Dog Summer Allergies: Identification, Treatment, and More

Ah, summer. The sun is shining, the lakes are calling, and everyone in the house is sneezing, scratching, and going broke from buying antihistamines. And not just the two-legged family members, either—like humans, pups can experience seasonal allergies. 

Dog summer allergies can occur due to pollen, grass, mold, weeds, and more… and if your dog’s been outside soaking up the sun more than usual, they’ll have had more exposure to all of the above. Here are some tips on treating your itchy pup so they can get back out there and enjoy the fun, non-pollen parts of summer!

Symptoms of Dog Summer Allergies

Luckily, dog allergies usually aren’t so hard to identify and treat if you know what you’re looking for. Be all perky ears and attentive eyes for the following symptoms. 

Excessive Scratching or Licking

Is your bud kicking, licking, pawing, and gnawing like there’s no tomorrow? Could be caused by allergies! Scratching is one of the first and most common indicators that your pup is allergic to something. Similarly, if they keep chewing and licking their feet or legs, that can be a sign that summer allergies are getting to them. 

Swollen Eyes + Ears

If your four-legged friend is suffering from seasonal allergies, their eyes might be red, puffy, or crusty (just like a human’s). Allergy-related discharge can be watery or more pus-like, and might affect one or both eyes. Some pups even experience hair loss around their peepers. 

Ears are another indicator—especially if you notice changes in behavior like excessive head-shaking, or if your bud’s been rubbing his head and face on the ground. Take a look at their ears, which might be itchy, red, or swollen due to environmental allergies. Some dogs even sneeze a bunch when allergies are a problem. 


Yup, it doesn’t just happen to humans—dogs can have hives relating to an allergy. (Sensing a pattern here? Lotta human-canine overlap.) Of course, they’re (probably) a little furrier than you are, which might make hives harder to see. Look for them on less-hairy areas like their armpits and tummy. 

Dog Seasonal Allergies Treatment

Help your little bud feel better with the following treatment options.

OTC Meds

Maybe you’re thinking, “Man, I wish I could just give my dog a Benadryl.” Well the good news is… you kind of can! According to the American Kennel Club, Benadryl is “a great medication for use in dogs with mild-to-moderate allergies.” That includes seasonal allergies, food allergies, and even bug bites. 

The AKC says Benadryl—diphenhydramine, in non-brand-name form—is used by vets across the U.S. to treat everything from allergies to motion sickness. Even though it’s not yet technically FDA-approved for veterinary use, it’s considered safe for use in dogs (and even cats!). However, you should check with your vet before you start sticking allergy pills in peanut butter—Benadryl can interact with other medications, and if it’s more serious than a pollen problem, Benadryl won’t help. And you should never give Benadryl to a puppy or to a pregnant or nursing dog, nor should you use time-release capsules for dogs.

Veterinarian Treatment

In fact, you should tell your vet if you’re concerned about dog allergies no matter what. Because the AKC notes that another thing summer dog allergies have in common with the human kind is that for some pups, diagnosing and treating them can be really tricky. And allergy symptoms like itchiness or red, gunky eyes can signal a bigger health problem, something your vet will want to identify and begin treating as quickly as possible. 

Have you had any luck identifying summer allergies in your pup? Let us know what gave it away—and what worked to treat it—in the comments!

Featured photo: Vincent van Zalinge 

Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and pup parent giveaways on Instagram.

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