Is your dog's constant scratching, itching, and sneezing making you both feel stressed? Just like humans, our canine companions can suffer from bothersome seasonal allergies, too.

For pet parents, it can be tough to see your furry friend in such obvious discomfort without knowing how to help. As a veterinarian with BetterVet, I examine many dogs with seasonal allergies.

Key Takeaways

  • Seasonal allergies are quite common in dogs, especially in the spring.
  • The most common symptoms of seasonal dog allergies involve the skin.
  • There are a variety of medical and at-home treatments for dog seasonal allergies, and your veterinarian can recommend the best option(s) for your pet.

In this blog post, I’ll explore dog seasonal allergy symptoms and go over some effective treatments to ensure your pup isn't just surviving, but thriving, all year round.

What are Seasonal Dog Allergies?

Seasonal allergies in dogs, also known as atopy or canine allergic dermatitis, is a common health issue for many of our furry friends. Allergies develop when a dog's immune system overreacts to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust mites, and even certain insects.

To determine if your dog has seasonal allergies, a veterinarian will typically perform an allergy and dermatologic examination.

Does Your Pet Have Skin Allergies?

Does Your Pet Have Skin Allergies?
1. How frequently does your pet seem itchy?
2. Where does your pet scratch the most?
3. Which season is your pet’s symptoms the most noticeable?
4. How often does your pet seem uncomfortable?
5. Can you see any of the following symptoms on your pet’s skin?
6. Is your pet experiencing any of the following symptoms?

Does Your Pet Have Skin Allergies?

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Signs Your Dog Has Seasonal Allergies

Dogs with seasonal allergies can exhibit a range of symptoms, primarily manifesting on the skin, but other areas can also be affected.

Here are the most common signs of seasonal allergies in dogs:

  • Sneezing: Caused by their immune system reacting to airborne allergens like pollen, leading to inflammation in the nasal passages and attempts to expel these irritants.

  • Excessive Scratching, Chewing, and Licking: One of the most noticeable symptoms is persistent scratching or licking. Dogs might chew or lick their paws, flanks, groin, or other areas of the body excessively.

  • Skin Irritation: Affected dogs may develop redness, bumps, and inflammation on the skin. Areas that see a lot of friction, like the armpits, belly, and between the toes, are often the most affected.

  • Ear Infections: Dogs with allergies may be prone to recurring ear infections which cause head- shaking, scratching at the ears, or even an unpleasant odor.

  • Hot Spots: Allergies can lead to the development of hot spots, which are red, swollen, and painful areas of skin that can develop rapidly and can lead to hair loss.

  • Changes in the Skin and Coat: Chronic itching and scratching can lead to changes in the skin's color and texture. The skin may become thickened, darker, or take on a leathery texture. Hair loss or changes in coat quality may also be seen.

  • Watery Eyes or Runny Nose: While less common, some dogs may also display symptoms similar to human symptoms of hay fever, such as watery eyes, runny nose, and even sneezing.

Keep reading: Why are my dog's eyes red? 9 possible causes

How to Treat Dog Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies in dogs are typically managed rather than completely cured. Each dog will respond differently to treatments, so a multi-pronged approach is often the best course of action.

It's always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian before starting any treatment regimen. They can help you come up with a personalized plan that best fits your dog's needs.

Here are some vet-recommended steps to treat your dogs' seasonal allergies:

Allergy and Dermatology Exam

The first step is always to consult with a vet. A comprehensive allergy and dermatology exam can help identify the allergens causing your dog's symptoms and recommend specific treatments.


Over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl or Zyrtec might help alleviate some allergy symptoms. In more severe cases, your vet may prescribe prescription allergy medication like Apoquel, or steroids to reduce inflammation and itching. Always consult with your vet before giving your pet any medication.

Benadryl Dosage Calculator for Pets

Benadryl Dosage Calculator for Pets

Benadryl Dosage Calculator for Pets

Below, enter your pet’s weight to find out the recommended dosage for Benadryl in both milligrams (for capsules) and milliliters (for liquid).

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Your Pet's Benadryl Dosage

In mg (tablets):
In ml (liquid - 12.4 mg/5ml concentration):
Number of 25 mg tablets:

Tablets or Liquid?
Liquid is ideal for cats and dogs weighing less than 10 lbs, and tablets are preferred for pets weighing more than 10 lbs. Make sure to check the ingredients of liquid Benadryl for the artificial sweetener xylitol, as it is toxic for dogs. For those pets who do not like the liquid flavors, the tablets can be more easily hidden in tasty treats.

The typical recommended frequency of Benadryl for pets is up to 3 times per day (every 8 hours in a 24-hour period). Always consult with your veterinarian to find out how often your pet can safely take Benadryl and never give more than the recommended dosage of Benadryl or more often than every eight hours in a 24-hour period. Giving more than the recommended dose of Benadryl or giving too many doses in a 24-hour period increases the risk of Benadryl overdose in your dog or cat.

If you’d like to chat with a veterinarian about a safe dosage and frequency to administer Benadryl to your pet, a virtual vet visit is a great way to connect with a doctor quickly without leaving home.

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If your veterinarian can identify the specific allergen affecting your dog, immunotherapy (allergy shots) can be an effective way to manage allergies. This involves giving the dog small amounts of the allergen to build up a tolerance over time.

Topical Treatments

Special shampoos, creams, and sprays can help soothe itchy, irritated skin. Look for products containing oatmeal, aloe, or hydrocortisone. Your veterinarian may also prescribe a medicated cream to use at home.

