Pet allergies are one of the most common and frustrating medical problems that affect both dogs and cats.
Allergies are a hypersensitivity in which exposure to a benign substance causes your pet’s immune system to go into overdrive, which leads to inflammatory mediators being released that leads to the itching, scratching, and chewing that drives us insane but is uncomfortable for your pets.
Unfortunately, the incidence of allergies in people, dogs, and cats is increasing.
Food, immune system deficiency, toxins, and stress are definitely contributing to the rise in allergies we are seeing in ourselves and our pets.
What are some pet allergy signs you may notice?
Chewing at their feet or excessively licking
Changes in skin coloration
Recurring anal gland infections
Licking, chewing, scratching excessively along their flanks
Chronic GI issues like vomiting and diarrhea
There are numerous causes for allergies, and many times the symptoms can look the same making it difficult to diagnose.
Main causes of allergies:
Environmental allergies (atopy)
This type of sensitivity is common in pets and can be difficult to diagnose, especially if there is a concurrent environmental sensitivity.
Proteins in the food are recognized as being foreign to the body and lead to inflammation. Learn more about leaky gut and how it develops in your pet.
The most common symptom seen is skin itchiness, but you may notice GI upset like loose stool, anal gland problems, and vomiting, especially in cats.
In cats, the itching will usually be focused on the head, neck, and ear region with food sensitivity.
Many people think that a food allergy develops after switching diets.
However, food allergies are very common in pets that have been fed the same food for years.
In dogs, the most common allergens are beef, chicken, egg, cow milk, wheat, soy, fish, rice, potato, and corn.
In cats, the most common allergens are chicken, fish, and dairy products, plus common carbohydrates, including wheat, rice, and corn.
The best way to empower yourself as a pet parent is to learn how to read pet food labels.
Atopy (environmental allergy)
Next, atopy (environmental allergy) can develop in any dog, but certain breeds are predisposed, such as terriers and retrievers.
This disease can vary based on the environment. Many pet parents will notice their pet’s allergies resolve when moving to a more dry climate or may worsen with a change in environment.
These allergies are due to contact with the allergen in the environment – this could be grasses, pollens, other pet dander, and even dust mites.
Environmental allergies look very similar to food sensitivities, but usually don’t involve gastrointestinal issues. However, keep in mind that many pets have a low-grade inflammation from being on food that has inflammatory ingredients and environmental allergies concurrently.
Simple Ways to Help Your Pets
Ensure there are no external parasites like fleas
Using a flea comb is important to determine if your pet is itching due to fleas. We also do not recommend conventional flea and tick products due to their high rate of adverse side effects. There are a lot of great natural remedies you can use for your pets to keep them safe and parasite free. Learn more about natural flea and parasite repellants.
Assess what’s in your pet’s diet (meals and treats)
If you’re concerned that your pet is allergic to something in their diet, first stop all treats and table scraps that are meat or dairy.
Safe treats include those made without animal protein or dairy products like carrots.
If your pet is still itchy after a few weeks, it may be a hypersensitivity reaction to their food. The next step would be to do a hypoallergenic food trial or a food sensitivity test, like the one from Nutriscan (make sure to use code Drkatie10 for a discount).
Learn more about food sensitivities versus food allergies to make sure your veterinarian is doing the right testing.
What to Feed
Food is the foundation for health, and if we are not optimizing the food that is going into our pet’s body, then we’ll never fully resolve the itchiness.
If we’re concerned with food sensitivities, we want to feed a basic recipe for at least 8 weeks to see if the itchiness subsides or lessens.
Pick a protein your pet most likely has never been exposed to.
Keep in mind, even though your pet’s food may say it’s chicken, there are usually other types of protein further down on the ingredient list or your pet may have a sensitivity to the food in the food trial.
This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to learn how to read pet food labels.
Use an online pet food recipe maker like www.BalanceIT.org to help formulate a limited ingredient diet with one protein and one or two veggies. Here’s a free tutorial on how to use BalanceIT to formulate your own homemade balanced diets.
Also, make sure any vitamins or minerals you are adding are hypoallergenic to ensure they don’t create an adverse reaction.
