Top tips on helping dogs suffering from hay fever – and how to spot a reaction

Itchy eyes, sneezing and a runny nose are all sure signs the pollen count is high and you’re suffering from hay fever – but what about our dogs?

Do certain times of the year cause allergies in our pets? Can they get hayfever too?

The answer to that question is yes.

Just like us owners, our adorable pets can have an adverse reaction to pollen.

The sunny spring and summer months might make us feel brighter but the ailments they cause can be frustrating. And with our dogs unable to tell us how they’re feeling, there are some signs us owners can look out for.

While they might show some of the common symptoms similar to us humans, other signs your dog might be suffering include irritation to their skin.

If you notice your dog itching more, trying to gnaw at their body or a rash on their paws or face, it’s possible this could be due to hay fever.

When is hay fever season?

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

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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

Reducing and treating hay fever symptoms

  • Cheeky dogs who prefer sleeping in their owners’ beds to their own

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

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

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With hay fever affecting the eyes, it is easy to confuse an eye irritation or condition known as dry eye with hay fever.

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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