Learn how to spot the signs and symptoms of hay fever in dogs
It’s a common question for pet owners, particularly in the warmer months. And the simple answer is, yes, dogs can get hay fever.
The same environmental allergens that trigger hay fever in humans can affect our pooches, too. It’s thought that up to 10% of dogs suffer from symptoms compared to around 20% of people.
However, the symptoms can be a little different for dogs. For us, itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing are telltale signs.
But, skin irritation is the most obvious sign that your dog might have a pollen allergy – particularly if it worsens after they’ve been out for a walk.
Here’s how to recognise if your dog could have hay fever, as well as some of the things you can do to help them cope during the hay fever season.
If you notice your pooch scratching, rubbing or biting their skin more often – especially in spring and summer – they could be suffering from irritated skin due to an environmental allergy in a similar way we suffer from hay fever.
This may well worsen after they’ve been for a walk when pollen from the air and grass sticks to their fur.
Red or flaky areas of skin can be another sign. Your pooch will likely spend more time licking or scratching these areas, so you may also spot patches of missing fur.
Often, areas that come into direct contact with grasses and plants – like their paws and noses – can be a particular problem.
While it’s not the most common symptom, a runny nose – often accompanied by red, itchy or watery eyes – is another possible sign that your dog may have hay fever.
Just like us, dogs can also be prone to sneezing when they’re feeling the effects of a pollen allergy. You might spot your pooch rubbing their nose with their paws or on the floor.
Lethargy is another symptom of hay fever in dogs. If you notice they seem more sleepy than usual – along with any of the symptoms above – speak to your vet to determine the cause.
While these symptoms could indicate hay fever, they could also point to something else.
According to the NHS, hay fever in humans is usually worse between late March and September – and the same applies to dogs.
Symptoms can start as early as March depending on the specific pollen your dog is sensitive to. Tree pollen, for example, is at its highest from March to May, while grass pollen takes over until July.
Warm, humid and windy conditions can raise the pollen count higher.
Allergy testing is useful to work out which pollen your dog is sensitive to. It’s worth getting them tested if they’re really suffering and the above tips aren’t having any effect.
Your vet will be able to advise on things like costs and what they can be tested for.
Your vet can prescribe hay fever medication for your dog if they think it’s needed, as well as things like special shampoos and eye drops to ease symptoms.
Always speak to your vet about the best treatment and never be tempted to self-administer medicine at home.
Treatments designed for humans aren’t necessarily suitable for dogs and could end up making things worse.
To help keep your dog happy and healthy, you might want to consider a raw food diet – proven to reduce allergy symptoms. Try our personalised Natures Menu meal plans with high-quality raw ingredients to help keep your dog healthy and happy.