Springtime allergies can hurt your dog

artie with springtime blooms and springtime allergies
The good news – spring, with blessedly moderate temperatures, seems to lingering in and around the good ol’ Phoenix area. The bad news – springtime allergies are still going to be causing problems for your pal, the dog.

This winter, we had record-breaking rains and we’ve enjoyed a bumper crop of wildflowers. And the weather continues to be wonderful. Everyone’s lawn looks better and the desert is terrifically colorful with Palo verdes and cacti thrilling us with their canary-yellow blossoms and deep magenta flowers.

It’s all Technicolor beautiful except for us allergy sufferers. And possibly your dog is a victim of springtime allergies as well. Artie the Beagle had an attack of reverse sneezing and now we are giving her allergy medicine for the first time ever.

What to know about canine allergy sufferers

It’s not just Artie. Dr. Mitchell Song, DVM, DACVD, says VETMED in Phoenix near Cave Creek has been seeing a lot of pooches with problems. “We have been very, very busy with many itchy dogs,’’ says Song, who specializes in animal dermatology.

Dermatologists like Song are uniquely qualified to help dogs with springtime allergies. Usually dogs’ allergic reactions show up as itchiness in their skin or coat. So, canine allergy sufferers do a lot of chewing, licking, biting and scratching. Sometimes, they also have ear infections, says Song.

Usually only about 10 percent of dogs with allergies with have any upper respiratory symptoms, he adds.

To get a better read on what a dog is allergic to, veterinarians will perform a scratch test on them, which is similar to what humans undergo to see what is giving us a major case of the Itchies.

Once diagnosed, veterinarians can figure out the right medicine for each four-legged patient, Song says.

How you can help your dog with her springtime allergies

In addition to medication, people with pets can give their sufferin’ dog over-the-counter fish oil capsules. Essential fatty acids like fish oil can ease inflammation due to allergies, and reduce itchy skin and dandruff. Song also recommends extra bathing and grooming for your pooch to help decrease their allergies. Also: change your air-furnace filters and wash the dogs’ bedding more frequently.

Left untreated your dog’s allergies can become more difficult to treat, Song says. “It is not a life-threatening disease but it can really cause misery.’’

Song also treats frequent flyers: dogs who have spring and fall allergies. And a very small population of dogs that have winter-only allergies, he says.

Remember the old saying – misery loves company? Well, for many of us allergy sufferers, our dogs are right there with us in sharing the awfulness of being allergic. Stay well, everyone!