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Does your dog have hay fever? Veterinarian warns pet owners about pollen counts and reveals how to protect them this summer

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Veterinarians have issued a warning to pet owners over high pollen count (file photo)

Veterinarians have issued a warning to pet owners about high pollen content and reveal how they can protect their cat or dog this summer.

Experts have warned owners to try to keep their pets indoors “as much as possible” until September and take them out for walks in the evenings.

Like humans, pets can also experience symptoms of hay fever, such as sneezing, itchy eyes, pink discharge, and skin rashes. They may also scratch more than usual.

If your pet begins to show any of these signs, it is good to take him to the vet as soon as possible to rule out any other health problems.

Gemma Renwick, veterinary nurse at PDSA, said: “Like humans, pets can also suffer from pollen allergies such as hay fever.

Veterinarians have issued a warning to pet owners over high pollen count (file photo)

‘Since the summer months tend to bring with them an increase in pollen counts, it is important to recognize common symptoms of hay fever or allergies in your pets.

‘As we move from spring to summer, we see an increase in grass and tree pollen, so your pet may be affected differently as the seasons go by.

‘While hay fever in humans often manifests as a runny nose, watery eyes or difficulty breathing, these symptoms are much less common in pets.

‘Signs that your pet has hay fever or allergies to things like pollen are more likely to include; licking or biting their paws, scratching a lot, and having red or sore skin, especially around the ears, eyes, between the pads of the feet, or on the tummy.

‘Your pet may also seem tired or lethargic, or constantly shake his head and rub his ears or muzzle. If you notice any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out other health problems and get advice on treating allergies.

‘It can be difficult to find out exactly what is causing your pet’s allergy. However, if it gets worse in summer and improves in winter, pollen may be part of the problem.’

The type of pollen your pet is sensitive to will determine what type of year their allergies are worst. For example, tree pollen is most potent in March and April; grass pollen is prominent from May to July; and flowering weeds from June to August.


Here are five ways you can help your pet if they have hay fever, according to PDSA vets.

1. Clean bedding

“Make sure your pet’s bedding is washed and vacuumed weekly, as this will help remove any pollen that may have accumulated during their trips outside during the week.”

2. Flea control

‘Be sure to keep your pet’s flea control up to date, as regardless of the cause of their allergies, irritating fleas will only make it more itchy.

“Although it may be tempting to create a home remedy when your pet is in pain, never give over-the-counter medications.” This can be dangerous in the wrong doses or for certain species.’

3. Check the weather

‘When it comes to hay fever, prevention is often better than cure, so limit your dog’s exposure to pollen in the first place.

“If you plan to venture outside, check the pollen forecast for the day first and plan your walks before sunrise or early afternoon, as pollen counts may be lower at these times.”

4. Keep them on a leash

“While we know that dogs love to play in the grass, this can cause their fur to become covered in pollen, causing hours of misery later in the day.

“Keeping your pup on a leash near the grass and wiping his fur, especially his paws and snout, with a damp cloth after each walk will help remove any small traces of pollen.”

“Also consider an alternative location for your daily walks, such as a beach if you’re nearby, or a less rural setting, as these locations are more likely to have lower pollen counts.”

5. Medication

‘Your vet may recommend medications to help your pet feel more comfortable during the summer months.

‘There are many different treatment options available, including medicated tablets and shampoos. Also consider adding an animal skin supplement or oil to your pet’s food, not just during the summer months.

“These supplements can help strengthen the skin barrier, relieve itching, and soothe sensitive skin.”

Gemma revealed five ways you can prevent your pet from suffering from pollen.

First, by washing your pet’s bedding each week, you can remove any pollen that may have accumulated during their time outdoors.

You should also make sure your pet’s flea control is up to date to prevent additional itching.

If your pet needs to go out during the day, you can check the pollen count first and choose to take him out for a walk when it is low.

Although it’s tempting to let your dog run wild across the grass and have fun, keeping him on a leash will prevent him from suffering later in the day.

You can also wash his fur, especially his paws and snout, after each walk to remove any remaining pollen.

And if your dog is really suffering, you can ask the vet about various medications.

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