Ask the Expert: Your Dog and Hay Fever

With spring in full bloom, you might not be the only one in your house feeling a little ruff. Hay fever in dogs is actually more common than you’d think and pretty easy to identify once you know what to look out for. We spoke to our resident expert vet, Dr. Ockert Botha, to bring you all the whys, hows and what-to-dos when hay fever strikes your pooch.

What are the causes?
As with humans, the biggest culprit in dogs developing hay fever is pollen. And with spring upon us and summer on its way, blooming trees and plants are pumping the air full of it.

Pollen is an allergen and by breathing it in or licking it off their fur, your dog can develop an allergic reaction. This, in essence, is what hay fever is.

And the symptoms?
While humans exhibit upper respiratory symptoms like a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing, these are not very common in dogs suffering with hay fever.

A major symptom to look out for is severely itchy skin, which can be identified by constant scratching and paw licking. The scratching can also lead to secondary skin infections, which are characterized by inflamed red patches with thinning or no hair.

How to treat it
Completely freeing your dog of hay fever is very difficult, but there are ways to help alleviate their symptoms.

To try and minimize their exposure to pollens, dogs may be bathed regularly up to twice a week with a high quality, pet-specific hypo-allergenic shampoo containing Oatmeal or Aloe Vera. You can also try keeping them indoors when the pollen count is high to reduce their exposure. An air purifier will also help limit the amount of pollen in your home.

If your pooch is not responding to these home remedies, your vet can recommend a cortisone treatment to lessen hay fever symptoms. Prolonged treatment can have severe side effects, so always consult an experienced vet.

Studies have also shown that very high doses of Omega 3 can help reduce your dog’s chances of developing hay fever.

JOCK is enriched with essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that promotes a healthy skin and coat.

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