Dealing with seasonal skin allergies

Every year around the end of September, Sully starts to have a seasonal skin allergy.  We don’t know exactly what plant causes it, but for a good 2-3 weeks, my boy has a rash over most of his body.

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of research, trial and error experiments, and conducted many conversations with people that are in the “know”, to try and ascertain the best way to provide my guy with some comfort without pumping him full of antihistamines and/or other unnatural “stuff”.

What kind of allergy?

Before getting into my recommendations, we have to make sure that the allergy we are dealing with is actually environmental.  The main issue we are looking to avoid is attributing a food allergy to the environment.

img_6043I can hear you now, “My girl doesn’t have any food allergies”.  That may be true now but a dog can develop a food allergy, seemingly at random, at any point in her life! The easiest way to pinpoint the nature of an allergy is to have a test performed by your veterinarian.  While it may seem like a frivolous expense at first, avoiding the monetary cost of trial and error efforts will save you in the long run.


These fall into two major categories: Relief and Suppression.  Relieving the symptoms is probably much more important, in my opinion, than suppressing them.  Mostly because suppression involves using antihistamines which, while perfectly safe for dogs, still rank on my “I’d rather not give them to my dog’s if I don’t absolutely have to” list.


This is the big suppression method in our household.  I made a couple of calculators that I use to make sure I give the exact amount that is recommended. One here, and one(with other medicines as well) here

Keep in mind that the active ingredient in Benadryl usually causes drowsiness and/or lethargy, which is another reason I don’t like giving it to our dogs unless we have to, so don’t be alarmed if your pup turns into a lazy couch potato after you dose him.

Coconut Oil

img_6044 This is where the magic happens!  Sully’s skin can get pretty gnarly when this allergy season really gets going.  He makes it much worse because he constantly wants to lick and scratch.  Awhile back, I started to put a few inches of warm water at the bottom of the back, 1/3 cup of Coconut oil, and, using my hands, I would gently rub the water/oil combo into his coat and skin.




This works wonders for providing my guy some relief.  The oil has anti-inflammatory properties and calms his skin so that he doesn’t constantly chew, scratch, and lick.  It also has anti-microbial and anti-histamine properties that help keep any infections at bay and the overall reaction in check.

I can’t recommend this stuff enough.  I also put a couple of teaspoons in his food around this time of year to give him a little extra boost.  The only downside to Coconut oil is that the other dogs will pester Sully relentlessly after the bath trying to lick it off of him!img_6046


I wanted to write this post so I could sing the praises of coconut oil in treating any kind of minor skin irration.  I’ve tried various different solutions for Sully’s allergies but coco oil is the only one that has made a noticeable difference, other than OTC medications like Benadryl.  Plus, it’s natural, which is a huge bonus in my book.  After a couple of baths with the water/oil mixture, my boys skin looks soooo much better.

33 thoughts to “Dealing with seasonal skin allergies”

    1. I’ll have to get a video of it next time he gets a bath, but he just lays out on the floor and all 3 girls are just licking away, it always reminds me of an Egyptian pharoah hahaha

  1. OMG I HAVE THE SAME WITH CHARLIE!! I tried everything! But I just can’t seem to find the perfect solution. Our vet said it’s probably a grass allergy, but it pains me to keep him inside, away from his friends. I’m trying some new ‘herbal’ medications right now, because my vet is against Cortisone because it will affact his kidneys in the long run :(! It drives me crazy!

    1. I know that feeling! Give the coconut bath I mentioned in the post a try. I’m not sure exactly how or why it works, but I always see a drastic improvement in his skin after giving him one(during this time of year)

  2. Sometimes these kinds of skin rashes can be a sign of flea allergies. I have a post about how to identify a flea allergy and how to combat it. I’m glad the coconut oil helps Sully feel better!

    1. I looked into bug allergies the first year it happened, turns out it wasn’t fleas(or any other bug), but was definitely high on my list of possible causes. Would love to have the link to the article though, more information is always better than less!

  3. One of my dogs used to get very itchy skin, and I discovered when I removed wheat from his diet, it helped dramatically. I love the coconut oil idea, I’m definitely going to give that one a try.

    1. Sully has been on a grain-free diet his whole life. When this first popped up, I went through a process of trial and error to figure out what was causing it. The only answer that makes sense is a plant in our area that blooms/pollinates from the end of September to the middle of October

  4. Oh seasonal allergies! This is the worst time of year for Miss Edie. We attribute it to our pine trees, as soon as they start to drop their needles Edie starts scratching. To help her be more comfortable, I bath her regularly and on occasion she too gets a benadryl. I must try the coconut oil too!

    1. It’s borderline magical how well coconut oil works for my guy. It’s almost like the oil sets up a barrier that keeps whatever it is that he is allergic to away from his skin.

  5. Coconut oil is a great suggestion. It’s amazing how many benefits coconut oil has for dogs and human! I’m glad it’s brought Sully some relief. I also have some organic Natural Paws spray for dogs with skin allergies.

  6. I agree. Coconut oil is a wonderful product and for so many reasons! Great post- thanks for sharing it!

  7. So glad we don’t have allergy issues at home. But I will keep these in mind if I have someone ask me.

  8. Great information! My mom developed a peanut allergy out of nowhere…interesting to know the same can happen with dogs too.

  9. Oh you made me laugh! Poor Sully being likced bu the others *g*. I am glad you were able to work on getting him some relief. It is like humans isn’t it. I never got hayfever in the UK but here in NZ I have got a bit because its different trees and pollen 😉

  10. I. like you, prefer natural if at all possible. Our dog has skin issues, and anxiety issues, especially when there are storms. Here in the midwest there are always storms. We live in tornado alley. We tried medications for her skin, and medications for her anxiety. We decided Benadryl to be the best for both issues. Granted I do not like making her a zombie dog, but she has a shockingly high tolerance to the Benadryl so she rarely knocks out. You wrote a great article with solid advice!

  11. My shepherd battles seasonal allergies during the summer months he is very allergic to Bermuda grass and sense fall is upon us he is finally getting some much needed relief, even with baths and allergie meds he still is very itchy.

  12. Layla gets terrible rashes on her belly when we get home from the park so I wipe her down with warm water – she is allergic to Benadryl so if it is really bad then I spray on her Chelated Silver which helps – she gets coconut oil in her food daily

    1. Good idea, I would give it to him year round, but he puts on weight really easily and Coco oil is straight fat!

  13. Love coconut oil. Suppression can actually make an allergy worse because it knocks the immune system down. So, good for you finding coconut oil. 🙂

    1. Yup, im not a fan of “medicine” in the traditional sense, especially for dogs. I’d prefer a natural solution if at all possible

    1. Our pleasure, I’ve found, since I started doing this with him, that it’s also really good for human skin as well

  14. When you mentioned rubbing it into the skin, I thought won’t the dog just want to lick it off? My Maltese suffers terribly in the summer and also seems to have a food allergy. We give her Benadryl, but I’ll try the oil next summer when the itchiness starts up again. She’s 9 and about 3 or 4 years ago, she really had her first unbearably itchy season.

    1. He does lick at it, but it’s like trying to get oil of your hands, no matter how hard he tries, its still going to be on there(if that makes sense)

  15. The pet store recommended nettle root for allergies so we’ve been trying that out!

    1. Interesting, I have never even heard of that. Will be doing some research on it right after I’m done typing this!

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