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Dogs in the City get Hay fever too – Learn to Recognize the Symptoms of Dogs Hay fever and get your Pooch Treatment

Updated on July 31, 2016

Hay fever in the city

If you have a dog with red sore eyes in the city – the last thing you’d expect him to suffer from is hay fever. At least that’s what I was thinking when I took my dog to the vets to have his itchy eyes checked out. Half an hour later I left the vet’s with Maxitrol eye drops and antihistamines – and my dog’s eyes have now magically cleared up.

Not a good place to be for a dog with hay fever
Not a good place to be for a dog with hay fever | Source

Dogs get hay fever too!

Our vet explained it is really common that dogs get hay fever and other allergies in big cities like London because the pollution actually make allergies worse. She firstly checked my dog’s eyes to see if they were dry, which luckily they weren’t and told us that his lower and inner eyelids were swollen and red and that two weeks of Maxitrol eye drops and antihistamines would probably soothe his symptoms.

Apparently a lot of Labradors in our area have similar problems with their eyes in springtime, especially when the weather is dry and the pollen flies around freely. Sometimes the labradors’ eyes get so bad the vet has to scrape the inside of their eyelids, and send them home with the dreaded cone around their head. It’s a drastic treatment, but apparently makes them feel better long term.

A dog with hay fever is likely to scratch his face
A dog with hay fever is likely to scratch his face | Source

What are the Symptoms of dogs Hay fever?

Most of the time, dogs develop slightly different symptoms to humans when they get hayfever. They inhale pollen just like we do, but rather than getting itchy red eyes and sneezing like humans do, they instead tend to develop a reaction in their skin. This is because the histamines released by the body in response to pollen in animals are mostly released in the skin of a dog, rather than in his nose and eyes.

If your dog is suffering from hay fever, he is likely to scratch, bite and lick his body all over. Some dogs scratch so hard to find relief, that they pull some of their coat out or create sores that could become infected and require antibiotics treatment.

Dogs get different symptoms of hay fever than humans do.
Dogs get different symptoms of hay fever than humans do. | Source

When does Hay fever appear?

If your dog has hay fever which is a seasonal allergy, it is likely that he will start showing symptoms around March-April (although this of course depends on where you live). Dogs are particularly sensitive to tree pollen which is around much earlier than grass and flower pollens. Obviously the trees and grasses in the city produce pollen just like any other plants and combine with the pollution to cause allergic reactions in your dog.

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Treatments for dog hay fever

If your dog’s symptoms are seasonal and seem to last fewer than three months, he can get medications like cortisone to help getting rid of the itching. Sometimes vets recommend skin allergy test to find out exactly what allergens your dog is sensitive to.

If their allergy is really bad, sometimes the dog can receive injections of small doses of what they are allergic to, slowly building up their immunity. The vets also sometime recommend treatments like immunotherapy, antihistamies like my dog received, steroids and special medicated shampoos.

Tips for relieving your dog’s hay fever symptoms

  1. Brush your dog’s coat daily during pollen season and wipe him down with a damp towel after your walks. This will help remove pollen and seeds that might be trapped in his coat and might relieve his symptoms.
  2. Clean his beddings regularly during pollen season
  3. Bathe your dog regularly with shampoo designed for sensitive or irritated skin – but not too often as that might dry his skin out instead of soothing his symptoms.
  4. Give him oily fish as part of his diet or buy some Omega 3 capsules - this will help keeping his skin and coat moisturized which may help reduce the itching.


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    • Linda Bliss profile image

      Linda Liebrand 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you Memories 1932 - I've actually heard the same might be true for humans suffering from pollen allergies so it might be worth trying! :-)

    • profile image

      Memories1932 6 years ago


      I don't know if this works or not but it would be worth it to try. I read that if you give your dog raw honey that is local to your area, it will help with hay fever. Apparently raw honey contains trace amounts of pollen and if your dog has allergies the pollen in the local raw honey will acclimatize your dog to the pollen but it will not trigger your dog's allergies. I read that a large dog would get a teaspoon of raw honey a day. I hope this helps.

    • apStumbo profile image

      apStumbo 6 years ago

      This is great! Voted up for sure!

    • Linda Bliss profile image

      Linda Liebrand 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for your comment! Hope your dog feels better soon! My dogs eyes have really improved with the meds :-)

    • T.Campos profile image

      T.Campos 6 years ago

      GREAT hub! My dog is a black lab mix and she's been sneezing a lot right now. I was afraid she had pink eye earlier at the beginning of the season because her eyes were all goopy. Thanks for the tips on relieving symptoms! Voted up!