Even indoor dogs have to go out sometimes, whether it’s to use nature’s toilet, take a walk, or run around a bit. And as you know from days when there’s any precipitation, whatever’s happening outside comes indoors with them—and that includes pollen.
Although when we think about dogs and allergies, dander usually comes to mind first, your pup could be aggravating your hay fever this time of year. Here’s how that happens, and what to do about it.
How dogs bring allergens indoors
Does your dog see a fresh patch of grass, or any ground-covering plants, and immediately need to roll around in it? Do they love running through fields, or the parts of your yard that you’ve landscaped?
If so, think about how much pollen (and dirt)mis getting on their fur. And even if they don’t actively roll in it or run through it, simply being outdoors during allergy seasons is enough for it to make a difference in your home.
In addition to their coat, pollen can also accumulate on their feet (including on the top of them, between their nails), in their ears, on their whiskers or face fur—pretty much anywhere.
“This [pollen] can then be easily and quickly transferred inside your house and on your furniture,” Sara Ochoa (DVM), a veterinarian at Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, Texas and SeniorTailWaggers.com, tells Lifehacker. “Many times you can even see pollen on their fur.”
How to prevent your dog from bringing allergens into your home
While you’re unlikely to be able to get every grain of pollen off your dog, you can get enough to make a difference. And before you stop reading because there’s an obvious answer (giving your dog a bath), know that it’s more complicated than that.
Give your dog a bath (with caveats)
While bathing your dog certainly helps remove the pollen they have on their coat, keep in mind that giving them a bath every time they come in from outside isn’t realistic. Not only that, but some breeds—like Weimaraners, Dachshunds, and German Shorthaired Pointers—don’t need (and shouldn’t get) baths very often.
If you have a dog that is able to bathe more frequently, Ochoa recommends doing it once a week during allergy season. “If you need to give them a bath more than that, I would look into using an oatmeal based shampoo or gentle shampoo that will not dry out their coat,” she adds. For dogs who aren’t able to bathe as often, she suggests using a waterless shampoo.
Other ways to stop your dog from bringing pollen inside
Here are a few other days to get pollen off your dog that are far less involved than bathing them, and can be done more frequently:
- Wipe their fur and paws down with a damp cloth when they’re ready to come inside
- Brush them off before they come in—and consider wearing a mask if you have allergies
- Get a microfiber doormat, like the ones from Soggy Doggy, to catch pollen stuck on their feet and between their toes