Dog Ownership

Dog Allergies in Winter

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If your dog seems to be suffering from allergies in the winter, you’re not alone. Many dogs experience allergy symptoms during the colder months, and it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of their discomfort. However, by understanding the common causes of winter allergies in dogs and the symptoms to look out for, you can help your furry friend feel more comfortable and avoid potential health complications.

One of the most common causes of winter allergies in dogs is dry air. When the air is cold and dry, it can cause your dog’s skin to become dry and itchy, leading to excessive scratching and discomfort. Additionally, dogs may be exposed to allergens like mold, dust, and pollen while spending more time indoors, which can exacerbate allergy symptoms. By recognizing the signs of winter allergies in dogs and taking steps to address them, you can help your dog feel better and enjoy the winter season to the fullest.

Key Takeaways

  • Winter allergies in dogs are common and can be caused by dry air and exposure to indoor allergens.
  • Symptoms of winter allergies in dogs include excessive scratching, itchy skin, and respiratory issues.
  • Treatment options for dog allergies in winter include medications, changes to your dog’s diet, and environmental modifications to reduce allergen exposure.

How Common Are Dog Allergies in Winter?

While most people believe that seasonal allergies are for the spring and summer, dog allergies in winter are just as common.

Knowing the unique allergy symptoms for the winter months can help you identify what is causing them so you can provide some relief to your dog.

dog allergies in winter season

Symptoms of Dog Allergies in Winter

The symptoms of dog allergies in winter are similar to those in the spring and summer. The symptoms are caused by many different types of allergens and what your dog is allergic to. The most common dog allergies symptoms are:

  • Excessive licking, usually of the paws, but the licking can be anywhere on the body.
  • Saliva staining of the fur where the dog is licking the skin excessively.
  • Chewing/gnawing.
  • Scratching.
  • Hair loss.
  • Redness of the skin.
  • Crusts.
  • Moist skin.

Due to the dry, cold weather, many of the symptoms have to do with a dog’s skin. With dry air and much less circulation indoors, allergies are much more common for some dogs.

Specific Symptoms

The specific symptoms of dog allergies can vary depending on the type of allergen that is causing the reaction. For example:

  • Pollen allergies can cause itchy, watery eyes, redness of the skin, licking paws, generalized itching, scratching, chewing skin, sneezing or reverse sneezing, loose stools, clear nasal drainage, head shaking, hair loss, and hives.
  • Winter season allergies can be caused by dust mites, dry air with low humidity, mold, and contact allergies, such as with carpeting. Symptoms can include itching, redness, inflammation, and breathing difficulties.
  • Food allergies can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, itching, hives, and inflammation.

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from allergies, it is important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Your vet may recommend allergy testing or prescribe medications to help

What Causes Winter Dog Allergies

Winter allergies can be caused by allergens inside and outside of the home. Below you will learn about allergy triggers in both environments.

Outdoor Allergies

The cold air outside is enough to make most people and animals suffer from dry skin. For dogs with sensitive skin, it can be quite painful. The winter air can cause a dog’s skin to itch, which then leads to scratching, which then leads to wounds on the skin.

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Indoor Allergies

Since dogs spend more time indoors during the winter season, it makes sense that a lot of the allergies they suffer from have to do with allergens inside the house.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in dust inside the home. People and animals who are not allergic to dust mites don’t even know they exist. Those allergic to dust mites will definitely know because it can cause sneezing and a runny nose.

Pet Dander

While many people are allergic to pet dander, many dogs are too. Unfortunately, since it’s on their own body, it can be difficult to get away from it.

Pet dander can increase in the winter because of the dry air leading to dry skin. The dry skin leads to itchy skin that becomes irritated to the point of wounds for some dogs. It’s especially severe when a dog suffers from dry skin during the spring and summer months.

Mold Spores

Another common indoor allergy is mold spores. These spores are invisible and float through the air. They come from mold, which occurs when surfaces are wet or damp.

Mold spores are common in homes that have suffered a water leak or flood.

Food Allergies

If you’re feeding a fresh raw dog food diet and make changes to it during the winter, your dog may suffer from an allergic reaction to it. So, while food allergies can happen at any time, the winter may spark some dog owners to offer more comfort food that may not be an allergy trigger for their pup.

