When the weather’s getting nicer, the first thing you want to do is plan a family trip outdoors. Your dog is a part of your family, and you want to enjoy your adventure together. Like some members of your family, your dog might also be dealing with seasonal allergies. Your dog can experience the same allergy symptoms, like watery eyes and drippy nose, that you might experience when the pollen count rises.
While it’s best to stay indoors as much as possible on days when allergens are abundant, there’s no reason your dog can’t enjoy a normal spring day out in the wilderness when you take proper precautions.
How To Diagnose Dog Allergies
Although a vet needs to formally diagnose your dog with seasonal allergies, common sense can often point pet owners in the right direction. If your dog starts sneezing and sniffling a lot after spending time outdoors, if they start itching and scratching a little more often, or if their eyes become pink and watery, it’s usually easy to see that your dog is experiencing seasonal allergies.
Dogs with seasonal allergies often develop itchy, sensitive, pink skin. They’ll scratch or chew at the irritated spots, often exacerbating the irritation. They may also develop ear infections that are difficult to treat or frequently return.
If your dog has seasonal allergies, any home remedies you use should only be intended to hold them over until the soonest vet visit you can schedule. You may continue using these solutions if your vet approves.
What Human Antihistamines are Safe for Dogs?
Dogs can take diphenhydramine, which is the active ingredient of Benadryl, or cetirizine, the active ingredient of Zyrtec. Other brand-name over-the-counter allergy products with diphenhydramine as the only active ingredient are also safe. Benadryl is the safest and most efficient option for the treatment of seasonal allergies in dogs.
Although loratadine (Claritin) is technically safe for dogs, many varieties of Claritin are designed to dissolve. They could also be sweetened with xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs. This said, it’s best to avoid Claritin. If your dog would benefit from a long-term allergy solution, talk to your vet.
How Much Benadryl Can You Give a Dog For Allergies?
Dogs can generally have 1 milligram of diphenhydramine per pound of body weight, up to twice a day. It’s safest to wait 12 hours between doses to allow your dog’s body to fully metabolize the first Benadryl dosage and prevent overdose.
Children’s Benadryl often comes in flavored, sweetened chewable tablets. It’s a wise idea to avoid any artificial flavors or sweeteners in anything you give your animal, especially if they contain xylitol, a natural sweetener used as an alternative to sugar.
Stick with adult Benadryl tablets, which typically don’t contain any sweeteners (though it’s worth double checking the ingredients list). Adult Benadryl tablets each contain 25 milligrams of diphenhydramine.
It can be difficult to measure the perfect 1 milligram to 1 pound ratio for your dog. A small dog would only need one-fifth of one tablet. If your dog regularly experiences allergies, an efficient pill cutter that can split tablets into multiple pieces may be a worthwhile investment. When in doubt, it’s better to give your dog too little than too much.
Will Benadryl Make My Dog Sleepy?
Benadryl can make your dog very sleepy. This side effect is normal. When using Benadryl, it’s better to give your dog the medication after exposure to allergens rather than before.
Your dog might not feel like going out to play if the Benadryl creates a sedative effect. You’ll spend a lot of time trying to motivate your dog to move or carrying your dog who doesn’t have an interest in walking around.
Uncommon side effects like increased thirst, dry mouth, and reduced volume of urine could mean that Benadryl isn’t agreeing with your dog. If you notice these side effects, stop giving your dog Benadryl and talk to your vet.
What Home Remedy Can I Give My Dog for Allergies?
Do not give your dog any home remedies for allergies that are designed for people. Holistic wellness is valuable for your dog, but a human approach won’t work. Many natural remedies involve the use of essential oils which can be dangerous for animals. The best home remedies for dog allergies are care practices that will prevent symptoms from worsening.
Ear Cleaning Solutions
If your dog has an ear infection related to seasonal allergies, you need to see a veterinarian for proper care. Part of that care plan may involve cleaning your pet’s ears. Give your vet a call before you start using a natural ear cleaning solution. Clean ears can ease your pet’s discomfort.
Skin Soothing Baths
If your dog’s skin is itchy due to flea allergies, insect bites, dust mites, or other allergens, an oatmeal bath might help. The same oatmeal soap you use to soothe itchy skin for babies and kids can provide similar relief to your dog.
If you don’t have hypoallergenic oatmeal soap, you can grind plain unsweetened dry oatmeal in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Combine it with a little bit of water to make a paste you can use in place of soap, or opt for a medicated shampoo containing oatmeal.
Once you’ve applied oatmeal soap or oat paste to your dog’s skin, let your pet sit in comfortably warm water with the soothing oats for as long as your dog likes. At least ten minutes would be optimal. If your dog enjoys baths, you can let your dog relax for a little longer. What’s most important is that your dog is comfortable.
Skin Spot Treatments
VETCBD Hemp’s CBD topical balm can be used to support minor skin irritations in pets. If your pet has skin irritation related to allergies, a little bit of balm applied directly to the source can help to protect the skin as it heals. It also has the added benefit of CBD, which can be used to soothe feelings of discomfort.
Making Your Home Accommodating to Your Dog’s Allergies
Making your home accommodating to people with allergies will help your family, your pets, and your visitors feel comfortable during allergy season. It may require a bit of an initial investment, but in the end, it’s worth it to have a healthier and more comfortable home.
Frequently Launder Your Dog’s Bedding
Your dog may be dragging allergens in from the outside. Pollen can stick to your dog’s coat and paws, causing symptoms to continue or worsen even when your dog is in the house. Brushing and bathing your dog is important, but it won’t be optimally effective if you don’t frequently launder your dog’s bedding.
The simplest solution is to cover your dog’s beds or favorite hangout spots with a blanket, and to keep a few spare blankets for this purpose. You can quickly and easily swap blankets out, keeping your dog’s lounge spot covered while one blanket is in the wash. Be sure to use hypoallergenic dye-free, fragrance-free detergent when laundering your pet’s bedding.
Allergens have a tendency to settle into carpets and couches. Vacuuming frequently can help. You can use upholstery attachments to vacuum your couch. If you live in a tech-savvy household, it may be worth purchasing a robotic automatic vacuum that can run itself daily.
Use Air Purifiers and Allergen Filters
HEPA air purifiers remove allergens and mold from the air. As long as you remember to frequently clean and replace the filters, they’ll continuously work to reduce the number of irritants in the environment. You can also use HEPA air filters for your air conditioner intake vents to prevent allergens from circulating around your home.
Prioritize Your Pet’s Wellness
If your dog has allergies, speak to your vet to hear about treatment options like steroids, immunotherapy, or allergy shots, or injections. In the meantime, there’s Benadryl, oatmeal baths, topical skin protectants, and good allergy hygiene practices to help reduce the discomfort that your dog may feel when allergies put a damper on playtime.