Signs and symptoms of hay fever in dogs – including skin irritation

Many of us know the tell-tale signs of hay fever – itchy eyes, sneezing and runny noses.

As soon as spring has sprung, and summer is on its way, the pollen count starts to increase and it is said one in four people will experience these symptoms.

But have you ever wondered if dogs can suffer from hay fever? Do our furry friends get allergies at certain times of the year?

And if so, what are the symptoms to look out for? Here is everything you need to know, including how to treat the symptoms and which breeds are more likely to suffer from it.

Can dogs get hay fever?

The answer to that question is yes. Just like us owners, our adorable pets can have an adverse reaction to pollen.

What are the symptoms of hay fever in dogs?

With dogs unable to tell us how they are feeling, it’s important to look out for the signs.

Dogs may show some of the more common symptoms of hay fever, similar to humans.

But they may also display other signs, such as irritation to their skin.

Keep an eye out for whether your dog is itching more, trying to gnaw at their body, or if they have a rash on their paws or face.

When is hay fever season?

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According to the Met Office, there are three different types of pollen that cause hay fever with some areas more susceptible to it than others.

For example, there is a shorter season in the north of the UK where there is generally less pollen.

  • Tree pollen – late March to mid-May
  • Grass pollen – mid-May until July
  • Weed pollen – end of June to September

Breeds most likely to suffer from hay fever

Although any dog can suffer from hay fever, there are some breeds more susceptible to it than others.

The breeds most likely to experience hay fever include:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Boxer
  • Golden Retriever
  • West Highland Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • German Shepherd
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Dalmatians
  • Irish setters
  • Schnauzers

How to treat hay fever symptoms

When the pollen count is high, there are some things you can do at home to minimise your dog’s exposure to it.

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They include:

  • Keeping the grass cut short
  • Regular washing and grooming of your dog’s coat
  • Brushing daily to remove debris
  • Limiting walks to early in the morning and late at night
  • Wiping your dog down after walks
  • Washing bedding regularly
  • Hoovering regularly

Other things to note about hay fever in dogs

Because hay fever commonly affects the eyes, it’s easy to confuse it with an eye irritation or condition known as dry eye.

Dry eye is a condition that affects some breeds more than others and where a dog is unable to produce tears.

If you think your dog could be suffering with this problem, take them to the vets for a diagnosis as left untreated, it could lead to blindness.

If your dog is diagnosed with hay fever, rather than prescribing a simple antihistamine, a more targeted approach may be favoured by vets such as eye drops or nasal sprays.

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