the gene pool.
However, even with responsible breeding, Bichon Frises are still susceptible to canine allergies.
Seasonal Dog Allergies Symptoms
So what are the symptoms that you might see if your dog has seasonal allergies?
- Scratching – Your dog will scratch all over her body, but most often the face, ears, front legs and abdomen.
- Eye discharges – Pollen or mold sensitivity often cause some eye and/or nose discharge in your dog. This is not nearly as bad as it is for a person with hay fever.
- Face rubbing – You may also find some sores on your dog’s face and front legs. Most of the little sores that you will see are caused by your dog’s scratching and biting himself.
- Foot licking and chewing – An allergic pet with atopic dermatitis, or dog seasonal allergies, will often lick her paws and rub her face with her paws.
- Redness – usually in the armpits and groin area. This is caused by scratching and biting.
- Asthma-like symptoms – Rarely, you can see a dog with asthma. When this does occur, the symptoms are similar to those in people, including wheezing and difficulty breathing.
Your dog’s saliva keeps her eyes and face moist when she has allergies. And, over time, the hair on light colored dogs, will turn a rust or pink color from the moist saliva. A good example of this is the Bichon Frise dog.
When your dog is itching and scratching, it is important for you to help relieve the irritation. Redness and swelling can lead to open wounds, scabbing, infection, and hair loss if your dog keep scratching and biting.
Make sure you write down when you first notice the symptoms and when they disappear. With dog seasonal allergies, timing is everything.
Relief for Dog Seasonal Allergies
If you suspect that your Bichon Frise has seasonal dog allergies, you can take these steps to relieve him:
- Bath your Bichon Frise about once a month using a high quality oatmeal shampoo during the off season months. Remember to rinse very thoroughly several times. During the pollen season, bathing your dog more frequently will help wash the allergens away. Use a high quality hypoallergenic dog shampoo like Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Shampoo.
- Brush your Bichon Frise daily, especially after a romp outdoors.
- Vacuum your carpet frequently with a HEPA Filter Vacuum Cleaner.
- Steam clean your carpets and floors with a home steam cleaner to get rid of mold and dust mites.
- Dust your home frequently.
- Keep the windows in your home closed especially during the Spring and Fall months.
- Tru Dog Complete Me – This is a soft dog chew supplement that ensures that your dog gets all the nutrients that he needs. It strengthens your dog’s immune system and also fights inflammation, which is part of an allergic reaction.
- Spray your dog’s itchy spots – Use a natural spray made for dogs like Bodhi Anti-itch Spray.
If you take these steps and your Bichon Frise is still suffering from severe dog allergies, you may need to consult with your vet. Or better yet, contact a canine skin specialist who can perform specific tests on your Bichon Frise and give you the recommended options and treatments that are available.
While dog seasonal allergies certainly are a nuisance and can be very uncomfortable for your dog, they are not life threatening.
Using natural products for seasonal canine allergies may help your pet to be more comfortable, without side effects, during the “allergic months”.