Skip to content
Treatment for Your Pet's Seasonal Allergies
M Duffy Jones, DVM posted:
Treating seasonal allergies is all about managing the allergies and keeping inflammation to a minimum. And the key is knowing what time of year these reactions occur in your pet. I have many patients who are spring reactors, some that are fall reactors, and a few that react in the winter. So after several years of treatment, if I see a distinct pattern of allergy symptoms, I will encourage pet owners to start treatment in advance of their pet's reactive allergy season.

For starters, I recommend:

-- Using drugs and therapies that have the fewest side effects. Antihistamines typically have very few side effects. But there are many types of antihistamines, so check with your veterinarian to see which one is best for your pet.
-- Increasing how often you bathe your pet. Sometimes just washing all the allergens off your pet can make a big difference for how they will react. However, there is a fine line for how much bathing is too much. Excessive bathing can wash away important oils which protect the skin and coat.
-- Choosing a shampoo specifically for your pet's needs. There are many kinds of shampoos for specific skin conditions, and your veterinarian can help you choose which will work best.
-- Getting your pet's hair cut shorter. I discovered this with my own dog, Ellie, who suffers from seasonal allergies. Once, in the midst of trying to get her allergies under control, I had her groomed with a shorter hair cut because her hair was getting tangled from all her scratching. Lo and behold, she was much better after the grooming. But as soon as her hair grew back, she was miserable again. I had her groomed short again, and sure enough, she once again was relieved. (Of course, I was happy that she was better. But my ego was a little bruised since the groomer did more for her allergies than I could!) I believe this works because shorter hair holds less pollen and allergens. I have suggested it to many of my clients who have also had success with shorter grooming.

Another important measure for seasonal allergy treatment is good flea and tick control for your pet. This may seem unrelated. But remember, once pets already have inflammation in the skin, they tend to be more reactive to other types of allergens and irritants. For example, since I already know that I'm going to be managing my dog's seasonal allergies in the spring, I keep good flea control on her all year around. If she gets a few fleas while her seasonal allergies are flaring up, then she will be so much itchier than she would if she got fleas another time of the year. Once pets have inflammation, their systems are primed to react, which makes it harder to get things under control.

Have your pets ever shown symptoms of seasonal allergies? What have you learned about treating or preventing these symptoms?
mywhitedog responded:
I agree with everything you have said.
I notice when my dogs hair is just a little longer, she is more prone to allergies from just walking around. But when she is cut short, she is easier to bath, more comfortable and cooler. An allergice dog many times is a hot dog: REALLY, just sleep next to them when they are flarred, you will be hot too!

I do notice the first few days after my dogs hair is cut very short, they have a little trouble adjusting to the new cut, they get like people possible razor burn. But it goes away and my dogs have never gotten infected from my groomer, they just act like they are cold and their skin is more sensitive. My one male dog, i will sometimes put a soft cotten shirt on him, because i am able to, he does not have any skin issues.
my dog with skin allergies, i put a blanket on my bed or where ever she sleeps, so if she gets cold she is able to cuddle up in the blanket.
I hope these suggestions help.


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

Helpful Tips

Excellent website for information on parasites in dogs and catsExpert
I just conducted a seminar and hands-on demonstration on diagnosis of fecal parasites to veterinarians and technicians. An excellent ... More
Was this Helpful?
33 of 48 found this helpful

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Learn more about the AVMA

WebMD Special Sections