Well, this depends on whether you want to try treating the allergies at home by using home-made remedies you have read or heard about, or if you want to take the dog to the vet for a check-up and a professional opinion. Depending on how severe the allergy is will undoubtedly help you decide. If it is a suspected seasonal allergy and only happens in the spring when the pollen count is high you can treat this with an over the counter anti-histamine like Benadryl (either adult or baby formula). Both come in either pill or liquid. It also helps to keep him inside as much as possible during this time. Make sure you find out the recommended dosage before you give him anything! You can find that out with a quick call to your vet, or even look it up online.
If you suspect the food being the allergenic factor, try to feed your dog with the best hypoallergenic food on the market (examples of German Shepherd dry food brands for allergic dogs).
Regular bathing (once or twice a week) is also recommended for a dog with allergies that are affecting shis skin from scratching and digging. Use a shampoo that is either formulated for dogs with allergies, or something that is gentle-like baby shampoo. You may even consider having a groomer clip his coat very short in the summer months. Spray his ‘hot spots’ with something that is cooling and also helps with the itch. Aloe gel is really good for this. It cools, soothes and it won’t make him sick if he licks it off provided it’s 100% aloe. It’s especially good for use between the toes if this is where he is chewing and licking.
Along with bathing, check his ears to see what might be living in there. There may be mites or parasites that have taken up residence that he is allergic to, so clean them well and keep them dry. This is especially true of dogs who have long, floppy ears that can never get fresh air. Red, watery eyes signal an allergy to something that is probably inhaled, like smoke, perfumes or even air fresheners. Avoid using any of this stuff, and if you have to smoke do it outside! Why should the dog have to suffer? (or anyone else for that matter) Invest in an air purifier, keep his bedding clean and dry and mop the floors at least twice a week to keep the dust down.
Steroids for Dogs?
If you have done everything you can think of and your pet is still suffering from allergies then absolutely take him to the vet. A thorough examination and some blood work may turn up a solution to the problem. He may need to take a prescription medication or even be on steroids for a period of time. Although long-term use of steroids is not recommended, they do work really well at relieving allergy symptoms. He may need to be on them during allergy season and then come off gradually as you head into winter. If it makes him feel better, what other choice do you have? You can talk with your vet about concerns you have about steroid use and see what he recommends. He may just give the dog a shot of methylprednisolone (steroid) that will (hopefully) last up to 6 months.