Seasonal Allergies & Your Dog's Ears: What You Need to Know
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Spring is here, and summer is approaching––but that doesn’t mean the spring allergy season is ending! Peak allergy seasons are becoming longer and dogs, like humans, can experience seasonal allergies. These symptoms can be particularly troublesome for a dog’s delicate ears (and other parts of the body like the eyes, nose, skin, etc.).
Let's take a closer look at how seasonal allergies can affect dogs' ears, and what you can do to help ease their discomfort!
Seasonal allergy symptoms in dogs
- Skin irritation and itching (licking, chewing, scratching, and/or rubbing)
- Sneezing and coughing
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes (e.g., in whites of the eyes, third eyelid, or tissue lining the eyelids)
- Ear infections
- Red, inflamed skin or hot spots
- Digestive issues (vomiting, abnormal bowel movements, or reduced appetite)
How do seasonal allergies affect dogs' ears?
One of the most common ways that seasonal allergies can affect dogs is by causing irritation and inflammation in their ears. This can happen for a number of reasons, including exposure to allergens like pollen, dust mites, or grass––and can happen anytime, whether your dog is playing inside or outside!
When a dog is exposed to an allergen, their immune system reacts by releasing histamines and other chemicals, which can cause inflammation and itching in the ears. This can lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Scratching or pawing at the ears
- Shaking the head or tilting it to one side
- Redness or swelling inside the ear canal
- Excessive wax buildup or discharge
- Foul odor or discharge from the ears
- Tenderness around the affected ear
- Lethargy or other behavior changes (seeking isolation, etc.)
- Reduced appetite or difficulty chewing (generally on the side of the affected ear)
If left untreated, these symptoms can become more severe, potentially leading to ear infections or other health issues. In order to help them deal with symptoms, you’ll want to identify what kind of seasonal allergies affect your dog most. A grass allergy in dogs, dog dust mite allergy, or even a pollen allergy can all affect how you tackle dog ear allergies.
How to treat dog itchy ears at home
Nobody wants to see dog ear allergies affecting their poor pup! If your dog is showing signs of seasonal allergies, there are a number of steps you can take to help relieve their discomfort. Here are some helpful tips for treating itchy ears at home:
Clean the ears
You can use a gentle, pet-safe ear cleaner to remove any excess wax or debris caused by dog ear allergy triggers. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and avoid sticking cotton swabs or other objects inside the ear canal––save that job for your veterinarian!
Ear cleaning should be done as frequently as needed to help remove allergens and environmental debris. If you’re not sure about how often to clean your dog’s ears, get your veterinarian's recommendation on the best frequency.
Keep the outer ear clean
Apply a soothing ointment
Address itchy areas
Use an ice pack
Limit exposure to allergens
Consult with a veterinarian
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