For many dogs spring and summer bring on the torment of the itch. It can be difficult to get to the underlying cause in some cases, but for many dogs a few strategies can help.
For their owners this can mean costly visits to the vet and the worry of watching their dog scratch uncontrollably. There can also be many sleepless nights for everyone. For a discussion on the main causes of allergies, visit here. Below, we discuss some simple things that you can try at home to try and give your pet some relief from seasonal allergies.
- When your dog comes in from outside or walks on grass use a damp towel to wipe him down, paying particular attention to the feet if your dog licks his paws. You will need to ensure the feet are dry afterwards.
- Use QV Bath Oil at the concentration on the bottle and allow your pet to soak in the tub for 10 minutes every 3 days. This is great for flaky, dry skin.
- Use shampoo therapy weekly. If the skin is red, use something with chlorhexidine to treat infection, but otherwise use an oatmeal shampoo like Aloveen.
- Use Comfortis monthly for fleas, even if your dog does not have a primary flea allergy it will help to reduce the itch threshold.
- Check you don’t have wandering jew and look for it on your regular walks. This plant causes contact allergies on the feet and belly.
- Use fatty acids ideally with the correct ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 oils. Dermoscent ® used weekly smells great and works brilliantly or use Allerderm®.
- Try antihistamines, they do not work for all dogs, but are safe to use daily when they do.
- Wash any bedding, blankets or soft toys weekly on the hot washing cycle (over 60 °C or 140°F).
- For mouldy, damp houses, particularly those with old carpets, use dehumidifiers and HEPA filters.
- Use a topical steroid cream or spray for small areas such as feet.
If you haven’t already had a check-up with your vet, take your vet for an assessment and your vet will tailor a program to your needs. Allergy testing and immunotherapy are other options that can give you and your pet relief. For some dogs food changes may be necessary and there are certainly medications that can be used to control the allergy and treat secondary infections.