What are Grass Allergies in Dogs?

What Are Grass Allergies in Dogs?

Grass allergies in dogs are very common are inhalant or contact allergies that can be triggered by grass pollen. Grass pollens are airborne, so your dog must not be on the grass to experience symptoms. Grass allergies may cause cutaneous or respiratory allergies.

Grass allergies are typically more severe in the spring and autumn when grass pollen is more prevalent due to seasonal species variation. However, they may be a year-round problem for your companion. The skin and mucus membranes of canines absorb grass pollen allergens. Numerous dogs with grass sensitivities may also suffer from flea and food allergies.

Grass allergies can occur at any age, but prior exposure to allergens causes most canines to develop allergies after age one. While the symptoms may aggravate your dog, most are not life-threatening.

Extreme allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis, are uncommon. Anaphylaxis in canines can occur between 5 and 30 minutes after exposure to an allergen. Possible symptoms in dogs include:

  • Severe wounds
  • Facial enlargement
  • Experiencing wheezing
  • Difficulty in respiration
  • An increased rate of respiration
  • diarrhea and vomiting, with or without blood

Symptoms of Grass Allergies in Dogs

Symptoms of grass allergies include:

  • Erythema is the medical term for a reddened complexion.
  • Itching (pruritis) that is persistent
  • Mainly scratching the face, armpits, and sides of the body
  • Licking or chewing the soles, in particular
  • Redness and visible dermatitis may be difficult to spot due to the dog’s hair coat.

Causes of Grass Allergies in Dogs

Common grass pollens from grasses such as Bermuda, fescue, alfalfa, and rye cause grass allergies. They share symptoms with allergies to tree pollen (cedar, pine, oak) and plant pollen (ragweed, pigweed).

Direct contact with vegetation can cause symptoms in frolicking canines. Others may get symptoms from imbibing the pollen during a walk or simply being in an area where grass pollen is present—even indoors.

Grass allergies are common in the spring and autumn, when the grass grows, and pollen leaves behind a yellow cloud of dust. The dog may develop symptoms if a dog walks through an area containing pollen and the pollen contacts the dog’s mucous membranes (nose, eyes, mouth), epidermis, or feet.

How Vets Detect  Grass Allergies in Dogs

The vet will obtain a thorough medical history of your dog’s symptoms, including duration, severity, periodicity, and treatment.
The next stage would be a comprehensive examination of the fur and skin. The distribution of hair loss, skin lesions such as acne, rashes, dry or oily skin, and scratches (excoriations) caused by itching, redness, or skin irritation (to indicate inflammation) will help determine the diagnosis.

Sometimes, symptomatic treatment can be initiated based solely on clinical symptoms without testing. If topical or conservative treatments are ineffective, it may be necessary to conduct additional tests to rule out other causes.

Read: Food Allergies in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Management

Allergy Testing Your Dog

Your primary vet may be able to perform allergy testing on serum blood samples. However, the gold standard for allergy testing and the test that yields the most accurate results is the Intradermal Skin Test, administered by a veterinary dermatologist. Typically, the intradermal test is administered under moderate sedation. Allergens are shaven and injected on one side of the dog’s abdomen.

The area is observed for hives, which indicate an allergic reaction to the allergen injected there. An individualized treatment plan is developed for each companion if the allergens are identified.

Hyposensitization therapy, which involves “micro-dosing” the companion with the allergen to build up resistance over time, is another option.

Treatment of Grass Allergies in Dogs

As most grass allergies in dogs cannot be cured, treatment will aim to manage symptoms. Treatment is based on symptom severity. Always consult your veterinarian for the best treatment options for your companion. If symptoms are moderate, these topical treatments may be suggested:

  • Bathing your pet in a hypoallergenic or oatmeal-derived shampoo: Consistent bathing will help remove allergens from the epidermis before they can be absorbed. This may prevent or reduce the itchiness. Several brands of conditioners containing oatmeal are available without a prescription.
  • Attempting a medicated shampoo: Typically, medicated shampoos are insufficient for treating an active infection. However, they can help prevent infections by removing irritants and reducing the amount of bacteria and yeast on the skin. Always consult your veterinarian regarding the finest medicated shampoo for your dog.
  • Cleanliness after spending time outdoors: Ensuring that your dog’s feet and body are washed after returning indoors helps prevent licking and gnawing of feet, which are symptoms of itching. Use mild soap and water, aloe pet wipes, or medicated wipes with antimicrobial and antifungal ingredients.
  • Benadryl® may be effective for itchy, watery eyes, a congested nose, and sneezing, but it is typically ineffective for allergic skin conditions (allergic dermatitis). Before administering your dog any medication, even over-the-counter medications, be sure to consult your veterinarian about the proper dosage.
  • Fatty acids: Omega supplements and fatty acids can aid in reducing skin inflammation and itching in pets.

Recovery and Management of Grass Allergies in Dogs

It is essential to ascertain or at least narrow down which grasses your dog is allergic to to prevent the symptoms. All varieties of grasses are encountered by dogs, including those in yards, dog parks, and fields. It is beneficial to be aware of your area’s grasses, monitor symptoms, and avoid these areas whenever possible.

You can manage allergies and control their symptoms, but you should not expect a complete cure. The treatment is deemed effective when symptoms are reduced by 80 percent (less irritation).

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