What are Plant Allergies?
Plants allergies in dogs are not uncommon, just as with they are not uncommon with their human friends. Plant allergies come from a variety of plants of many different formats; outdoor plants, indoor plants, shrubs, grasses, and trees produce a great amount of pollen. Not all plants produce pollen and many pet owners choose to do research on allergen-free plants and adorn their home and property with specific types.
Plants allergies in dogs can be very mild skin irritations or more serious internalized issues, such as with difficulty breathing due to the inhalant allergens in the air. Either way, plant allergies affect dogs in such a way that they present a variety of discomfort levels and symptoms.
Many dog owners are unaware that their dogs are suffering from plant allergies until they make a visit to the veterinarian. Even then, the veterinarian must do specific tests and study the dog’s symptoms in order to come up with a specific type of allergy, in this case, a plant allergy.
Plants allergies in dogs affect many dog breeds that are allergic to pollen-producing plants. Plants allergies can cause a myriad of symptoms in addition to the typical symptoms of sneezing and watery eyes.
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Symptoms of Plant Allergies in Dogs
Depending on if your dog is having a contact allergy or an inhalant allergy due to plants, the symptoms may differ. Symptoms of plant allergies in dogs include:
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes
- Eye discharge
- Runny nose
- Scratchy throat
- Reverse sneezing
- Irritated skin
- Skin infections
- Itchy skin
- Excessive licking of the skin
There are two main types of plant allergies in dogs. These types are contact allergy and inhalant allergy. Many homeowners choose to purchase specific types of plants that are hypoallergenic. Some types of plants that are hypoallergenic are:
- Bamboo Palm
Pet owners should be aware, however, that many plants contain toxic properties that are harmful to dogs. Research your plant purchases before making them; it is also wise to keep plants out of the reach of pets and small children.
Causes of Plant Allergies in Dogs
Causes of plant allergies in dogs are from dogs having an allergic reaction by either inhaling the pollen from the plant or coming into contact with a plant allergen. Specific causes of allergic reactions include:
- An overreactive immune response to pollen
- An overreactive immune response to a specific substance within a plant, such as sap or oil
- A hypersensitive immune system which causes a negative response within the body
Diagnosis of Plant Allergies in Dogs
If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of allergies, make an appointment with your veterinarian to have him examined. If you suspect his symptoms are coming from a specific plant, it may be a good idea to take the plant in with you to the office visit. The veterinarian will ask you a variety of questions about his symptoms, how long they last, if he seems to have them when he is indoors or outdoors, and the severity of the symptoms. It will be beneficial to note any new plants that you have recently purchased.
The veterinarian will perform a few tests just to be sure there is not an underlying condition, such as blood work, urinalysis, and biochemistry profile. The medical professional may choose to do a skin test if your dog has a skin reaction or irritation, or he may choose to wait and see if the allergies clear up once the offending allergen is removed from the dog’s skin contact.
Your veterinarian will take a closer look at your dog’s symptoms by looking into his nasal cavity, and looking into his throat, eyes, and ears. He may also listen to his lungs to check for any wheezing or difficulty breathing, check his heart rate, and his temperature. If your veterinarian feels that any other test need to be conducted, he will choose to do so or he may choose to wait and see how your dog recovers from avoidance of a suspected allergen. With pollen, this may be difficult to do since pollen is in the air that the dog breathes. The veterinarian will want to know if your companion’s symptoms of an inhalant allergy are seasonal, or throughout the year.
Treatment of Plant Allergies in Dogs
Treatment of plants allergies in dogs is symptomatic and it may take some time before your dog is feeling better. This is because finding the specific plant that is causing a contact allergy may need to be figured out, or an inhalant allergy due to pollen may be difficult to avoid, especially if your dog spends time outside. Treatment methods may include:
Topical medication for a contact allergy may be needed in order for your dog’s skin to heal. This medication will only be a temporary solution, as the real solution is the absolute avoidance of the plant he is coming into contact with. Antihistamines may also be given to your dog if he is suffering from an inhalant allergy due to pollen, and the veterinarian will decide how long he will need to take these. If he is suffering from a seasonal allergy, it may be for a few months out of the year.
Although it is very hard to avoid pollen in the air, your veterinarian will give you suggestions on what you can do to lessen his time around offending plants. If your dog is suffering from a skin allergy, or contact allergy, he will ask you to monitor your dog and be sure he does not come into contact with this type of plant.
Bathing your dog frequently will help keep his allergies down; frequent bathing can help prevent the body from absorbing any of the allergens that are affecting him. Your veterinarian will suggest a hypoallergenic shampoo and how often you should bathe him.
Recovery of Plant Allergies in Dogs
Once you have figured out, with the help of your veterinarian, precisely what your dog is allergic to in terms of plants, you will be able to adjust his lifestyle so he is no longer affected by the offending agent. Your veterinarian will give you many suggestions on how you can adjust his lifestyle. Many people that have dogs that are allergic to pollen, an inhalant allergy, also seek holistic care, and you can ask your veterinarian for suggestions.
If your dog is on an allergy medication due to a pollen allergy from plants, be sure to administer this medication consistently and at the same time every day. If you notice any side effects from the allergy medication contact your veterinarian and he may adjust the dosage or give you an alternate type of medication. Once you have determined which plant is affecting your dog in terms of a contact allergy, be sure to remove it from your home or property altogether.