Learn More: BEST Food for Pitbulls with Skin Allergies

Diagnosis of Dog Allergies

Diagnosing dog allergies can be tricky, as the symptoms can be similar to other health conditions. However, with the help of a veterinarian, you can determine whether your dog is suffering from allergies and what type of allergies they have. There are two main methods of diagnosing dog allergies: allergy testing and medical history.

Allergy Testing

Allergy testing can help identify what your dog is allergic to. There are two types of allergy testing: blood testing and skin testing. Blood testing involves taking a blood sample from your dog and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. The laboratory will test the blood for specific antibodies that are associated with allergies. Skin testing involves injecting small amounts of allergens into your dog’s skin and observing the reaction. Skin testing is more accurate than blood testing, but it can be more expensive and time-consuming.

Medical History

Your dog’s medical history can also provide valuable information in diagnosing allergies. Your veterinarian will ask you questions about your dog’s symptoms, when they occur, and whether they coincide with certain activities or seasons. Your veterinarian may also ask about your dog’s diet, lifestyle, and environment. Keeping a diary of your dog’s symptoms can also be helpful in identifying patterns and triggers.

In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend a food elimination diet to rule out food allergies. This involves feeding your dog a special diet for a few weeks to see if their symptoms improve. If their symptoms do improve, your veterinarian may recommend gradually reintroducing certain foods to determine which ones are causing the allergy.

Overall, diagnosing dog allergies requires a thorough examination by a veterinarian. With the right diagnosis, you can help manage your dog’s allergies and improve their quality of life.

dog and vet

How to Treat Winter Dog Allergies

Winter allergies aren’t fun. Indoor allergies aren’t fun either. Cold weather can’t be stopped, so all we can do is prevent allergic reactions to it. The following tips can help you treat and avoid winter dog allergies.

Moisturizing Shampoo

Shampoo with extra moisturizer can greatly help with dry skin. It can also help with animal dander since it increases skin dryness in the winter season.

conditioning shampoo

The above shampoo is great for conditioning a dog’s coat. It contains both shampoo and conditioner to moisturize a dog’s dry skin.

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Learn more about it on Dog.com.

Itchy Skin Shampoo

While moisturizing shampoo can relieve itchy skin, there are shampoos that specifically relieve itching.

itch shampoo

The itch relief shampoo by Fresh n’ Clean can greatly help your dog’s itchy skin. Along with the conditioning shampoo, you could see a marked improvement in your dog’s allergy symptoms. See it on Dog.com.

CBD Shampoo

Shampoo with CBD for dogs in it can help relieve irritation on a dog’s skin. It also decreases redness and reduces inflammation.

cbd dog shampoo

HolistaPet is a leading brand in dog CBD and they have created a shampoo with CBD in it. Click here to check it out.

Air Purifier and/or Humidifiar

Use an air purifier for indoor air to help with dry skin and dander. This can greatly help any dog with a skin allergy.

air purifier

The above air purifier is specially designed for pet allergies in the home by reducing dust and dander. You can learn more about it on Amazon.

Allergy Testing

If you’re not sure what it is that is causing your dog’s allergies in the winter season, consider speaking to your veterinarian about allergy testing. You can also purchase an allergy testing kit on Amazon. Identifying what is causing the winter allergy symptoms can help you figure out what it is that will prevent them.

allergy test for dogs

Aquaphor on Dogs

Aquaphor is a safe and effective topical ointment that can be used on dogs. You can read more about using Aquaphor on dogs here: Can You Use Aquaphor on Dogs?

Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is great for dogs with itchy dry skin and those with irritated skin due to allergies. Learn more about grapeseed oil benefits for dogs.

Regular Grooming

Regularly grooming your pup will help your dog’s dry skin. Just be sure to use warm or cool water vs. hot water, as that can dry out the skin even more.

Medication

If your pup is suffering and you’re not able to treat the winter allergy symptoms easily, it may be time for medications. If you don’t want to take your pup to the veterinarian’s office, you can always use an online vet for prescription medication.

vetster online prescription
Click on the image to learn more.
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Switch to a Fresh Raw Food Diet

Dogs with food allergies may do better on a healthier diet – fresh raw dog food. Providing this type of diet to your dog can also boost the immune system, which can then help prevent many types of allergies, such as skin allergies, throughout the year.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots or drops, can be an effective long-term treatment for dog allergies. This treatment involves exposing your dog to small amounts of the allergen over time, which can help desensitize their immune system to the allergen. However, this treatment can take several months or even years to be effective.

