Just like us, dogs can suffer from a wide range of allergies. They may have allergic reactions to fleas, food, or other allergens in the environment. Like pollen. But how to tell if a dog has a pollen allergy? And how to treat pollen allergy in dogs? Glad you asked. In this guide, we’ll be covering those questions and more about hay fever in dogs.

Can dogs have seasonal allergies?

Yes! Just like you, your dog can have seasonal allergies. Spring, summer and autumn are the seasons when allergens such as pollen are most likely to affect your dog1. And while we’ll explore dog pollen allergy in this post, you can read more about all the different kinds of potential allergies in dogs here.

Hay fever in dogs

Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, can occur in humans and dogs alike. Hay fever in dogs is an allergic reaction in the dog’s body as a response to pollen in the air2. Pollen allergy or hay fever in dogs is much less common than other types of dog allergies, such as flea and dust allergies.

What is pollen?

Pollen is a substance found inside the flowers of grasses, trees, and weeds. This fine, powdery material is an essential part of the fertilization and reproduction of plants (a.k.a. pollination). Pollen is naturally spread by insects or wind1. Corn, oat, and ragweed are common pollens that can lead to allergies in dogs.

If your dog likes to sniff flowers, chances are that they’ll come in direct contact with pollen.

When us humans develop an allergic reaction to pollen, we call it a hay fever. It’s this same condition that can affect our furry friends too.

woman and dog sitting down in the grass in summer
Pictured: Dog and woman sitting outside in a field of grass and flowers, dog wearing a Tractive GPS Dog Tracker

Can dogs be allergic to pollen?

Yes, dogs can have allergies to pollen. Dogs might come into direct contact with pollen simply by touching pollen-packed plants with their face or feet. But they could also simply inhale pollen that is floating in the air. Either way, a pollen allergy – both in dogs and humans – is an overactive immune system’s reaction to the stuff.

When is the worst time for dog pollen allergies?

Pollen allergy season is at its peak in spring and summer, but can last until the beginning of autumn. This is due to the fact that pollen comes mostly from grass, weeds, flowers or trees. Tree pollen season usually starts earlier in the year, while grass pollen season gets heavier towards summer. Some scientists report that rising temperatures are leading to more pollen production – that could mean more severe allergy seasons in the future2.

Follow my dog’s every step

Which breeds are most at risk of dog pollen allergy?

According to various studies, dog pollen allergy doesn’t occur in the first year of life. For unknown reasons, it also seems to affect more female dogs than male dogs. Still, while all dogs can suffer from a pollen allergy, some breeds are more at risk than others to this type of allergy. These include:

  • Pugs
  • German Shepherds
  • English and French Bulldogs
  • Shar Pei
  • Labradors
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Setters
  • Terriers3
  • Boxers
  • Dalmatians
  • Schnauzers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Bichon Frise

Note: This list is not exhaustive, and nearly any dog (breed) could suffer from a dog pollen allergy. Dog pollen allergy is one of the most common types of pet allergies.

Dog pollen allergy symptoms

So, how to tell if your dog has a pollen allergy? There are several pollen allergy symptoms to look out for. While hay fever in humans mostly causes a runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes, in dogs it usually affects the skin. So if you notice your dog itching, gnawing or rubbing certain parts of their body like the paws, legs, groin, ears or muzzle, it may be a dog pollen allergy.

However, keep in mind, if your dog displays any of the symptoms below, they could also be suffering from another medical condition, so talk to your vet before diagnosing hay fever in your dog.

  • Red nose
  • Itchy skin
  • Rubbing against furniture or carpets
  • Excessive rubbing or licking of affected areas
  • Hair loss
  • Inflamed patches of skin
  • Swollen, itchy paws
  • Ear infections
  • Sleepiness2

Pay attention to your dog’s behavior during pollen season. Keep an eye out for any of these symptoms and talk to your vet if you are unsure about your dog’s health.

How to prevent pollen allergies in dogs

To minimize your dog’s exposure to pollen during the pollen allergy season, try these tps:

  1. Before heading out, use a special spray containing oatmeal and aloe vera to protect your pup’s fur.
  2. After the walk, remove pollen that might have clung to your dog’s paws with a clean cloth.
  3. Immediately soothe any inflammation. Give your dog a bath with a special hypo-allergenic shampoo for irritated skin.
  4. Remove dirty or clumped hair from your dog.
white dog in field of flowers

How to treat pollen allergy in dogs

Treatment options for pets that are mildly affected by pollen allergy can include special care products, such as face and paw wipes, shampoos or soaps and special brushes.

Benedryl is also commonly used by veterinarians to treat allergies in dogs3.

Another best practice in treating dog pollen allergy is immunotherapy. This is a basically a long-term therapy to get them less sensitive to a specific allergen, such as pollen. This treatment is personalized for each dog and can be administered over time. As a result, your dog will develop an immunity towards pollen allergens.

If you notice any dog pollen allergy symptoms, the first thing to do is to contact the vet and schedule a checkup for your four-legged friend. There are plenty of solutions and after a thorough check, a vet can tell you what the best treatment is for your furry friend.

Natural remedies for dog pollen allergies

Here are some natural care remedies for your dog that are good to have at hand during pollen allergy season:

  • Coconut oil: its antibacterial properties reduce the sensation of itchy skin. Used in combination with fish oil, it can decrease allergic responses your dog might have to pollen.
  • Aloe vera: make sure you use it in gel form. Due to its anti-inflammatory characteristics, it is just right for treating hot spots and itches.
  • Apple cider vinegar: very effective for cleaning your dog’s paws from pollen
  • Thyme infusion: calms down the skin infections, suitable for the toes and paws
  • Fish oil and turmeric: anti-inflammatory supplements like these may benefit your furry friend.

Be sure to speak with your vet before trying any of these or other natural treatments.

Final words on dog pollen allergy

Every year, pollen allergy affects many people – and their canine friends too. Any dog can develop a pollen allergy. Some are more likely to do so due to their environment, breed or exposure to pollen. Make sure you know the symptoms of dog pollen allergy, monitor your dog’s behavior in pollen season, and take measures to protect your dog from allergies like the ones listed above. You may also try natural remedies to treat dog pollen allergy, but consult with your vet if you’re unsure about your dog’s pollen allergy reaction, health condition, or which treatments are safe.

To see how seasonal allergies can affect a French Bulldog, check out the video below:

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