What a joy it is to have summer in the air! Such a shame that it also brings so many allergies. And as you may have already noticed with your dog, they are not immune to them.
Just like us, when the pollen count is high, dogs can get runny eyes, sniffling, sneezing and something I have to this day never ever seen on a human, reverse sneezing.
I remember the first time it happened to our very young puppy Kai last year. He'd only been a few weeks with us when spring came and with it, these strange bouts of weird breathing. It was so scary, as it would happen all of a sudden, without any warning, and we had absolutely no idea what it was or what to do about it. The episodes would last only a few seconds, and he would be absolutely fine again. Needless to say when it happened a couple of times, we rushed to call the vet, who explained that there was very likely nothing to worry about, that we were seeing a reverse sneeze, something rather ordinary in dog world.
Apparently reverse sneezing is very common with dogs. According to Dr Karen Becker, "in a reverse sneeze, air is pulled rapidly and noisily in through the nose. For some dogs, it’s a more or less normal event. Just as sneezing is a part of life, reverse sneezing is also a part of many dogs’ lives." It can be quite distressing for the dog, so it's a good idea to comfort them whilst staying calm when it happens.
The reverse sneezing episodes continued to happen for a while, sometimes weeks would go by without not as much as a common sneeze, but on some days it would take our little Kai's body by storm, with as many as 10 of these - now we know - harmless but petrifying incidents. Eventually, as the autumn months drew in, less and less sneezing happened.
Being a first time dog owner, I had no idea why this was happening. When you've just invited a new creature into your life there are so many things to worry about and so much googling to be done! It is often very easy to miss out on what else is going on in your environment. One year on, at more or less the same time, Kai has once again started to do the reverse sneezing, and I finally put two and two together: it happens to him when the pollen count is high, he gets hayfever!
With this knowledge, I've been looking for natural remedies to help him out. It seems that avoiding going out in the mornings and the evenings, as well as on windy days is a good idea as there is a greater pollen count then. Vetinfo recommends also to "bathe your pet frequently to remove pollens or dander that stick to his body" and to vacuum your place regularly.
In Kai's case, he gets a red belly which can sometimes be itchy so we give him cool showers and apply aloe vera gel in the affected area to soothe and calm the skin. He also has a spoon of natural yogurt in his food everyday as research shows that the probiotics help ease the symptoms of hayfever.
If you have any tips on other natural remedies, please leave us a comment.
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