Seasonal Allergies and Itching
Our six-year old Border Collie cross called Reilly, has allergies. Every summer from July through to September or October he goes crazy! He licks his front legs and gets hot spots on his hind legs that he licks until they are raw and hairless.
He also scratches at his mouth until his gums swell up and sometimes bleed. Reilly also tends to throw up easily during these months. Our vet has done allergy tests and Reilly tested positive for various grasses, weeds, certain shrubs and foods.
We were advised to put him on a prescription diet of fish and potatoes from the vet, but last summer he was as bad as ever - we had to fit him with an Elizabethan collar to keep him from scratching himself raw.
Are there any natural remedies or supplements that could help poor Reilly be more comfortable this summer?
The Patrick Family
Fighting Seasonal Allergies with Seven Steps
Dear Patrick Family,
Yes, there are supplements and natural remedies you can use to help Reilly with his seasonal allergies. Without more specifics of Reilly's history, for instances:
- the onset of his problem
- medication used in the past and his reaction to that medication
- the possibility of over-vaccination
Seasonal allergies are usually inhalant or flea allergies. Food allergies are usually not seasonal and blood tests are poor indicators of the presence of food allergies. Food, however, is where you need to start.
1. Diet Change
Slowly introduce real food to Reilly's diet - homemade or raw food. As with humans diet is the foundation of good health for dogs and this is the most important thing you can do for him.
Many dogs with seasonal allergies have improved dramatically once their owners start introducing a specie specific dog food diet as Mother Nature intended. Frozen Raw Nibblets is a good place to start
Avoid feeding Reilly any foods with grains in them. Dogs are carnivores, have you ever seen a wolf or coyote eating food with grains in it.
Try different types of raw meats, even those that Reilly tested allergic to and then avoid any that appear to aggravate his condition.
Start by going completely with real food for a month or so, then reintroduce high quality Freeze-Dried or Dehydrated Food as a portion of the diet if desired.
2. Essential Fatty Acids - Omega-3,6,9
Essential Fatty Acids decrease inflammation and offer support for dogs' immune systems which in turn helps dogs like Reilly suffering with allergies. The best sources are fish, flax and coconut oils. My girls Molly and Rosie love all three and can't wait to lap any of them from a dessert spoon.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E compounds the benefits of the fish oil, and is an excellent antioxidant. 400 International Units (I.U.) per day is recommended.
You can buy Vitamin E online for Reilly as part of Multi-Vitamin Dog Chews which make excellent treats, or pure vitamin E oil which you would normally buy for yourself at a reputable health store or pharmacy.
4. Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics
Always use Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics during the transition period from processed food to raw food and consider continuing for several months while Reilly's gut heals and adjusts.
I have always fed my dogs digestive enzymes and probiotics and if Reilly was my dog I would give them to him for the rest of his life together with fresh raw meat.
5. Immune Modulation with Plant Sterols
Immune Modulation with Plant Sterols aid in proper functioning of the immune system while dampening overactive antibody responses such as allergic reactions.
These ingredients help supply nutrients that may be missing from Reilly's diet, and they make an ideal solution for him if he is in the habit of eating grass.
It is best to purchase Plant Sterols for Reilly from a reputable manufacturer of Natural Dog Products, e.g. Halo VitaGlo Daily Greens, otherwise you run the risk of getting cheap plant foods such as grains as fillers which will trigger all of his food allergies to start up again.
6. Chinese Herbs
In Traditional Chinese Medical terms Reilly is suffering from wind (itching), heat (redness), damp (oozing), and blood deficiency (dryness and poor coat) problems.
Take a look at Chinese Herbal Skin Care Products to support Reilly's system through the healing process.
7. Oatmeal Shampoo
During Reilly's worst months you may need to bathe him frequently to remove allergens from his skin and coat. Use an Oatmeal Shampoo that soothes the skin, lather him up and massage the shampoo through his coat for five minutes.
Thoroughly rinse him off and lather him up again with an Oatmeal Conditioner and once again massage it through his coat.
Use the time to reinforce bonding with Reilly and talk to him in a soothing manner to keep him calm and relaxed.