Sunday, April 14, 2013

Environmental (seasonal) Allergies

Fido is itching. You check him for fleas. You treat him for fleas. Fido is still itching. There are a host of reasons Fido can itch. The one we have chosen to cover at this time is environmental allergies because with all the beautiful blooming flowers and trees, we are knee deep into environmental allergy season and many predict 2013 will be the worst or one of the worst allergy years ever due to unseasonably warm temperatures and increased rain and/or humidity.

We have encountered so many people who have dealt with this over the years but none of our dogs ever had this problem until Babe and Ivy (2 of our goldens) came along. The information we are about to share with you covers research and information we have obtained from veterinarians, holistic practitioners and our own experience of trial and error (with many errors!)
This is a complex subject wiith no easy fix. BUT there are many things you can do on your own without a costly vet bill (which can be necessary) to help Fido.

Symptoms of a possible Environmental Allergy:
Red Rash
Small pimple like red bumps
Excessive lickiing

A quick overview: What causes environmental allergies? Pollen is what causes our eyes to itch and our noses to run and it's what causes itching in our dogs with environmental allergies. Pollen is superfine sticky powder and can travel through the air (via windpower) for miles and land on Fido. Every plant and flower contains a certain amount of pollen but that does not mean that any pollen landing on Fido will cause him to itch. One of the reasons it's so hard to figure out what he/she is allergic to is because it may or may not be something in your neighborhood. It could have travelled from miles away. There are allergy tests to help determine what exactly your dog is allergic to. Problem is, they are very hit or miss on accuracy. We have spoken to people who were helped immensely through testing, and those who came up with false positives and were right back to square one.

What we have found that can help:

1. Monitor pollen in your area through where you can type in your zip code. It will tell you what the pollen count is (from low to high) and what is blooming/budding that will cause increased allergic reactions. This is great for dogs and people.

2. Wipe down Fido at least twice a day to remove pollen from his coat and especially make sure to wipe his paws top and bottom betweeen the toes and pads. There are two products we like to help us with this (but you can use a washcloth or towel). First is a microfiber cloth which you can get online or even at costco and Walgreens/CVS etc. at times. Wet it with cool water and give Fide the once over with it. We have several of them and after one use we throw them in the laundry so we don't recontanimate our pups. We also like the Grooming Wipes from Earthbath especially for the paws. is an excellent line, and their wipes do not contain any fragrances or other ingredients that can irritate dogs.

3. The dreaded bath. Bathing dogs once a weeek with a gentle, fragrance free shampoo can really help reduce itching. We're hooked on Keys Metaclean Shampoo and have found it to give Babe and Ivy excellent temporary relief. To find their line check out

4. Treat red rashy, bumpy spots with a topical to relieve itching. We love Keys Metacare Healing Therapy Spray. It has a strong lemony smell that Fido may not like but also can keep him away from chewing those irritated spots, allowing them to heal.

5. Vacuuming helps remove pollen that we, and they, track in on the carpet.

6. An air purifier which will filter pollen and other allergens.

7. Wash their bedding weekly. Taking covers off dog beds can be a supreme pain but you can toss on a loose cover such as a blanket, towel,, sheet, etc that can be easily taken off and thrown in the washer and dryer.

7. DEEP BREATHING! This is for you (and us). Allergies can be very frustrating to deal with as we all are searching for the perfect cure. However, there is no cure for allergies, only treatment when they occur and preventing them from becoming worse.

We hope we helped give you an in a nutshell look at Environmental Allergies. We of course would love to hear your comments and/or stories related to this subject. Thank you for taking the time out to have a look!


  1. Great info! I do most of this with my Lucy. I can recommend Etiderm for the weekly baths. One of the best things I did was taking her to a dermatologist. She's now on a weekly shot (much easier than you think) and takes Benadryl. We also have a few topical ointments to use when she has as outbreak. I also think that trimming the excess fur around her paws -- where dirt and allergens can hang out and then jump to other areas of her body -- is also a way to minimize it. Oy, it's been a journey! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks! Bella has already started chewing on her paws, so we'll need to get some wipes to clean them each day.