Treating Dog Allergies This Spring

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by Dr. Andrew Jones

dog running through yellow flowersDog allergies are one of the most common conditions affecting dogs. Dog allergies can be very frustrating for both yourself and your dog. The constant itching and scratching, paw licking and chewing, skin rashes or chronic ear infections can make life very unpleasant.

Dogs allergies become noticeable when your dog’s immune system reacts excessively to substances (called allergens or antigens) to which she has been exposed. Generally, allergies show up in three ways. The most common is with the skin – your dog will itch and scratch either in one area or all over, or you will see skin sores or lesions. Another way involves the respiratory system and your dog may cough, sneeze, and/or wheeze, and there may be an associated nasal or eye discharge. A third type of allergic reaction involves the digestive system, when your dog vomits or has diarrhea.

There are several types of dog allergies. Conventionally, Veterinarians focus on five different types, but I have grouped them into three areas – these are the most common allergies you will see with your dog. The first is external allergies, and these include flea allergies; the second allergy group is with food; and the third is environmental, and this includes inhalant, from allergens such as pollens and house dust mites.

Dog allergies can be difficult to diagnose. Many of the symptoms you may see can be a result of allergies or of another illness. It is best to get your pet examined by your Veterinarian first, before trying any home or alternative treatments.

If you know or suspect your dog has an allergy, you do have options. There are conventional ways to treat allergies that your Veterinarian will discuss, but I would like to focus on alternative methods in this article. In my book, Veterinary Secrets Revealed (available at veterinarysecretsrevealed . com), I focus on alternative home treatments for dogs and cats. Here are a few of the solutions you can try at home that I recommend for dog allergies.

For Fleas – here is an obvious solution: eliminate the Fleas! Practice regular flea-control. Two natural ways to battle fleas include using aromatic herbs, such as Pennyroyal and Catnip, and Chinchilla Dust (“diatomaceous earth” – but make sure this is the type meant for pets).

If you suspect that your pet is allergic to something in their diet, the first step is to stop all traditional treats (i.e. – milk bones) and table scraps. If your dog is still reacting after 3 weeks, then she may be allergic to her regular food. At this point, try the elimination diet. This means chancing your dog’s food to an entirely different type which she has never eaten before.

The most important part is a unique protein source. There are a number of commercially available allergy diets for pets – one that I prefer for dogs is Fish and Potato. For cats, it can be more difficult, but one I have had luck with has duck as the protein source. The difficulty is that your dog can be allergic to anything in the food. Regardless, I highly advocate a more natural, simple diet that is naturally preserved, or a home-made diet. See my book or join my membership site, TheOnlineVet.com, for a choice of allergy diets.

Whatever food you choose, it must be fed for 12 weeks. If after 12 weeks your pet it still scratching, then she probably doesn’t have a food allergy.

With environmental allergies, dogs can react in a way that is very similar way that we as humans do. One way to help deal with an allergy to pollen and/or house dust mites is to purchase an air purifier for your home.

For itchy skin, try an oatmeal shampoo bath with cool water – this can ease the itchiest skin. Leave the shampoo on for 10 minutes then rinse well. With the most severe allergies, bathe your pet twice weekly. Also, Calendula ointment (herbal medication) has been successfully used to relieve the itch. Apply a thin coat twice daily to affected areas.

There are many herbal solutions for allergies. Phytopica, a combination of 10 different Chinese herbs, has been shown to be effective in scientific studies in decreasing the severity of itching. Xiao Feng San is a common Chinese herbal combination useful for atopic dermatitis (allergy to inhalants). The dose is 1/8 of a teaspoon per 10lbs of body weight daily.

I hope you have found this article helpful. If you would like natural, holistic solutions for many common dog or cat health problems, visit my site at Veterinary Secrets Revealed.

To your pet’s good health…


Dr. Andrew Jones, a practicing Veterinarian, has a special interest in alternative, natural pet remedies. Visit his sites: VeterinarySecretsRevealed.com  and TheOnlineVet.com .

Image Credit: Janet Goulden

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About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi spent her time working in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions.

12 Comments

  1. If you have confirmed that your dog is suffering from airborne allergies then a good solution that is new to market is a liquid ioniser. Its discrete, silent and its liquidions reach out to every corner of the room to remove allergens from the air. Its goodfor humans too and you can add a light fragrance to take away your dog smells.

  2. Great information. The only comment I have is that most dogs with food-related allergies have an allergy to grains more often than the meat source. I would suggest first trying an elimination diet with the same protein the pet is used to eating without any of the common grain allergens (corn, wheat or soy). Rice seems to be a fairly rare allergen as does oatmeal so finding a diet with either of those grains as the carbohydrate source is usually okay. If after 45-60 days, the pet is still scratching and all other non-food allergens have been ruled out, switching to a unique protein and either a potato or sweet potato starch may prove appropriate. Nature’s Pet Blog

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  3. I found this product through Facebook and Twitter. I purchased it and absolutely loved it. My dog gets allergies and licks his paws terribly every Spring/Summer and I always have to resort to putting him in those silly e-collars to keep him from chewing his paws off. The Anti-Lick Strip is similar to a Bandaid with natural ingredients. I recommend these to anyone if your poor baby goes through what my baby goes through every year during this time.

  4. We found that our Labs had weak immune systems. Since they’ve been on CarnOyum their coats have improved and they’ve stopped scratching and shedding constantly; they smell better too.

  5. my dog has food allergies so the vet put her on a special hypo-allergenic dog food and since then she’s been doing much better. The only problem is that she is too thin. I talked to the vet, had her checked for parasites, but all the vet told me was to feed her more. I already give her twice what it tells me to on the bag… what should i do?

  6. Yes I agree! Dog allergies are, like humans, quite unforgiving and can impact on the quality of life. Unlike humans, dogs cannot exchange how they feel. I was fortunate to live in Thailand for some time and oh! the dogs were inflicted with many allergies particularly during the wet season. The vets I expected were kept busy.

  7. Liver enzymes icarense with food allergies.? All those inflammatory products from the gut head right for the liver. Alk Phos(268) at that level pretty normal for 8 year old dog? with sensitive gut. Vitamins and mineral supplements won’t hurt.Milk thistle good for liver , but I feel meat and veggies supply lots of healthy foods to help out also. I feed a variety of human foods in addition to the slow cooked food. Walnuts,. avocados sardines etc. So I know the variety covers the bases.

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