What are Fall Season Allergies?
Fall season allergies in dogs can wreak havoc on their systems. These allergies often occur seasonally after the summer months when various plants begin to release allergens into the air. Dogs that suffer from allergies in the fall usually have reactions to plants such as sagebrush, pigweed, goldenrod, lamb’s quarters, curly dock, and other offending plants and pollen that they release.
Ragweed and mold are also popular triggers of fall season allergies in dogs. Environmental allergies and food allergies are more so year round, but allergies that are exclusive only to the fall season are usually due to the same factors, which are mostly pollen, mold, and perhaps even dust mites. These inhalant allergies are not only breathed in by the dog, but also settle within the fur and skin of the dog, causing skin reactions. However, if you reside in an area that does not freeze in the winter, the allergies build up and can cause year-long suffering.
Fall season allergies in dogs occur when dogs react to specific allergens, usually environmental, that are exclusive to the fall season. Fall season allergies only occur for a few months out of the year.
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Symptoms of Fall Season Allergies in Dogs
Oftentimes, dog owners attribute just a few symptoms to allergies, such as sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. Dogs, however, show allergic reactions in different ways. Symptoms of fall season allergies in dogs include:
- Skin itchiness
- Redness and irritation on the skin
- Painful stomach
- Ear infections
- Eye infections
- Bumps on the skin
- Hair loss
- Scratching and chewing on feet or skin
- Watery eyes
- Reverse sneezing
Fall season allergies in dogs are usually caused by the seasonal plants releasing pollen into the air. Other types of fall season allergies include:
- Dust mite allergies
- Mold allergies
- Contact allergies to plants
- Flea allergies
- Contact allergies to indoor surfaces (carpet fibers)
Causes of Fall Season Allergies in Dogs
With allergy sufferers, an over-reactive immune system is the culprit to specific allergens. Specific causes of fall season allergies in dogs are:
- Hypersensitive immune system to a particular agent
- The immune system attacking an agent that is otherwise harmless
- The overactive immune system causing an allergic reaction, such as atopic dermatitis
Diagnosis of Fall Season Allergies in Dogs
When the fall season occurs, if you see new and unusual symptoms in your dog, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Once you take your dog to the veterinarian, he will assess his clinical signs. More than likely, a complete physical examination is where he will begin. The veterinarian will also ask you several questions about your dog’s recent behavior, as he will want to gather information about your dog’s specific symptoms, the severity of them, when the signs of allergy began, how long they lasted, and where his symptoms seem to worsen (indoors versus outdoors).
If your dog is showing signs of a skin irritation, your veterinarian will take a very close look at his skin. The medical professional may choose to do a skin test to further examine what could be causing the inflammation. This may be optional however, especially if your dog began to show symptoms at the break of fall. Upon examining his skin and other symptoms, and after hearing the information you have to give him, the veterinarian may diagnose your dog with seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies are not uncommon in dogs, and there are many treatment options to help your dog feel well again.
Treatment of Fall Season Allergies in Dogs
The veterinarian will offer a variety of treatment options for you to choose from. He may want to start slowly and see what works for your companion and then build up any medication if needed. Treatment options include:
Allergy medications for specific symptoms may be recommended by your veterinarian. Since your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies, they may be only temporary just to get him through the fall season. There are medications on the market that are formulated to control itching, such as antihistamines and mild steroids.
The veterinarian may recommend that you shampoo your dog regularly with special shampoo created just for allergic skin. Regular bathing with special shampoo will allow your dog’s skin to calm down and be less irritated.
For dogs with more serious fall season allergies, there are therapies that are stronger available on the market. Immunosuppressants or desensitization therapy with injections may help the dog’s system build up immunity to the fall allergens.
Recovery of Fall Season Allergies in Dogs
If your dog has fall season allergies, it may be challenging at first to see what works to help your dog feel better. Once you become more knowledgeable about what your dog is specifically allergic to, you will find the treatment that works best for him. You also be more familiar with the signs of allergies, so when any new symptoms begin, you will know when to call your veterinarian for assistance or an adjustment in medication.
Your veterinarian will give you suggestions on anything else you can do to help your dog get through the fall season without suffering. It is important to watch for other symptoms that can be related to other allergies, such as additional seasonal allergies that may affect him.