Pet hay fever and how to help relieve it

Author picture Jessica

Can dogs and cats get hay fever?

Both dogs and cats can experience hay fever just like humans when the flowers start to blossom and grass needs mowing.

Some breeds are more susceptible to hay fever than others, so it’s important to observe your pet for symptoms at this time of year. Hay fever symptoms can be really uncomfortable for a pet and may require medical treatment.

Dog in long grass

What causes hay fever in pets?

Much like us humans, spring weather can trigger hay fever in dogs and cats. During the spring, growing plants release grasses, pollens and seed spores into the air. Wind can circulate these irritating particles, causing your pet’s skin to itch. Even worse, your pet might enjoy rolling in the grass, which can increase irritation. 

What are the symptoms of cat or dog hay fever?

Unlike humans, pet allergies tend to show up more on their skin than their eyes and sinuses. Consequently, you might see a rash, sores or flakey skin that your pet can’t stop scratching, rubbing or nibbling. This may be more noticeable around your pet’s face, arm pits, ears, belly, paws or at the base of their tail. 

Cat scratching an itch

Unfortunately for some pets, hay fever irritation can be so severe that they rub off their fur around the itchy spot. Other symptoms your pet may experience are weeping eyes, runny nose, sniffling, wheezing or even painful ear infections. Notably, some pets may not get any rash on their skin. As such, it’s important to look out for extreme scratching behaviours even if their skin seems fine. 

Some pets may be more sensitive to hay fever, with reports that some breeds are more sensitive than others. These include Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers.

How to relieve a pet with spring allergies?

If your pet has any hay fever symptoms, the vet should always be your first stop. They will check if hay fever is the definite cause and that there isn’t anything else going on, such as a yeast infection, virus or parasite. If the site of the itch is very bad, the vet may suggest your pet wear a cone to help their skin heal.

Dog in cone

From here, the vet may recommend some medications for your pet to get through the springtime. For example, your vet may suggest pet antihistamines daily or soothing creams to relieve the itch. Alternatively, they may suggest bathing, trimming or brushing your pet every day to remove allergens from their coat. Lastly, your vet may recommend avoiding walks through fresh-cut grass when there is a high pollen count in the air.

It's a good idea to tell your dog walker if your pet has hay fever, so they can choose a less-itchy path when they take your dog for a stroll. Click below if you need to find an experienced dog walker in your neighbourhood.