Even though summer is still in full swing, many dog owners are anxiously anticipating fall’s arrival because that’s when their dog’s seasonal struggles kick into gear. If your dog’s sneezing, scratching or other symptoms increase in the fall, here are several tips to get ready that can help make this year better for you and for your dog.
Minimize the irritants in your home
There a variety of strategies to reduce the quantity of allergens (the compounds that cause your dog’s reaction) in your home. A two-pronged prevention/reduction strategy is to keep your windows closed and run your furnace/air conditioner through an anti-allergen air filtration system. Closed windows will help prevent irritants from entering your home and the filtration system help pull the ones out of the air that have already entered. Be sure you regularly change the filters in this system, to avoid re-introducing particles that had been filtered out.
They say ‘cleanliness is close to godliness.’ That’s especially the case when it comes to removing allergens from your home. No home is air-tight, but if you vacuum all carpeting and upholstery and wash all pet and human bedding at least once per week you can help remove particles that have gotten in. After vacuuming, be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag or canister in a sealed container away from your home to prevent reintroduction.
Maximize your dog’s defenses
In addition to minimizing the amount of particles in your home, there are several things you can do to help your dog be prepared for the ones that do get in, and the ones he’s exposed to when he goes outdoors. First, bathe your dog once every week to every month, per your veterinarian’s guidelines based on your dog’s skin and coat needs. Besides removing irritants from the skin and coat, bathing can help kill and remove bacteria and yeast, fleas and their saliva and feces (free dirt) and help lift off flaking skin. One of your dog’s most vulnerable body parts are his eyes. Rinse debris and other irritants from his eyes to prevent invasion of his bodily systems with an over-the-counter eye irrigating solution.
Your dog’s internal systems can also be prepped to maximize their defenses. Regular physical exams with your veterinarian will help reveal any illnesses and allow you to address them before your dog’s immune system is compromised. Inflammation associated with other illnesses or injuries can also reduce your dog’s defenses against allergic reaction, so work with your vet to discover an appropriate anti-inflammatory your dog can take on a regular basis. And of course, just like humans it’s also critical to feed your dog a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight, to keep all systems functioning at optimal levels.
Allergens may be a fact of life. But these tips can help minimize their intrusion in yours and you dog’s.