ROANOKE, VA (WSLS/NBC) - Veterinarians are seeing an increase of allergy cases in dogs this summer, mostly because of the heat.
Doctor 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," Nelson said.
With several days of heat and no rain, she says pollen has been circulating at levels dogs just cannot 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," Nelson said.
She shows us how to check your dog, starting with their fur, then checking their paws, face and ears, looking for any redness, bumps or blisters, 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.
She says any infection or lesion needs immediate attention for the comfort of your dog, and you should make sure it doesn't get any worse. She recommends before treating your dog, call your vet -- especially when it comes to over-the-counter medication.
"Antihistamines have variable results in dogs," Nelson said. "Sometimes, just after they've gone out to play, take a damp cloth to remove the pollen. That can help reduce how much dogs are exposed to it."
Nelson says if your dog is suffering from allergies, talk to your vet about treatment options. She says there are some vaccinations available.
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