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Does your furry friend have seasonal allergies too?

Monday, July 16, 2018, 6:07 AM - Seasonal allergies are common for millions of people, but did you know your pet could be suffering from symptoms of their own?

Dr. Stephen Waisglass, a veterinary dermatologist, states that the difference lies in how each are diagnosed. While allergies may bring itchy eyes and sneezing to humans, it’s not the same in veterinary medicine. Scratching, licking, biting, and rubbing are some of the clinical signs of seasonal allergies in pets.

The skin acts as a physiological barrier between an animal and its environment, creating a protective layer against potential environmental allergens. Evidence now suggests a link between skin barrier impairment and the development of canine atopic dermatitis—in other words, environmental allergies.

There are numerous allergens that contribute to this condition in our pets, many of which cause similar hypersensitivities in people. In dogs, the most common environmental allergens are pollen, molds, mites, and danders.

During the warmer months, you and your pets may be outdoors more frequently, with potential for greater exposure to allergens at the cottage or on camping trips. Pay attention to the incidence of itching and scratching, which may coincide with seasonality and/or environment. These are potential clues that your pet could be suffering from an environmental allergy.

So now that you think your pet may have seasonal allergies, what can you do about it?

Visit your veterinary clinic:

Kallie Milleman, Communications Coordinator for the Ontario SPCA, says professional help for pet allergies can include a treatment plan designed from your veterinarian that could involve soothing shampoos, oral medications, topical creams, desensitization through allergy shots or drops, and in some cases, pet food that can strengthen the skin barrier and promote healing.

Be attentive of indoor spaces as well. Regular cleaning of carpets, pillows, and your pet’s bedding is necessary to reduce potential exposure to air-borne allergens. Air filters can also be helpful in removing pollen from the environment, particularly during the spring.

Dietary modifications:

Dr. Allison Wara, Veterinary Clinical Nutritionist, states that nutrition plays a major role in the development and maintenance of a healthy skin and haircoat, and there is ample evidence that it can be an important component of treatment in animals with allergies. There are many diet options on the market with varying degrees of efficacy so it is essential that you consult with your vet about which one is best-suited for your best friend.


Saridomichelakis, M. and Olivry, T. An update on the treatment of canine atopic dermatitis. The Veterinary Journal 2016; 207: 29-37.

Canadian Academy of Veterinary Dermatology


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