Home Remedies to Relieve Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

While home remedies can't replace a pet wellness exam, they can sometimes provide additional relief for dogs with seasonal allergies. Remember, while home remedies can help manage symptoms, they're not a substitute for veterinary treatment.

Here are some home remedies for managing your dogs' seasonal allergies:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease inflammation and are beneficial for skin health. They can be added to your dog's diet as a supplement or by feeding foods rich in these fats.

Reduced Exposure to Allergens

Try to minimize your dog's exposure to allergens. This might involve keeping windows closed during high pollen times, regularly cleaning your dog's bedding, or wiping down your dog's paws and coat after walks.

Flea Prevention 

Fleas can exacerbate allergies, so make sure your dog is on a good flea prevention program. Your veterinarian can recommend the right product and time for preventative treatments. 

Hypoallergenic Diet

Some dogs may benefit from a hypoallergenic diet, particularly if they have food allergies in addition to environmental allergies.

Related reading: Dog Food Ingredients to Look For & Ones to Avoid

Oatmeal Baths

Oatmeal has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can be soothing for itchy, irritated skin. To give your dog an oatmeal bath, blend plain oatmeal into a fine powder, mix it with warm water, and let your dog soak in it for 10-15 minutes.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be applied topically to help soothe your dog's skin. You can also add a small amount to your dog's diet (with vet approval) as it contains lauric acid which can help decrease yeast production, a common issue in dogs with allergies.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera gel can be applied to your dog's skin to help soothe inflammation and itchiness. Make sure you're using a pure product that's safe for dogs and doesn't contain alcohol.

Apple Cider Vinegar

You can use apple cider vinegar to make a spray for your dog's skin. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and spray on your dog's skin. Be careful not to spray on open wounds as it can sting.


Adding a canine probiotic supplement to your dog's diet may help strengthen their immune system and potentially reduce allergic reactions.


This natural substance found in fruits and vegetables is often referred to as a natural antihistamine. Make sure to choose a supplement formulated specifically for dogs. 

Air Purifiers

To help reduce allergens in your home, consider using air purifiers. These devices can help remove allergens like pollen and dust from the air.

Managing Your Dogs' Seasonal Allergies

Treating a dog suffering from seasonal allergies can be a challenging exercise, but together with your veterinarian, you can create a treatment plan for your furry friend. BetterVet’s mobile veterinarians can examine your pup at home, where they are most comfortable, and determine a course of action that is tailored just for them!

Does Your Pet Have Itchy Paws or Flaky Skin?

Our veterinarians can bring relief. Schedule a visit for allergy testing in the comfort of your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common allergens that affect dogs?

The most common seasonal allergens that affect dogs are typically tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollen and molds. These can vary depending on the season or your specific geographic location.

How are seasonal allergies in dogs diagnosed?

Seasonal allergies in dogs are typically diagnosed by a process of elimination. Your vet will likely first rule out other common causes of itching and skin problems such as fleas, mites, or food allergies. If these are ruled out and your dog's symptoms occur or worsen during certain seasons, a diagnosis of seasonal allergies may be made. In some cases, intradermal allergy testing or blood tests may be used to identify specific allergens.

Can certain dog breeds be more prone to seasonal allergies?

Yes, some dog breeds seem to be more prone to seasonal allergies than others. These can include Terriers, Retrievers, and flat-faced breeds like Bulldogs and Boston Terriers. However, any dog, regardless of breed, can develop allergies.

How often should I bathe my dog if they have seasonal allergies?

Regular bathing can help to relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies by removing allergens from your dog's coat. Bathing your dog once a week or once every two weeks is usually sufficient for most dogs with allergies, but your vet can provide more specific advice based on your dog's individual circumstances.

Is there a certain time of the year when my dog's seasonal allergies might get worse?

Yes, the severity of your dog's seasonal allergies can vary depending on the time of year. The specific seasons during which symptoms worsen will depend on the specific allergens your dog is sensitive to. Spring is often a time when dogs react to multiple allergens.

How long do seasonal allergies last in dogs?

The duration of seasonal allergies in dogs can vary greatly depending on the specific allergen. For example, if your dog is allergic to a certain type of tree pollen that is only present in the environment for a few weeks each spring, their symptoms may also only last for a few weeks. On the other hand, if your dog is allergic to a type of mold that is present year-round, their symptoms may persist indefinitely without appropriate treatment.

What is the difference between food allergies and seasonal allergies in dogs?

Food allergies in dogs typically cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, although they can also cause skin problems. They are caused by an immune response to certain ingredients in your dog's food. Seasonal allergies, on the other hand, are typically caused by environmental allergens such as pollen and molds, and primarily cause skin problems and respiratory symptoms.

What is the difference between general allergies and seasonal allergies in dogs?

General allergies in dogs occur year-round and are triggered by various factors, including food and environmental allergens. Seasonal allergies are linked to specific times of the year when certain allergens like pollen are high, causing cyclical symptoms. The difference mainly lies in the timing and specific triggers of the allergic reactions.


  • CHAMBERLAIN, K.W. (1978), Clinical signs and diagnosis of atopic disease in the dog. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 19: 493-505.
  • Bensignor, Emmanuel, Morgan, David M., and Nuttall, Tim, 2008, "Efficacy of an essential fatty acid‐enriched diet in managing canine atopic dermatitis: a randomized, single‐blinded, cross‐over study" Veterinary Dermatology Vol. 19, No. 3, pp 156, 1365-3164
  • Martins, L.L., Bento, O.P. & Inácio, F.F. Veterinary allergy diagnosis: past, present and future perspectives. Allergo J Int 25, 238–250 (2016).