In some cases, your veterinarian may also prescribe antibiotics to treat any secondary infections caused by your dog’s allergies.

Overall, the best treatment for your dog’s allergies will depend on the specific allergens they are reacting to and the severity of their symptoms. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment for your furry friend.

Prevention of Dog Allergies

If your dog is prone to allergies during the winter months, there are several steps you can take to help prevent them. In this section, we’ll cover two main categories: environmental changes and supplements/diet.

Environmental Changes

Making changes to your dog’s environment can help reduce the likelihood of allergies. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Keep your home clean: Regular house cleaning is essential to minimize allergens in your home. Vacuuming carpets, washing bedding, and dusting surfaces can all help.
  • Use air filters: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters can capture allergens in the air, such as dust and pollen. Consider using an air purifier with a HEPA filter in your home.
  • Bathe your dog regularly: Giving your dog a warm bath can help remove allergens from their skin and coat. Be sure to use a gentle shampoo that won’t dry out their skin.
  • Use a humidifier: Dry air can exacerbate allergies, so using a humidifier in your home can help keep the air moist. Make sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent mold growth.
  • Change your heating system filters: If you have a forced-air heating system, make sure to change the filters regularly to prevent allergens from circulating in your home.
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Supplements and Diet

In addition to environmental changes, certain supplements and dietary changes can also help prevent allergies in dogs. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Adding fish oil or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids to your dog’s diet can help reduce inflammation and boost their immune system.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics can help promote a healthy gut microbiome, which can in turn boost your dog’s immune system and reduce the likelihood of allergies.
  • Home remedies: Some natural remedies, such as coconut oil or apple cider vinegar, may also help alleviate allergy symptoms in dogs. However, it’s important to talk to your vet before trying any new remedies to make sure they’re safe for your dog.

By making these changes to your dog’s environment and diet, you can help reduce the likelihood of allergies during the winter months. Remember to always talk to your vet before making any significant changes to your dog’s routine.

Cost of Treating Dog Allergies

Treating dog allergies can be a costly affair, depending on the severity of the allergy and the chosen treatment method. Here are some of the costs associated with treating dog allergies in winter:

Veterinary Visits

The cost of a veterinary visit can vary depending on your location and the severity of your dog’s allergies. The average cost of a vet visit for allergies can range from $50 to $300 per visit. If your dog requires multiple visits, the cost can add up quickly.

Medications

Medications are a common treatment for dog allergies. Antihistamines, steroids, and allergy shots are some of the most commonly prescribed medications. The cost of medications can vary depending on the type of medication and the dosage required. On average, allergy medications can cost between $20 to $100 per month.

Allergy Testing

Allergy testing can help determine the cause of your dog’s allergies, but it can also be an expensive process. The cost of allergy testing can range from $200 to $1000, depending on the type of testing required.

Special Diets

If your dog has a food allergy, a special diet may be required. Special diets can be expensive, with some costing up to $100 per bag. However, switching to a special diet can often be a more cost-effective long-term solution than repeatedly treating symptoms with medication.

Grooming

Regular grooming can help reduce allergens in your home. Grooming can include bathing, brushing, and trimming your dog’s fur. The cost of grooming can vary depending on the size of your dog and the type of grooming required. On average, grooming can cost between $30 to $100 per visit.

What to Do About Dog Allergies in Winter

Now that you know more about dog allergies in winter, you can take steps to help your furry friend feel better. Remember, allergies can be caused by a variety of factors, including environmental triggers, food, and autoimmune diseases. If you suspect your dog has allergies, it is important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.

During the winter months, it is common for dogs to experience allergies due to airborne allergens such as mold, dust mites, and pollen. Symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, itchy skin, and watery eyes. Keeping your home clean and free of allergens can help reduce your dog’s exposure to these triggers.

In addition to environmental triggers, some dogs may also experience allergies due to food. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, it is important to work with your veterinarian to identify the specific ingredient causing the reaction and eliminate it from your dog’s diet.

Finally, autoimmune diseases can also cause allergies in dogs. These diseases occur when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, leading to inflammation and other symptoms. If your dog has an autoimmune disease, your veterinarian can work with you to develop a treatment plan to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Overall, by understanding the causes and symptoms of dog allergies in winter, you can take steps to help your furry friend stay healthy and comfortable all year long.

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