How to spot and treat canine hay fever


After a wet start to the summer, temperatures are finally rising in the UK — but unfortunately, so is the pollen count. If you suffer from hay fever, you’ve probably already noticed that pollen levels are very high right now (The Mirror), as we hit the peak of the growing season. But did you know that your dog can also suffer from seasonal allergies?

In this article, the team at Webbox — a supplier of quality pet food, treats, and toys — explains how hay fever affects dogs and shares their advice for treating the symptoms, so you can both enjoy the summer.

Can dogs get hay fever? 

Hayfever is an allergy to weed, tree, or grass pollen. Just like humans, some dogs can suffer from this allergy during the spring and summer months. However, it’s less common in dogs than in people, with an estimated 10% of pooches suffering from seasonal allergies (Knutsford Vets), compared to one in four adults in the UK (Independent Pharmacy). 

Some breeds are thought to be more susceptible than others, including Dalmatians, Pit Bull Terriers, Bulldogs, Retrievers, Setters, Poodles, and Schnauzers. Seasonal allergies may affect dogs from an early age, or they may appear suddenly later in life.

What are the symptoms of hay fever in dogs? 

In humans, hay fever usually manifests as sneezing, a runny nose, and red, itchy eyes. But for dogs, the symptoms can be quite different.

Signs of hay fever in dogs may include:

Your dog might show all of these symptoms, or just one or two. Skin irritation is the most common symptom of hay fever in dogs, rather than sneezing or itchy eyes.

It’s important to remember that a skin rash can have many causes, and since dogs can’t tell us how they feel, diagnosing hay fever can be tricky. Hay fever symptoms can also be confused with other conditions, like dry eye, eczema or psoriasis, or a dust mite or flea allergy. The best way to diagnose canine hay fever is to visit your vet. 

You can help your vet diagnose seasonal allergies by keeping a record of your pet’s symptoms, including when and where they appear. For example, are your pup’s symptoms worse at a certain time of day or after walks? Do they only appear during the summer months? Your vet will use this information to determine if hay fever is causing your pet’s symptoms.

How to treat canine hay fever 

While there’s no definitive cure for hay fever, there are ways to minimise the symptoms. After your vet has diagnosed hay fever, try the following tips to help your dog feel better. 


Your vet can advise you on the best type of medication for your pet. Targetted, topical treatments tend to be most effective at treating canine hay fever, so your vet may prescribe medicine like eye drops, nasal sprays, or topical creams. If your dog’s allergies are severe, they may require injections to get symptoms under control. 

Whatever you do, don’t give your dog over-the-counter antihistamines or allergy relief medicines made for humans, unless your vet advises otherwise. While these drugs are safe for us, they may contain ingredients that are not suitable for dogs. If your vet thinks over-the-counter medication is the right solution, they will use the ‘cascade system’ to prescribe one for your pet and advise on the correct dosage. 


Feeding your pet a healthy, balanced diet consisting of high-quality pet food will help keep their immune system strong. You could also consider supplementing their diet with a high-quality Omega-3 fatty acid supplement to support the health of their skin and coat.

Changing your walking routes

While it can be hard to avoid pollen completely during the peak summer months, there are steps you can take to minimise your pet’s exposure. Pollen levels tend to be lower in the early morning and later in the evening, so try changing the timing of your daily strolls. You can also change your route: avoid long grasses and overgrown fields and stick to urban areas. Pollen counts tend to be lowest on the coast, so if you live near the seaside, you can always hit the beach! 

Grooming and keeping clean 

It’s tough to avoid pollen entirely in the summer, but you can reduce its impact by giving your dog a quick wipe-down after walks to remove traces of pollen from their skin and fur. Grab a damp cloth or towel and gently wipe their coat, paying close attention to areas that are prone to hay fever rash, like the face, paws, and armpits. This is also a good time to check your pet’s ears for grass seeds. 

The same goes for your pet’s accessories and bedding. Wash beds, pet towels and accessories like collars every couple of weeks, and avoid drying them outside to avoid pollen contamination. Keep your home clean and avoid leaving windows and doors open unless it’s absolutely necessary. You may also want to avoid keeping cut flowers in the house. 

By following these tips, you can help manage your dog’s hay fever and enjoy a fun, sneeze-free summer together.

City Dog Expert

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