How to Deal with Dog Seasonal Allergies in Broward County, FL
In our warm Florida climate, it can seem as though allergy season is all year round. And unfortunately, allergies don’t only affect us. Dogs can develop seasonal allergies, too, but their symptoms are usually a little different. Dog allergy symptoms in Broward County, FL are often skin-related, including flaky, dry skin and itchiness.
The itching can vary from mild to severe, with some dogs scratching themselves raw. Finding relief for dog seasonal allergies can involve a few different trails and errors to discover the right treatment that works for your dog.
In order to properly deal with your dog’s allergies, it’s important to understand what allergies are, what symptoms to look for, and your pup’s treatment options, too.
What Are Seasonal Dog Allergies?
Just as in humans, an allergy response in dogs is the result of the immune system overreacting to an allergen. This causes a range of symptoms that, for dogs, usually manifest as skin issues. Symptoms pop up any time your dog comes in contact with the allergen—often seasonally.
Common allergens include:
- Tree and flower pollens
- Dust and dust mites
- Mold spores
- Flea bites
Recognizing Dog Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
Seasonal allergy symptoms in dogs generally include itchy skin, but respiratory symptoms can also make an appearance.
- Excessive scratching
- Chewing, licking at paws
- Hot spots and lick granulomas
- Hair loss
- Red, puffy eyes
- Nasal discharge
- Sneezing fits
If your pet’s itchiness is more severe, their obsessive scratching could lead to more problems including fungal or bacterial skin infections. Discharge and an unpleasant odor from the skin are typical signs of an infection.
Diagnosing Seasonal Dog Allergies in Broward County, FL
The symptoms of allergies are very similar to other, more serious conditions, so the first thing to do when diagnosing allergies is to rule these out! Your veterinarian in Broward County will perform diagnostic work-ups including blood work, a physical exam, and skin tests to ensure your pet’s itchy skin is not the result of disease. Ruling out more serious conditions allows us to hone in on the allergies, and begin forming a treatment plan.
To confirm allergies and even discover which specific allergen your dog reacts to, it’s possible to run a blood or skin allergy test. Skin allergy testing is a bit more reliable and is often run by a veterinary dermatologist for expert results.
Managing Your Dog’s Allergies in Broward County, FL
Allergies cannot be cured, but they can be effectively managed with the right kind of treatment. If your pet has gone through allergy testing, your veterinarian may be able to create an allergy shot that, when given to your pet over time, slowly reduces the severity of their reaction.
This type of therapy also has little to no side effects and so is safe for most pets of any age. Yet, an accurate allergy test is essential for this therapy to work, and not all allergies are so easily tested for or identified. Therefore, we may need to turn to other management options involve antihistamines and anti-itch medications that help to control the itch.
Using Medication to Treat Allergies
Some medications such as Cytopoint and Apoquel attack the itchiness as it’s source, blocking the nerve receptors that trigger itchy skin. Cytopoint is an injection given by your veterinarian that can last for 4-8 weeks. Apoquel, meanwhile, is a daily oral medication. Both of these options could cause some side effects, so be sure to talk to your veterinarian about how these could affect your dog’s health.
Using Nutrition to Help with Your Dog’s Allergies
Using nutrition to combat your dog’s allergies is another option. Some diets are specially formulated to help reduce your dog’s allergic reactions. Other nutritional options include adding supplements to your dog’s diet like fish oils that have anti-inflammatory properties to curb your pet’s itchiness.
Preventative Measures to Avoid Seasonal Allergies for Your Dog
Finally, one further option for managing your dog’s allergies is through some preventive measures. Limiting their time outdoors during the worst of allergy season as well as wiping their fur down after being outside can limit the number of allergens on their coat. Regular baths using medicated shampoos and topicals can also do wonders to reduce your dog’s allergic reaction.
If your dog is itching more than usual, talk to your veterinarian about their allergy management options so your dog can feel good in their own skin again!