Whole Dog Journal's Blog March 22, 2011

Spring Allergy Season Can Spell Trouble for Our Dogs, Too

Posted by Nancy Kerns at 10:27AM - Comments: (26)

I was beginning to think that it was the mere fact that I researched and wrote a long article about canine allergies for the April issue of Whole Dog Journal that made my dog Otto start itching. But the fact is, a quick glance at my calendar (where I note anything unusual about Otto’s health or behavior) reveals that I first noticed Otto licking and scratching himself on March 7 – and weather.com confirms that the pollen count in my area jumped from “low” to “moderate” around March 4.

The most common symptom of any allergy in dogs is itching. An allergy to flea bites is the most common type of allergy in dogs, but an allergy to something in the dog’s environment, such as pollen, dust, or exposure to dust mites (actually, the feces of dust mites), is the second-most common allergy. Food allergies are a distant third.

Look for a ton of information about canine allergies in the April issue. Keep an eye peeled for an increase in your dog’s licking, chewing, and scratching as the pollen counts rise in your part of the country. And, if you’ve observed signs of allergy, let the rest of us know where you and your dogs are located – and what you’re doing to try to keep your itchy dog comfortable.

Comments (25)

I have a tri-headed white collie who is starting to loose coat due to severe itching. I have had him to a dermatologist, am waiting for results of scrapings and blood work to check out thyroid and other possible issues. I know fish oil is supposed to be good for skin problems in dogs, but I am wondering if fish and canola oils can cause an allergic reaction? I have tried many limited ingredients foods, including veterinary diets, all expensive, but the itching continues. I noticed the one ingredient they all seem to have is fish oil or canola oil.

Posted by: Patricia B | May 10, 2011 5:14 AM    Report this comment

I have a tri-headed white collie who is starting to loose coat due to severe itching. I have had him to a dermatologist, am waiting for results of scrapings and blood work to check out thyroid and other possible issues. I know fish oil is supposed to be good for skin problems in dogs, but I am wondering if fish and canola oils can cause an allergic reaction? I have tried many limited ingredients foods, including veterinary diets, all expensive, but the itching continues. I noticed the one ingredient they all seem to have is fish oil or canola oil.

Posted by: Patricia B | May 10, 2011 5:14 AM    Report this comment

I loved your issue on itching. My labradoodle had a terrible problem with itching. I brought your article in to the vet and he tested my dog for yeast, bacteria and mites like you suggested. It turns out she had a yeast and bacteria problem. She is on antiobiotics and probiotics and she is doing much better!

Posted by: Lisa C | April 26, 2011 11:02 AM    Report this comment

I loved your issue on itching. My labradoodle had a terrible problem with itching. I brought your article in to the vet and he tested my dog for yeast, bacteria and mites like you suggested. It turns out she had a yeast and bacteria problem. She is on antiobiotics and probiotics and she is doing much better!

Posted by: Lisa C | April 26, 2011 11:02 AM    Report this comment

We've driven from the midwest to Maine with our Choc Lab every summer since he was 9 months old, in 2001. Two years ago, just a few days after our arrival, he seized up terribly with a rash all over, and last year it happened again. It could be from so many things....algae in the lake, mold or mildew or dust in the cottage, some kind of pollen.....We bring his food (Wellness Lg Breed + added meat and veggies) and supplements, of course...He ingests a lot of lake water while he is swimming, and our household water is from a well......the local vet prescribed 4 Benadryl 3X a day, which helped and which we were able to lessen by the end of our stay. I am about to start both dogs on Fish oil...hate giving so much Benadryl, but the situation is temporary. He has no allergy problems at home. Any thoughts?

Posted by: barbara l | April 1, 2011 12:59 PM    Report this comment

I live in SW Florida. The oak pollen and other irritants have been exceptionally high this season. Area news stations report on it's effect on pets. One of my Collies (I have 4) is itching & scratching like crazy to the point of biting herself raw. She's had flea allergy in the past, but I see no evidence of fleas. She's on antibiotics, Genesis Topical steroid spray, fish oil, & benadryl. I give her colloidal oatmeal baths every other week. She eats Natural Balance Duck & Potato. All this helps, but it doesn't go away. It's a constant battle & frustrating.

