What if your dog has allergies? What should you do?
There are several ways to treat dogs who suffer from allergies. If your dog suffers from seasonal allergies, try using antihistamines or cortisone creams. For persistent allergies, there are also prescription medications such as steroids.
However, these treatments aren’t always effective. There are other options available for treating canine allergies. These include natural remedies, homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, and herbal medicine.
Types of Allergies in Dogs
Acute Allergic Reactions
Allergic reactions to food are the most common type of allergy seen in dogs. They can be caused by a number of different foods, including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. The allergic reaction is usually an immediate response that causes swelling around the mouth and eyes. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and excessive salivation. In some cases, the symptoms will last longer than 24 hours.
Allergic reactions to flea bites occur when the dog’s immune system mistakes the bite itself as a foreign invader. This results in inflammation and itching at the site of the bite. Flea-bite allergies tend to be more severe than food allergies because they cause a much greater inflammatory reaction.
Dogs with skin allergies often have itchy, red, scaly patches on their skin. Itching occurs when the dog’s immune cells release histamine into the bloodstream. Histamine then travels through the blood vessels to the surface of the skin where it stimulates nerve endings. When this happens, the dog feels pain and itchiness. Skin allergies are very common in puppies. However, they can affect any breed of dog.
The term “food allergy” refers to a condition in which a dog develops an adverse reaction after eating a particular food. Food allergies are less common than skin allergies or flea allergies but still affect about 10 percent of all dogs. Most commonly, dogs develop food allergies after being fed certain types of commercial pet foods.
If your dog has a history of developing food allergies, make sure he doesn’t eat anything new until his body has had time to adjust to the change. Also, avoid feeding him table scraps. Instead, feed him only dry kibble made specifically for dogs.
Chronic Allergic Reactions
Some dogs develop chronic allergies over time. These allergies generally don’t respond well to treatment. Some of the conditions that cause chronic allergies include:
- Chronic ear infections
- Chronic digestive problems
- Chronic skin disorders
- Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function)
If your dog experiences any of the following symptoms, he may have an allergy:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Red, itchy skin
Treating Allergies in Dogs
Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine that uses extremely diluted substances called medicines. A small amount of the substance is used to treat a larger dose of the same substance. For example, one drop of belladonna might be mixed with 20 drops of water. Homeopathic remedies work by stimulating the body’s own healing mechanisms. Homeopathic treatments are safe and effective for treating many health issues in cats and dogs.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), also known as acupuncture, is based on the belief that there are energy pathways throughout the body called meridians. Each organ or part of the body corresponds to a specific point along these meridians. By inserting needles at these points, TCM practitioners believe that they can balance the flow of energy within the body. In addition, they believe that the insertion of needles at different points will stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Many herbal products are available for use in pets. Many herbs are derived from plants native to North America. Others are imported from other parts of the world. The most popular herbs used to treat ailments in dogs include:
- Licorice root
- Oregon grape root
- St John’s wort
Most prescription medications are not recommended for use in pets unless prescribed by a veterinarian. If you’re unsure whether a medication is safe for your pet, ask your vet first. He’ll be able to tell you what side effects are possible and help you decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
How to Treat Your Dog’s Allergies Naturally
- Keep your dog indoors during pollen season. Pollen can cause severe breathing difficulties in some dogs.
- Avoid foods that contain wheat or dairy products. Wheat and milk can trigger allergic reactions in many dogs.
- Wash your hands frequently. Make sure you wash your hands before touching your dog. Also, keep your pets away from people who might be sick.
- Use a humidifier. Humidifiers can help prevent dry airways and reduce coughing.
- Clean your house regularly. Dust mites thrive in dirty carpeting and mattresses.
- Feed your dog a hypoallergenic diet. Some commercial diets are made with ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction in your dog.
- Give your dog probiotics. Probiotics can help maintain a healthy gut flora.
- Exercise your dog daily. Regular exercise keeps your dog fit and reduces stress.
- Get regular veterinary care. If your dog develops chronic health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, liver disease, cancer, or seizures, these conditions may worsen due to your dog’s immune response to allergens.
- Don’t give your dog antibiotics unless prescribed by your veterinarian. Antibiotics can weaken your dog’s immune system and increase the risk of developing a life-threatening infection.
- Reduce environmental triggers. Eliminate dust and dander from your home. Remove carpets and rugs. Clean your bedding and vacuum regularly.
- Consider using natural remedies. Natural remedies include herbal teas, essential oils, colloidal silver, and garlic.
- Be patient. An allergic reaction takes time to develop. Most dogs don’t show signs of allergies until they’re older.
Natural Remedies for Allergies in Dogs
- Garlic is an excellent remedy for dogs with allergies because it contains allicin which can help reduce inflammation. It may be used alone or combined with other herbs.
- Eucalyptus oil is another great option for treating allergies in dogs. The essential oils found in eucalyptus have a calming effect on the body. This makes them useful for relieving anxiety and stress. You can use this herb by itself or combine it with other herbs.
- Aloe vera is one of the most popular natural remedies for allergies in dogs. Its soothing properties make it ideal for relieving itching and redness caused by allergic reactions.
- Chamomile tea is another wonderful alternative for treating allergies in dogs that works well for both adults and puppies. It helps calm down the nervous system and relaxes the muscles.
- Ginger is another herb that’s known for its ability to relieve nausea and vomiting. It’s also very good at easing stomach aches and indigestion. Try adding ginger to your dog’s food to see if it improves his appetite.
- Rosemary is a powerful herb that’s often recommended for treating respiratory problems. It’s also said to improve circulation and boost energy levels.
- Lavender is thought to ease anxiety and stress. It’s also believed to promote sleep and relaxation. Add lavender to your pillowcase so your pet will benefit while he sleeps.
- Peppermint is another herb that’s commonly used to relieve digestive issues and upset tummies. Adding peppermint leaves to your dog’s water bowl can also help him feel more comfortable when drinking.