How To Spot And Treat Grass Allergies In Dogs
Dogs can develop allergies, in the same ways as people, to various foods (such as corn, grain, fish, poultry, and beef) as well as pollen, dander, and fleas. Pollen, invisible to humans but floats through the air, causes a grass allergy. Your dog may experience an allergic reaction if these tiny spores are absorbed through their skin and nasal passages. Furthermore, pollen can be absorbed by your dog’s fur from surfaces other than grass, like the earth, which contains grass pollen. You may carry pollen from your dog’s coat, shoes, and body during the spring and early summer, even if you keep your dog inside. A rash, compulsive licking and scratching, red, leaking skin, and watery, red eyes and nose are a few symptoms. If your dog experiences a severe response, it may result in airway inflammation (anaphylaxis) and constriction, making breathing difficult. Although there aren’t many reports of dogs experiencing anaphylaxis from inhaling grass pollen, experts believe it might happen. Pay attention and ensure your dog’s well-being if you observe them sneezing, coughing, or wheezing.
There are numerous symptoms that dogs with grass allergies may exhibit, making diagnosis challenging. When your dog is allergic to grass, the scratching and irritation may be misdiagnosed as fleas, dry skin, or chronic dermatitis. There is a high degree of similarity between these issues. The cause of the skin irritation is the grass pollen rather than the actual grass. For this reason, your dog might not seem sick in the fall or winter; the pollen-releasing season is when they get sick. The airborne grass pollen can cause your dog to exhibit symptoms even if you remove the grass and replace your lawn with a rock garden.
Symptoms of Grass Allergies in Dogs
Although there are many other symptoms of grass allergy, the following are the most frequently mentioned:
Patches of baldness from scratching
Dry or rough skin
Watery and red eyes
(paws, muzzle, underarms, eyes, ears, anus, groin) Scratching
snoring brought on by throat inflammation
Types of Grass Allergies in Dogs
An allergy to grass can affect any breed, age, or gender of dog, although it is more common in:
Dogs older than three months
Shepherds in Germany
Little Size Dachshunds
Dogs for Retrieval
Why Do Dogs Get Grass Allergies?
Pollen, the powdered yellow substance that covers everything in the spring and summer, is the culprit of dog allergies to grass. It is this powder that grasses and flowers release for the birds, bees, or wind to carry from plant to plant. Your dog may come into contact with grass pollen in a few different ways:
- Through the skin, absorbed
- Taken in by the lungs
- Brought inside the home by owners or visitors, who afterward give your dog a pet
- Petting fur that has pollen on it
Dogs’ Grass Allergy Diagnosis
Since your dog’s symptoms seem limited to general itching, the veterinarian may mistakenly diagnose your dog with chronic dermatitis or dry skin. For the veterinary team to rule out a grass allergy, you should inform them about the seasonal variations if your dog is healthy in the winter and fall. The veterinarian will perform a comprehensive physical examination that includes checking vital signs, general health, the state of the skin and coat, and maybe ordering laboratory testing. A bacterial and fungal swab, urinalysis, electrolyte level, blood chemical profile, complete blood count, and fecal examination are a few of the tests your veterinarian might recommend.
Due to the prevalence of skin conditions, the veterinarian could not identify a grass allergy even after a physical examination. If, on the other hand, your dog is acceptable in the spring and summer but itchy in the winter and fall, grass may be the cause. Ensure to note any accompanying symptoms, such as runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing, to your veterinarian, as these are unrelated to chronic dermatitis.
Blood Allergy Testing
Tell your veterinarian and request a serum allergy test if you believe grass pollen is the source of your dog’s itching. To perform this test, a blood sample is examined for indications of an allergic reaction. You can determine which allergens may be bothering your dog by looking at the test results.
Tests for Allergies Intradermally
Though a bit more expensive than other tests, this dermatologist-performed test is the most accurate way to identify topical allergies. During this process, your dog will be put under anesthesia and have a test region (typically the side) shaved. Your dog will be injected with various allergens (typically between 50 and 75) using a tiny needle by the dermatologist, who will then observe whether your dog exhibits any signs of inflammation or redness.
Handling Grass Allergies in Dogs
The best course of action for your dog’s specific symptoms will determine which of the many therapies and drugs available to aid with allergies in dogs. A prescription for a particular shampoo to lessen irritation and an antibiotic to avoid infection may also be given.
These injections are effective, but they can take some time to start working. They function similarly to human allergy shots. The vet will demonstrate how to inject a small quantity of grass—the allergen—daily into your dog, gradually increasing the amount each time to help desensitize them to grass. The issue with this approach is that your dog may not get completely desensitized to the shots for several months. It might not always fully address the symptoms. Moreover, anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal reaction, is an uncommon but severe side effect of these shots. If this condition arises, your veterinarian can give you an EpiPen (epinephrine injection pen) to administer adrenaline to your dog.
Care for the Skin
The best indicator of an allergy in your dog is their skin. Thus, it’s critical to restore normal skin as soon as possible. The itching will subside in a few days with a medicated wash.
Dogs’ Remission from Grass Allergies
Your dog will typically start to exhibit improvement within the first several months, but for some dogs, it may take up to 12 months. Immunotherapy can help your dog feel more comfortable and reduce the risk of secondary infections from scratching, but it does not cure the allergies. Any treatment that you choose for your dog must be followed consistently for the duration of your dog’s life in order for it to be effective. The indications may return worse than previously if you quit the treatment. Call your veterinarian as soon as possible if you have any questions or concerns.