Posted by: JOYCE C | March 30, 2011 2:19 PM    Report this comment

One of my Shibas has had a really bad allergy season. He ended up with bald spots on his neck and chest. I feed him a good raw diet, with fish oil and kelp supplements, so I don't think it is a food allergy. He started out wheezing, then he lost the fur on his chest! (I'm wheezing too--juniper pollen is killer this year). I've had to use steroids and benedryl to get it to stop, but I'd MUCH prefer a healthier solution then steroids, so I'll be looking forward to more info.

Posted by: shibamistress | March 29, 2011 10:25 PM    Report this comment

If any of you are still having problems with your dog's allergies in the comments below, consider trying animal chiropractic. Chiropractic care many times can clear up things like hot spots, ear allergies/infections, itching and biting at the skin, etc. Chiropractic works with the nervous system, which includes the immune system, and can ensure that it is functioning optimally. I am an animal chiropractor and I have seen many dogs with allergy problems who have tried everything, and in most cases, chiropractic has cleared their allergies to where they aren't even on meds or use their topical creams or sprays anymore. Check AVCAdoctors.com for an animal chiropractor in your area... every doc in their directory is either a licensed chiropractor or vet who has continued their education in animal chiropractic and additionally have passed the animal chiropractic (American Veterinary Chiropractic Association) board exam.

Posted by: VitChiro | March 26, 2011 8:49 PM    Report this comment

I have an almost 13 fr. old Eng. Setter who has allergies and started having seizures at age 4 and is on a low dose of phenobarbitol. Once I became more savvy with canine nutrition I went to a no grain dog food. I feed Wellness Core because it is lower in calories to suit the needs of my 5 dachshunds. I also give fish oil caps. Starting about the middle of March she started to scratch and lick with a frenzy . I have given her benadryl with some relief and changed to glyco flex for her joint supplement. I also slathered on Emu Oil for the red sores she had scratched raw. She seems to be doing better. We live in VT and we have no fleas and no ticks yet. I am thinking this itching we are now

experiencing is due to the recently uncovered grass with the snow melt we have had.

Posted by: Linda W | March 24, 2011 9:23 AM    Report this comment

I have an almost 13 fr. old Eng. Setter who has allergies and started having seizures at age 4 and is on a low dose of phenobarbitol. Once I became more savvy with canine nutrition I went to a no grain dog food. I feed Wellness Core because it is lower in calories to suit the needs of my 5 dachshunds. I also give fish oil caps. Starting about the middle of March she started to scratch and lick with a frenzy . I have given her benadryl with some relief and changed to glyco flex for her joint supplement. I also slathered on Emu Oil for the red sores she had scratched raw. She seems to be doing better. We live in VT and we have no fleas and no ticks yet. I am thinking this itching we are now

experiencing is due to the recently uncovered grass with the snow melt we have had.

Posted by: Linda W | March 24, 2011 9:23 AM    Report this comment

I recently came across WDJ's 2007 article on Canine Allergies and it was eye-opening for me. The article mentions that most allergies are really a symptom of a poorly functioning immune system -- most likely leaky gut syndrome. If you repair and restore the immune system, then it can effectively resist the allergens. I purchased several of the supplements mentioned in the article including Seacure, SeaVive and Bacillus Coagulans probiotic. In just three weeks, my severely allergic chocolate Lab has made great improvement. There has been a dramatic decrease in his itching, flaky/crusty skin and he has new fur growing in his bald patches and thinned out areas. I also added digestive enzymes and organic virgin coconut oil to his diet and switched his food to Orijen. This is a rescue dog who spent about five years on antibiotics and steroids for his allergies and associated skin and yeast issues. Allergy vaccine shots did not work for him. Topically, I am trying Clora Care - a natural antibiotic solution as well as tea tree and coconut oils. He still has a ways to go but I'm pleased that there is now a light at the end of the tunnel (not involving harsh chemicals and prescription medications)for this deserving boy who I adopted. We are located in Bucks County,PA where allergy symptoms (for the both of us)started in January/February.

