(WSLS/NBC) - Veterinarians are seeing an increase of allergy cases in dogs this summer, mostly because of the heat.
Dr. Laura Nelson says avoiding dog allergies is nearly impossible.
"It's really hard to avoid the pollen, the trees, the grasses, the house dust mites," she said.
The combination of heat and no rain circulates pollen at levels dogs just can't tolerate.
"Anything you've got growing outside that's releasing pollen, it's not that the dogs are rolling in it. It's that they are breathing it," she said.
Nelson suggests checking your dog for signs of skin allergies, starting with their fur. Then check their paws, face and ears, looking for any redness, bumps or blisters, and even hair loss.
And sometimes, she says, all you have to do is take a whiff.
"A lot of dogs smell bad when they have an allergic skin disease; their ears are infected, their skin is infected," she said.
Nelson says any infection or lesion needs immediate attention to make sure it doesn't get any worse.
And before treating your dog yourself, call your vet first, especially when it comes to over-the counter medication.
"Antihistamines have variable results in dogs and not all of the human products have dosages that are well worked out in dogs."
As for prevention? Wiping dogs with a damp cloth after playtime can help remove pollen, reducing how much they're exposed to.
If your dog is suffering from allergies, talk to your vet about treatment options. There are some vaccinations available that can help ease your furry friend's suffering.
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