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Spring can be something of a mixed blessing for allergy sufferers; warmer weather and more light on the plus side, but more chance of allergy flare-ups for others!
If your dog tends to suffer from allergies, there are a few things and situations that occur in the spring that can trigger flare-ups. Read on to learn about the five most common spring allergy triggers for dogs.
Pollen-based seasonal allergies are a very broad catch-all title, which isn’t really that helpful in terms of identifying an allergen at a level useful enough to be able to do something about it! A pollen allergy in dogs, hayfever, or allergies to a specific type of plant or part of a plant that flares up in spring can be complex, for many reasons.
The first of these is that when exactly the plant in question triggers your dog’s allergies can vary from year to year depending on the plant’s own growth cycle, and the second is that your dog could feasibly react somewhat differently each year too.
Some dogs outgrow hayfever and seasonal allergies they developed as puppies, while others will only be affected by them later in life.
It is entirely possible that more than one type of plant or pollen can trigger allergies in a dog, so even if you identify one, others might be in play too.
Also, even if you did manage to identify (which will usually be by means of veterinary testing) which pollen or pollens were triggering those spring allergies in your dog, you may not be able to reduce their exposure to it to the extent that this will have a meaningful impact on their symptoms.
Some plants and pollens might be localised to areas you can avoid to an extent, which will lessen your dog’s exposure to them up close; but if your dog is allergic to a spring pollen that is virtually ubiquitous (like common grass pollens) then really all you’ll be able to do is treat the symptoms themselves.
One major misapprehension about fleas that used to be almost received wisdom but that is wholly incorrect is that fleas are only a problem or only around in spring and summer, dying off in autumn and being no threat at all in winter.
This in turn led to many dog owners only flea treating their dogs during the warmer months of the year. Factually this was never correct, but before homes were centrally heated fleas did used to be a little less prolific when the weather was cold, but never absent entirely as dogs are still warm!
Dogs definitely need flea treatment all year round, and it is important to remember that just because you are not being bitten by fleas that your dog might be; dog fleas prefer dogs to people, rather like many people do too!
That said, flea populations do really kick up a gear when the weather takes a turn for the warmer in spring, and so dogs that aren’t protected against fleas are apt to get bitten exponentially more. This can lead to localised irritations at the site of bites, but more acutely, flare-ups in dogs that suffer from flea bite dermatitis, a type of allergy.
Other bugs in general tend to be out in greater numbers including flying biting ones, all of which can cause quite an acute localised reaction in dogs sensitive to them.
Mould and mildew within the home tend to begin to clear up and dry out as the weather warms up in many cases; but interestingly, this, and spring itself, can up the exposure to dogs and so cause flare ups in dogs sensitive to them.
How come? Well, mould, mildew and damp are dangerous to dogs (and people) who live in those types of environments all year round, and they can cause respiratory allergies in dogs.
However, mould spores that are dry diffuse in the air more easily and so might result in a higher level of exposure to the dogs breathing them in.
Coupled with this, if you have a proper spring clean each year and scrub or dust off areas of the home that haven’t been touched for a while and so, disturb the mould and mildew in place there, this again increases the chances of exposure for dogs.
Dust is a bit like pollen in that it is not one entity, but is made up of all sorts of things including shed skin cells and much more. Dust, or rather, the things in it can make people and dogs cough even if they don’t have a dust allergy, but it can also be a specific allergenic trigger too.
Why is dust a seasonal spring allergen trigger for some dogs? Once more, because some of us get vigorous about spring cleaning, and while this does remove dust from the home and leave it clean once you’re done, disturbing the dust can set your dog’s allergies off in the interim.
You could be mistaken for thinking that this article has been designed to deter you from spring cleaning or at least give you a good excuse not to do any, and this final spring allergen trigger for dogs relates to this too!
Cleaning chemicals encompasses everything from obviously toxic substances like bleach and oven cleaner, down to things like Zoflora, air freshener, antibacterial wipes and so on.
Some dogs will be sensitive to some of these, either if they come into contact with them or just inhale them in the air.
If you’ve just done a spring clean and your dog’s allergies seem to be kicking up, consider if they might be allergic to something you used and seek alternatives next time.
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