Posted by: Joyce H | March 24, 2011 12:35 AM    Report this comment

I live in FL also, and I started to notice my GSD having above average amounts of eye discharge about the beginning of the month. Since he has Pannus and is on eye drops to control it, I knew I needed my Vet to check if it was "just" pollen. He ended up with another Rx. for antiobiotic eye drops for a few days. Then I started to do an eye wash as soon as we come in from playing or "business" walks, and that seems to help. Luckily, he doesn't seem to be itchy through all this. I was feeding raw 3.5 of his 4 years, But I couldn't keep his weight down. He's now on SOJO's dehydrated mix since EVERYONE I talk to says their dog looses lots of weight on it. He had a very defined waist at 120 lb.(he's very large boned), even more so at 116 lbs. I haven't noticed any changes in coat just a little flakey so I added fish oil with his Nupro. He's not picked up any itchy areas or developed any hot spots after the food change, but he's only on it until he's down to 100 lbs. and it's back to raw.

Posted by: Andrea K | March 23, 2011 12:42 AM    Report this comment

I live in Oregon and my dogs eyes develop whitish eye goobers that are a constant irritant to me. She doesn't rub her eyes or act like they bother her and I have had the vet check it several times. She gets all of her exercise off leash and spends most of that time with her nose to the ground running thru all kinds of grasses. I give her Benadryl occasionally and that helps on the bad days.

Posted by: cajunmoon45@msn.com | March 22, 2011 10:12 PM    Report this comment

Here in the SF Bay Area, pollen gives one of my dogs itchy watery/gummy eyes every Spring. This year it started a couple of weeks ago - early March. A little (generic) Benedril clears it right up. By mid-summer, her allergies are gone, until next year. Good luck to those of you whose dogs are more severe reactions.

Posted by: LINDA F | March 22, 2011 3:55 PM    Report this comment

Where do I start? Monty, a Great Dane had so many problems as a pup, diarrhea, etc. Putting him on a diet of hamburger and rice or chicken and rice didn't seem to make a difference, in fact he got worse. Itching too! Finally our vet gave him the standard allergy tests (one for environmental and one for food). Wow! he is allergic to rice, beef, lamb, pork...and dandelions, dust mites, and specific grasses. After years of shots, meds, he has finally outgrown the majority of them. He has been on two different (we switch according to WDJ) NO GRAIN dog food (both vetted by WDJ), yogurt, pre/pro biotics, and salmon oil...LOTS OF IT, three x normal dose. An all natural sheep skin on his dog bed, daily vacuum and weekly shampooing with an all natural PABA and sulfate free dog shampoo and our problems are a thing of the past. While every dog is different and methods vary, we were relieved to have a 'paper' in hand listing specific allergies...armed with this we were able to plan our attack.

Good luck...ps...WDJ you are the BOMB!

Posted by: SANDRA M | March 22, 2011 3:23 PM    Report this comment

Young Living essential oils which are a very high quality, theraputic oils compared to cheap essential oils used for cheap fragrances.

These oils are safe, and amazing.

Kathy berkshirecollies@msn.com

Posted by: Kathleen S | March 22, 2011 3:22 PM    Report this comment

Vetrycin is a spray for wounds that helps with hot spots. ALso wet tea bags.

Posted by: stitch | March 22, 2011 1:44 PM    Report this comment

Quercenol, an antioxidant by Seven Forests has helped my pap more than anything...we were even using predisone. I give her a little piece of a tablet twice a day and use Isle of Dogs Evening PRimrose shampoo...that helps a lot....

