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The spring season is the harbinger of allergens that affect both our pets and us. This is because most of the plants tend to thrive during the spring. Here are a few tips to treat your dog's allergies in the spring:
- Go to the vet – Since allergies bear a clinical resemblance to a lot of other medical conditions, it is critical to have the vet examine your pet. Diagnostics, including scraping and skin impression smear, as well as blood testing will be needed to pin down the nature of the condition and its most appropriate course of treatment.
- Topical treatments and bathing – Cleaning the surface of your dog's skin and hair coat with the aid of an appropriate shampoo helps in removing the bacteria, environmental allergens, oil and other irritating substances. A localized cleanse or full-body bath can be performed twice a day depending on the need of your pet. Besides shampoo, a vet-prescribed topical treatment or a leave-on conditioner can help in managing your dog's localized or general infection or skin irritation.
- Eye rinses – Applying an eye irrigation solution, similar to the one you would use on your own eyes and which can be purchased easily from a local pharmacy, is one of the easiest ways of removing the allergens from the eyes of your dog. If you do it thrice a day for two days, it will give you some much needed perspective as to whether your dog's problem is a garden-variety environmental inflammation or merits further evaluation by the vet. Make sure you use cleansing drops only. If your eye drops have vasoconstrictors, do not use them. Eye ointment or eye drops that contain a steroid, antibiotic, or other drugs might be required under certain conditions, but only under the supervision of the vet.
- Ear cleaning – Microorganisms (mites, yeast, bacteria), broken hair, allergens and other such substances can get stuck in the ear canals of your dog. Gently flushing the ear canals with a cleaning solution that is appropriate for dogs can remove the offensive material, and modify the microenvironment and pH of the ear canal to deter further growth of microorganisms. Plucking the hair from the inner flap and ear canal prevents the accumulation of allergens that irritate the canal and promote microorganism growth. If your dog is a sprinkler-diver or a swimmer, make sure you irrigate his ears after his time in the water to make sure that the moisture does not linger. Use cotton balls when drying his ears as q-tips can cause damage to the ear drums.
- Diet change – Food allergies are rare in dogs, but it is still advisable to consult with the vet before ruling it out. The best way to identify an allergy is to start your dog on an elimination diet. Novel carbohydrates and proteins (which your dog has not consumed previously) must be chosen and care should be exercised that your dog does not accidentally consume other food sources (non-approved treats and human foods) that can impact the trial negatively by causing an allergy flare. Your vet might recommend therapeutic food to identify the allergy accurately and relieve your pet of the symptoms.