Can Dogs Get Hayfever? A Comprehensive Guide

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Ever noticed your dog sneezing more than usual during spring or summer? Just like humans, dogs can suffer from seasonal allergies, commonly known as hayfever. Understanding hayfever in dogs is crucial for ensuring their well-being and comfort. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into what hayfever is, how it affects dogs, and what you can do to help your furry friend.

What is Hayfever?

Hayfever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction to airborne substances such as pollen. These allergens cause the immune system to overreact, leading to symptoms like sneezing, itching, and nasal congestion. While it’s a common condition in humans, many pet owners are unaware that dogs can also be affected by it.

Can Dogs Get Hayfever?

Yes, dogs can get hayfever! Although it might sound surprising, our canine companions can experience similar allergic reactions to environmental allergens as we do. However, the way hayfever manifests in dogs can be different from humans, making it essential to recognise the specific symptoms and seek appropriate treatment.

Symptoms of Hayfever in Dogs

Dogs with hayfever often display a range of symptoms that can vary in severity. Common signs include:

  • Excessive scratching or licking
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing and nasal discharge
  • Ear infections
  • Paw chewing

These symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions, so it’s important to observe your dog closely and consult with a vet for an accurate diagnosis.

Causes of Hayfever in Dogs

Hayfever in dogs is primarily caused by exposure to environmental allergens. These can include:

  • Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds
  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores
  • Feathers
  • Certain fabrics

Some dogs may be genetically predisposed to allergies, making them more susceptible to hayfever. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Terriers are known to be more prone to allergic reactions.

Diagnosing Hayfever in Dogs

Diagnosing hayfever in dogs involves a series of steps, typically starting with a detailed history and physical examination by a vet. Common diagnostic procedures include:

  • Skin tests: Small amounts of allergens are introduced to the skin to observe reactions.
  • Blood tests: These can measure the immune system’s response to specific allergens.
  • Exclusion trials: Removing potential allergens from the dog’s environment to identify the cause.

Accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment and management.

Treatment Options for Hayfever in Dogs

Once hayfever is diagnosed, several treatment options are available to manage the symptoms and improve your dog’s quality of life. These include:


  • Antihistamines: Help reduce itching and inflammation.
  • Steroids: Used for severe cases to reduce immune response.
  • Immunotherapy: Allergy shots that gradually desensitize the immune system.

Natural Remedies

  • Oatmeal baths: Soothe irritated skin.
  • Herbal supplements: Such as quercetin, known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Aloe vera: Helps in soothing skin.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Frequent baths: To remove allergens from the coat.
  • Regular cleaning: Of your dog’s bedding and living areas.
  • Air purifiers: To reduce airborne allergens in the home.

Preventing Hayfever in Dogs

Prevention is better than cure, and there are several steps you can take to minimise your dog’s exposure to allergens:

  • Keep windows closed: Especially during high pollen seasons.
  • Wipe down your dog: With a damp cloth after outdoor activities.
  • Limit outdoor time: During peak pollen hours.
  • Maintain a clean home: Vacuum regularly and wash pet bedding frequently.

Diet and Hayfever in Dogs

A well-balanced diet can play a significant role in managing hayfever symptoms. Consider incorporating the following:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fish oil, these help reduce inflammation.
  • Antioxidants: Such as vitamins C and E, to boost the immune system.
  • Hypoallergenic foods: For dogs with food sensitivities that can exacerbate hayfever.

Consult with your vet to tailor a diet plan that best suits your dog’s needs.

Living with a Dog with Hayfever

Living with a dog that has hayfever requires some adjustments, but it’s manageable with the right care. Establish a routine that includes regular grooming, cleaning, and monitoring of symptoms. Stay informed about seasonal changes and be proactive in managing potential allergen exposure.

Common Myths about Hayfever in Dogs

There are several myths about hayfever in dogs that need debunking:

  • Myth: Only humans get hayfever.
  • Fact: Dogs can suffer from hayfever too, though symptoms differ.
  • Myth: Hayfever is only a springtime issue.
  • Fact: Dogs can be affected year-round, depending on the allergens.
  • Myth: Dogs with hayfever can’t enjoy outdoor activities.
  • Fact: With proper management, dogs can still have fun outdoors.

When to See a Vet

It’s important to consult a vet if you notice any of the following:

  • Persistent itching or scratching
  • Severe skin inflammation
  • Unusual behaviour changes
  • Difficulty breathing

Regular check-ups can help in early detection and management of hayfever.

FAQs about Hayfever in Dogs

Q: Can dogs outgrow hayfever?
A: While some dogs may see a reduction in symptoms as they age, hayfever often requires ongoing management.

Q: Are certain dog breeds more prone to hayfever?
A: Yes, breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Terriers are more susceptible.

Q: Can I use human antihistamines for my dog?
A: Only under the guidance of a vet. Some human medications can be harmful to dogs.

Q: How often should I bathe my dog during hayfever season?
A: Bathing your dog once a week can help remove allergens from their coat.

Q: Can diet changes help with hayfever symptoms?
A: Yes, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods and supplements can aid in managing symptoms.


Understanding and managing hayfever in dogs is essential for their health and happiness. By recognising the symptoms, seeking professional diagnosis, and implementing effective treatments, you can ensure your dog leads a comfortable life even during allergy season. Always consult with your vet for the best care approach tailored to your dog’s needs.

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