Posted by: stitch | March 22, 2011 1:42 PM    Report this comment

I have lots of remedies in my toolbox that will help stop the itch for a small window of time. But, my dog just goes back at the same spot plus more as if she is infested with bugs. No mites, no fleas but the problem comes back every spring with a vengeance worse than the year before. We live in the Florida Keys. Nice and humid doesn't seem to help. So, I'm looking for a remedy that will actually prevent the allergic reactions in the first place. I've recently added quercitin and have just started with mangosteen juice. My homeopathic vet has tried at least a dozen remedies over three years. Nothing gets at the problem yet. We're working on boosting her immune system and no more vaccines, ever. The last she had was almost three years ago. One thing that works quicker and faster than anything else for the oozing hot spots is cayenne pepper if I can keep her from licking it off! It's fabulous for any type of cut even though it briefly burns. It works wonders on stomach ulcers too.

Posted by: SHERRY P | March 22, 2011 1:15 PM    Report this comment

I have 3 dogs. One has seasonal allergies, and used to scratch to the point of blood in the summer and fall. I took him to a Veterinary Dermatologist. After running several tests which were all negative, he was skin prick tested revealing he was allergic to 3 kinds of grass and 2 kinds of weeds. We started him on weekly allergy shots, and over time he built up a good tolerance, but then he started itching in the winter. We tested again, and he had developed an allergy to dust mites in the house (no fleas or flea dirt present - we checked). We added dust mite to his injection soup, and we have finally reached full strength. He now scratches only as much as any other dog (or person).

I feed an all Raw homemade diet with coconut and fish oil (and other supplements) added. I too am interested in how to use the stinging nettles. I have "Herbs for Pets" by Mary L. Wulff-Tilford & Gregory L Tilford but have had difficulty figuring out how to use/make some of the recipes. Sadly much of it is not written for the layman in my opinion.

Posted by: ThrpyDogTeam | March 22, 2011 12:48 PM    Report this comment

I noticed the same thing with my Aussie here in Vancouver, WA. He started itching again around March 10. I had him on allergy shots for about 5 years, but last November they stopped working and were making him worse. I took him off and he immediately got better and didn't itch until this month. We are using Fish Oil caps and looking into some alternative medicines to keep him comfortable and happy.

Posted by: Sitstaypets | March 22, 2011 12:30 PM    Report this comment

After reading this blog about allergies i had to say something. I have tried EVERYTHING for my dog spent tons of money at the vets but i found a solution. Its called dermagic and its the most wonderful shampoo and salve for dogs with skin allergies. i can stake my life on it. Also i use homeopathic allergy drops thruout the day and it seems to really help. that dermagic stuff is a godsend so if ur dog is suffering pls give them some relief with this wonderful stuff.. dermagic.com

Posted by: Mary J S | March 22, 2011 12:21 PM    Report this comment

Derma Drops by Spa Diggity Dog is my go-to remedy for hot spots or itching - powerful stuff. Also, neem shampoo and spray by Ark Naturals is very good. Try Spring Tonic by Animal Apawthecary daily in food, and Quercitin with Bromelain daily in food. My 4yo GSD is highly allergic (even allergic to human hair and carrots!) and I have run the race of finding what works/helps.

Posted by: Diane H | March 22, 2011 12:05 PM    Report this comment

Rainbear I also live in AZ but my dogs all tend to get a little itchy this time of year,although not to the point of scratching themselves raw. I add coconut oil to their raw food and that helps to a point. How were you giving the stinging nettles I'd like to give them a try. Thanks.

Posted by: Keri P | March 22, 2011 11:42 AM    Report this comment

I'm fortunate that neither of my current dogs suffer from allergies of any kind. I live in Arizona, but my previous dog scratched himself raw with skin allergies. My vet recommended Stinging Nettles (I take these for my own allergies), which worked wonderfully! To treat the hotspots, liquid Vit E worked wonders.

Posted by: Rainbear | March 22, 2011 11:16 AM    Report this comment

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