Vet explains why dogs itch, scratch and gnaw on their paws in summer

A veterinarian explains why dogs are itching and scratching all the time in the summer — it could actually be an allergy.

People with hay fever know that pollen levels tend to be higher in summer, but owners may not be aware that dogs can also suffer from allergies.

Dr. Linda Simon, Veterinarian dog and dog shares advice on spotting the signs of seasonal hay fever in dogs and how to relieve them.

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While hay fever can cause itchy eyes and a runny nose in humans, veterinary experts say hay fever affects dogs in different ways.

“A dog pollen allergy happens the same way we do allergies — through exposure to pollen particles released by plants,” she said. “It can start at any age, but usually develops early in life.”

“While we may have runny noses, tears or sneeze, hay fever in dogs is different. Here are the vital signs to look out for to make sure your pup isn’t experiencing any discomfort and is ready for the late summer months Live your best life.”

The vet adds: “The best way to naturally relieve your dog’s hay fever symptoms is to limit their exposure to pollen. If you live in a rural area, this can be difficult, but there are things you can try to help manage your symptoms.”

signs and symptoms

Owners may not be aware that dogs can also suffer from allergies.


One of the signs of hay fever in dogs is skin irritation. If you notice your puppy itching, rubbing, or biting on his paws, eyes, ears, mouth, and other parts of his body, especially after walking on grass (grass pollen is especially high from mid-May to July) May indicate that they’re suffering from an allergic reaction to pollen.

red, sore, or flaky skin

Like humans, a pollen allergy can give your dog a red rash. Their skin may also look sore, especially in areas that frequently touch the ground, such as their paws, legs, around their hips, and in the groin area. You may also notice redness around their eyes, ears, mouth, and mouth, as well as around their armpits and stomach.

Their skin can also appear flaky from excessive rubbing or licking. They may also lose their fur. Even if their skin looks fine, you should still monitor for any excessive itching. Frequent scratching can lead to a buildup of bacteria and yeast and lead to skin, ear, and eye infections, so keep an eye on your puppy throughout the summer.

teary eyes and nose

You may notice a watery discharge from their eyes and nose. However, these are less common symptoms of dog hay fever. That said, see your veterinarian if you notice any persistent discharge or discharge with a cloudy, yellow, or green appearance — it could be a more serious problem, such as a blockage or infection.

Frequent sneezing, coughing, or wheezing

Likewise, sneezing and coughing are less common symptoms of hay fever, but they are still necessary for surveillance. In some cases, hay fever symptoms may involve the respiratory system, with coughing or sneezing. However, frequent sneezing is more likely to be a different irritation, such as indicative dust or something stuck in the nose or throat. If you think your dog has any breathing problems, be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately.

How to relieve hay fever symptoms

go for a walk in the morning

Once the temperature drops, the early morning and late night pollen counts are much lower. If your dog is suffering, try to keep walking and being outdoors during these times. When you’re out, keep your dog ahead in the grass to keep them from rolling around and covering themselves with pollen.

You can also plan your walk and try to avoid overgrown areas and woodland or grassland areas.

Expose your puppy to a variety of pollen

Research shows that exposing your dog to a variety of pollen, such as those from grasses, trees, and plants, at a young age can help them build immunity to hay fever symptoms.

mow your lawn

Trim your grass regularly in your garden to maintain its length. Keeping the grass short will also prevent grass seed injury, as the seeds can cling to the dog’s fur and burrow into the skin when undetected. You can also reduce the time your dog spends in the garden.

keep doors and windows closed

During hay fever season, close doors and windows in your home as much as possible. This will help minimize indoor pollen counts and give your dog some relief.

Increase their washes and grooming

After a walk, rub your dog lightly to remove pollen from its paws, fur, or face. Regular brushing can also help remove pollen from your skin, even if you can’t see it. If the weather is particularly hot and your dog likes garden hoses, you can also hose them down to wash off the pollen.

Hay fever affects dogs in different ways

Wash your dog’s bedding regularly and vacuum the places they visit most

Regularly washing our bedding and keeping the house clean is what humans do when they have hay fever, but don’t forget your dog’s bedding too. Keeping this clean and any area in the house where they spend a lot of time will help reduce allergens in the house.

Consider allergy testing

If your dog is really suffering, it may be time to consider an allergy test. This is when your veterinarian examines your dog to determine the underlying cause of skin irritation, infection, and discomfort. They may also recommend testing for specific allergens.

Depending on the results, they may recommend immunotherapy—a treatment in which small doses of an allergen are given to your dog on a regular basis to reduce allergy symptoms and possibly even lead to a permanent cure.

Do not give your dog an antihistamine without first consulting a veterinarian

While there is no cure for hay fever in dogs, there are a number of ways you can manage the symptoms to make them more tolerable for your dog. Your best bet is to contact your veterinarian. Especially if you think your dog needs medical help. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend a variety of treatments, including topical shampoos, skin creams and sprays, ear and eye drops, and even steroids in severe cases.

You may have heard of people giving their dogs antihistamines or Piriton. First, they are not always effective, and more importantly, some human antihistamines can be toxic, so should only be used under the direction of a veterinarian.

The main active ingredient in Piriton is chlorpheniramine, which is generally safe for dogs. However, other brands may contain cetirizine hydrochloride, which is not as safe as caffeine, alcohol, pseudoephedrine, or amphetamines. Always follow your veterinarian’s advice so you can enjoy summer with your pup without worries or any problems.


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