As a dog owner, you might not be too concerned when your dog eats grass. They’re dogs, after all, it’s just kind of what they do!
Well, have you ever asked yourself can dogs be allergic to grass? It might seem unlikely given how much time dogs spend running around on it and, yes, eating it as well. But unfortunately, it’s true, and the problem is that your dog won’t know he is allergic to grass, and won’t understand that it’s causing him discomfort. He will keep on eating grass and frolicking around, then scratching away to the point it causes himself harm. Often, owners of dogs who are allergic to grass will have a difficult time reaching the correct conclusion. So what can you do if your dog is allergic to grass?
After all, grass is a pretty tricky thing for you and your dog to avoid, but the good news is you won’t need to stay away from the outdoors as long as your dog is given the proper treatment.
You and your dog will still be able to run and play without it being an unpleasant experience due to his allergy. However, without treatment, a grass allergy can cause a wide number of uncomfortable symptoms for your dog that will be difficult to relieve. And without treatment, those symptoms will only get worse.
This post will discuss the potential causes and symptoms of a grass allergy that can be seen in dogs. It will also dive into how a grass allergy is diagnosed, your treatment options, and long-term outlook.
Let’s start with how exactly a dog can even be allergic to grass in the first place.
How Can My Dog Be Allergic to Grass?
Surely you know that people suffer from seasonal allergies, but guess what, your dog can too. Sometimes the culprit can even be the green grass underneath your feet.
Of course, this won’t be an obvious source of allergies at all. You may notice your dog is biting his paws, scratching, and clawing himself to the point that he is taking out his own fur or creating wounds. Tests will show no signs of any other possibility, including canine parasites, food allergies, ticks on dogs or fleas, or any other common cause of itching in dogs.
When all these causes are ruled out, it may be time to look at the environment around your pet. And yes, even that grass. But how can grass be the cause of allergies? The answer lies in a common cause of human seasonal allergies: pollen.
What Causes Grass Allergies in Dogs
Now that you know that dogs get seasonal allergies just like we do, you might not be surprised to learn that the cause is the same. Dogs aren’t allergic to the grass itself, but rather the grass pollen that is floating through the air.
The pollen is microscopic and only seen when it accumulates in mass quantities in the spring. Your dog may absorb these tiny spores in his skin, which will cause the allergic reaction in dogs. Their fur may also pick up the pollen from grass and other surfaces that have pollen on them. You can even bring the pollen to your dog on your clothes or shoes by accident without even realizing.
Pollen can even come in through the windows, so keeping your dog inside won’t stop the pollen invasion. If it is in season, it will find a way to reach the animal. Your dog can have allergic reactions to pollen through contact with his skin or even when breathed into his lungs. In fact, it is more commonly inhalation that causes allergic reactions in dogs rather than actual skin contact.
Symptoms of a Grass Allergy in Dogs
There are many potential symptoms of a grass allergy in a dog. It can be easy to assume these symptoms are the result of some other trigger or event, and grass may be the last thing you suspect, especially if you don’t even have a yard. However, keep in mind that the fine, powdery pollen spores can travel quite far in the wind, so you may encounter pollens even if you aren’t routinely near grassy areas.
The most common symptoms of a grass allergy is excessive scratching and licking. This may cause redness, a canine skin rash, oozing skin, and watery eyes and nose. Severe reactions may cause an inflammation in a dog’s airway, a condition known as anaphylaxis, which can cause a constriction that will make it difficult for the dog to breathe.
Anaphylaxis is not commonly recorded in dogs due to grass pollen inhalation, however, it is thought to be a possible occurrence. No matter what, if your dog is excessively wheezing, sneezing, and coughing, it could be a sign of a serious reaction and you will need to take your dog in to see your veterinarian or to an animal hospital as soon as possible.
The excessive scratching caused by a grass allergy can, in turn, lead to the dog creating bald spots in his fur or even opening wounds. Unfortunately, this scratching and canine inflammation, redness, and/or baldness and wounds are commonly misdiagnosed for dry skin, chronic dermatitis, fleas, or another cause, when it is actually the grass pollen causing issues.
If you notice that your dog seems fine during the fall and winter but is very itchy and irritated during the spring and summer months, it may point to a grass allergy. The scratching is commonly seen in a dog’s underarms, abdomen, muzzle, eyes, ears, groin, anus, and even paws. Your dog may also have canine diarrhea, hives, and may suddenly begin to snore because of an inflamed sore throat.
Grass allergies can be seen in any species, gender, and age of dog, but is most commonly seen in dogs over the age of three months. Grass allergies are more common in certain breeds, including German Shepherds, Bulldogs, Pugs, Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, Setters, and