Make sure that you have your pet on a good probiotic and digestive enzyme to help them break down their food to fully absorb it while supporting optimal gut health.
Here’s a list of our supplement recommendations for enhancing gut health.
Bathe Your Pet
Studies actually show that bathing your pet once a week is helpful in reducing allergy symptoms.
Also, get a wet washcloth and wipe your dog’s paws and coat down after coming inside. Doing this will help reduce the number of pollens on your pet’s fur that flares allergy symptoms.
I recommend using hypoallergenic dog shampoo. 4Legger Organic shampoo and Kin & Kind are two great brands to get you started.
You MUST stay away from human shampoos because they aren’t formulated to maintain the right pH for your pet’s skin which can worsen symptoms.
Topical Treatments Are Essential
Calendula ointment is an herbal medication that has been successfully used to relieve the itch. Apply a thin coat twice daily to affected areas.
Using brewed teas topically can also be beneficial to your pet. Green tea, chamomile, and black tea have been shown in studies to specifically reduce inflammation.
Brew a cup of tea and apply the cooled tea topically to the affected skin.
Manuka honey is a great anti-bacterial option that you can use topically on sores or infected skin, and it’s safe if your pet ingests some. You want to make sure the UMF is higher than 10 for the most medicinal properties and benefits for your pet’s health.
There are numerous supplements that we can use to help build up the skin barrier to external allergens, reduce inflammation, and support our pet’s immune systems.
Learn more about which supplements can be used and why to help resolve your pet’s allergy symptoms and feel better.
Using whole food supplements from companies like Standard Process are a great way to help your pet’s body rebalance and fix the root cause of the allergy.
Specifically using supplements that help improve skin health, reduce inflammation and excess histamine and support gut health are key to healing your pet’s allergies.
Here are a few of our favorite options to try from Standard Process:
- Standard Process Antronex which reduces histamine and supports blood flow to the liver (can be used in both dogs and cats)
- Standard Process Canine Dermal Support which supports adrenal health, optimal gut health and improves the skin. This can also be used in cats.
- Standard Process Wheat Germ Oil which provides vitamin E and fatty acids to better support the skin barrier
- Standard Process Canine and Feline Whole Body Support to provide whole food sources of vitamins and minerals while supporting gut health and adrenals
- Standard Process VF Thymus for Pets to support the immune system
You can get these allergy supplements here.
If your dog is still suffering from allergies, you’re going into the vet over and over again, trying more and more drugs with no results, schedule a call to learn more about our lifetime program that provides support, guidance and help from a holistic vet so you don’t feel alone and can get the results you desperately want and need for your pets.
You have the power and ability to help your pet feel their best.
Don’t lose hope, and continue to be the amazing pet parent who knows there’s a way to help your pets by integrating holistic remedies into your pet’s care.
- Natural Remedies for Treating Allergies in Dogs and Cats
- 5 Natural Itchy Skin Home Remedies for Dogs
- How to Treat Hot Spots with Nutrition and Natural Remedies
MORE NATURAL PET HEALTH INFORMATION
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3. Inquire about our Healthy Holistic Pet For Life Blueprint program for even more guidance with your pets.
You may be spending hours and hours researching what is the best way to raise your puppy and other fur family and feeling lost, stuck and confused on what is the best path forward. Many pets are developing diseases early in life that are expensive, shortening their lives, and are stressful for pet parents to endure watching their pets not feel well. We’ve created a program that guides you through the 5 pillars of health to help you gain confidence in the essential areas of pet health that will help reduce disease from occurring, keep your pets healthy and happy, reduce vet bills and help you feel empowered and confident as a pet parent to tackle anything. The best part is you gain access to an incredible worldwide community of pet parents and weekly 2-hour Q&A’s with Dr. Katie to gain further clarification and get your questions answered. If you’d like to learn more, make sure to schedule a call with us here: Healthy Holistic Pet For Life Application
*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. The information contained in thenaturalpetdoctor.com is strictly for educational purposes. Therefore, if you wish to apply ideas contained in thenaturalpetdoctor.com, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. Please consult your veterinarian for medical advice for your own pets. Dr. Katie Woodley cannot answer specific questions about your pet’s medical issues or make medical recommendations for your pet without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.