Hay Fever in Dogs: Here are five common symptoms that your dog or cat is allergic to pollen

Pollen in spring and summer can be a problem for some dogs.Pollen in spring and summer can be a problem for some dogs.
Pollen in spring and summer can be a problem for some dogs.
With spring comes pollen - and it’s not just humans that can suffer from hay fever.

Allergy season is here, and pet experts are warning owners to be vigilant of the potential allergies that their furry friends may experience. 

Seasonal allergies are a common risk to pets - studies show 15 per cent of dogs suffer from them and cats are also particularly prone, especially if they spend a lot of time outside.  

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Typically, trees, grass, and weeds are the main cause of allergies in spring, as these release pollen into the air, causing some animals to develop an irritation to the airborne particles. 

From biting their skin to backward sneezing, the pet experts at Trusted Housesitters have shared five ways to spot if your pet has seasonal allergies and how you can minimise the problem.


They are scratching and biting their skin

A common sign that your pet is suffering from allergies is that they have itchy skin around their chest, paw, or armpit. It may not be unusual, however, if left untreated this can lead to them biting their skin causing severe discomfort, infected sores, and scabs. In addition to scratching, your pet may also drag its face or body across carpeting or rough surfaces to gain some relief from the itching.

They have bald patches

Hair loss in cats is just one symptom of a skin condition or seasonal allergy which can affect both indoor and outdoor cats. However, consulting with your veterinarian is the best way to confirm which one this may be. This can also affect your other furry pets, so keep an eye on any bald spots under their legs, between the toes, on their sides and belly.

They’re sneezing backwards

Just like humans, change of weather can cause dogs to sneeze. However, they actually ‘reverse sneeze.’ One of the reasons this happens is when a muscle spasm in the back of the throat occurs due to pollen. Occasional episodes of reverse sneezing are normal and isn’t dangerous, however, if you notice your furry friend is experiencing this consistently, then it’s best to consult a veterinarian. 

Watery eyes

This can occur not only in cats and dogs but other pets such as rabbits. If you notice they have watery ocular discharge accompanied by inflammation, or see them squint, then most likely they have an ‘allergic conjunctivitis’. This can be easily treated by simply flushing the eyes with sterile saline once or twice a day.  

They are shaking their heads 

Head shaking can occur in both dogs and cats. This is a natural reflex that helps them to remove the allergen from their face and eyes and relieve them from discomfort. However, if you notice this is done frequently and excessively, then it’s essential to be aware that they may have an ear infection or significant inflammation and discharge, which should be seen by a professional as soon as possible.

Preventitive steps

Although antihistamines can be given to your pet to alleviate their symptoms, there are some steps an owner can take to prevent exposure to allergens, namely:

  • Vacuuming often to minimise indoor allergens, such as pollen and mould spores.
  • Taking your pet for regular check-ups at the vet and keeping up with flea and tick prevention. 
  • Washing bedding and grooming products.
  • Changing outdoor play areas and avoiding fields or sections of the yard that might have allergic triggers.
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