flowersThis allergy season has been tough, and not for me, for my poor pup.

As a sufferer of year-round allergies I know how frustrating it is to be itchy, break out in hives, and sneeze my head off. This allergy season the symptoms hit my dog for the first time in her six years of life, and hit her hard.

I had no idea my dog had allergies, she never showed symptoms. Every now and again she would sneeze or snore, but her “allergy” symptoms would clear up in a few days once the pollen in the air would settle.

This year was another story.

It began with a stomach rash that literally popped up over night. It was by chance that I even noticed it, and luckily I did when we were playing and she rolled over onto her back.

Her bare skin belly was red, and it even spread down her inner thigh. Within a few days her rash developed little red dots and I noticed her itching and licking her stomach.

I bought over-the-counter hydrocortisone spray and doggy Benadryl. I began giving Grace Benadryl twice a day. Each night I would do a warm compress on her belly and spray her with the hydrocortisone.

Within a few days her rash cleared. But after 24 hours without administering the spray the rash came back.

I battled the rash for months with no long term solution. We went to vet clinics and each vet said it looked like contact dermatitis from seasonal allergies, it would clear up, and to consider getting a skin scrape to narrow down what she was allergic to.

I tried changing her food, I stopped giving her treats and table scraps, and used detergent with no dyes or scents and washed her bed once a week.

I bought hypoallergenic shampoo and gave her weekly baths, and even resorted to keeping her in the house, only going outside for bathroom breaks.

I tried coconut oil, and Neosporin when she would scratch and rub herself raw. Nothing was working and I had to find a solution for my poor dog.

After countless hours researching for a low cost vet clinic equipped with a lab to do a skin scrape, I booked an appointment with MD Pet Care, a low cost clinic part of the Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA.

Let me just say the clinic, staff and vet were sent from doggy heaven. They were fantastic!

They did a complete exam on Grace, and the vet spent such a wonderful amount of time with us listening to my battle with her rash, my concerns that it’s not healing, and my failed efforts to settle her allergies on my own.

The vet explained that Grace did not have contact dermatitis, and that she did have allergies but was not experiencing an allergic reaction to something specific, per say. Rather, she was breaking out in a rash because her seasonal allergies were out of control.

Before I knew it I was being coached on the three different medications she was being prescribed. A steroid for the allergies, an antibiotic for the swollen rash, and the continuation of the Benadryl, given three times a day, to reduce her inflammation. 

This dog was on more allergy meds than I take during my worst allergic reactions.

The moral of the story? Make sure you watch your pet for sudden allergic reactions. Even if they have never experienced allergies before, a reaction can occur at any

And for those on a tight budget like myself, I was thrilled to walk out of the clinic with a solution, and only a $60 bill. She didn’t even need the $150 skin scrape I was advised to have done by the other clinic.

Her meds were a month long, and I did have to make her swallow whole pills, but within two days her rash cleared and stayed away.

And after a month being off her meds, she is still rash free!