You have no doubt known someone who has suffered from seasonal allergies or an allergic reaction to a certain substance. Maybe you have experienced allergies of some type in the past.
But did you know that dogs can have allergies too? Of course, it’s a bit more difficult to tell when your pup is suffering, since she can’t blow her nose or tell you how badly her eyes itch.
Read on to learn what types of allergies can affect dogs, how to recognize the signs and symptoms, and what remedies for dog allergies are worth trying.
Just as in humans, allergies in dogs occur when their immune system has an adverse reaction to something. These irritants can be a bee sting or insect bite, airborne allergens such as pollen, molds, fungus, and house dust, or a component of a food.
One of the most common problems in dogs is allergic dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin. You might know it better as simply “flea bites.” There’s something in the saliva of the fleas that causes your dog to itch. If you’ve ever had bites from fleas or even from mosquitos, you know what it feels like — and how miserable it can make you.
This is also one of the easiest allergies to treat, although it involves prevention rather than a cure. Keep the fleas from biting your dog by using a topical product recommended by a veterinarian. Or you can make your own all-natural anti-flea spray from essential oils.
Of course, many of these symptoms can be signs of other issues, as well. Before you start treating your pooch for an allergy, it’s best to rule out more serious problems. A visit to your vet is never a bad idea.
And if your dog is experiencing allergies, the veterinarian can confirm this and recommend some treatments.
Now that we have gotten a glimpse into underlying causes of allergies that can affect dogs, let’s take a look at the options for treatment.
There a few routes you can take when it comes to selecting a treatment for your pupper’s allergy problem. It depends on the particular allergy in question, as well as your overall lifestyle and your opinions on holistic vs. western medicine. You may also end up trying a combination of these remedies or find that a multi-pronged approach works best for you and your dog.
Unless the veterinarian that you visit is a holistic practitioner, the first line of attack against allergies that he or she might suggest is probably going to be corticosteroids. Two of the most widely used are cortisone and prednisone.
These steroid treatments are effective, and they work quickly to provide your pup relief from itchiness. They are also inexpensive and easy to obtain.
For short-term use, most vets and dog owners consider them relatively safe. So if your dog has just gotten himself mixed up with some short-term environmental allergens, you might weigh the pros and cons and decide to go this route.
However, it’s good to know that steroids can have some serious side effects, and prolonged usage isn’t recommended for a number of reasons.
Much like acupuncture, acupressure is a non-invasive method of treating not just allergies in dogs, but all sorts of other ailments. It was developed thousands of years ago as a component of Chinese medicine.
Acupressure uses precise pressure and placement of the fingers and thumbs, along specific points along the dog’s body. It is safe and painless, but you will want to consult an acupressure practitioner who specializes in the treatment of animals.
Do you have an aloe vera plant in your home? If so, you probably know that it soothes minor burns. But did you also know that it stimulates the immune system? That makes it good for treating other skin ailments, like rashes, hot spots, or itchy patches. This goes for dogs as well as for people!
To use aloe directly from the plant, simply break off a mature, lower leaf and apply the gel inside to the affected area. Make sure not to let your canine companion chew on the entire leaf, however. The outside contains some components that could be harmful.
It’s also easy and perhaps handier to simply invest in a bottle of aloe vera gel. Don’t get the kind that’s marketed for sunburn relief. Those may have added fragrance and color that might further irritate Fido’s skin. Instead, make sure to find pure, organic aloe vera gel.
You might be familiar with thyme from that great roast chicken recipe your friend served at her last dinner party. Or you may simply know it from the Simon and Garfunkel song! Now it’s time to become acquainted with it as an allergy remedy for dogs.
Thyme is an herb that not only makes food taste delicious, but that also contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antifungal properties. Because of all these benefits, thyme is a great treatment for skin and even yeast infections.
If your dog seems to be licking or chewing at their paws, she might have some type of infection or allergic reaction hiding in between her toes. Its’ a common spot for such problems.
Make an infusion of thyme and apply it to the area. You might want to see if she will let you soak her paws in this thyme-infused foot bath — lots of treats and pets will make her feel like she’s at the spa!
CBD oil seems to be the new panacea — is there anything it can’t treat? There are increasing amounts of scientific and anecdotal evidence that products derived from cannabis, including CBD (which, unlike THC, is non-psychotropic) can be extremely helpful for animals and humans alike.
These products can alleviate anxiety and depression, manage pain, help with nausea and digestive issues, and address the itching and other symptoms of allergies, both canine and human.
Wondering how to use CBD for dogs with allergies? There are a couple of different methods. You can buy products like dog treats that contain CBD, give your furry friend a tincture, or apply a topical ointment or salve. Which option you choose will depend on the allergy site and severity, as well as your dog’s temperament.
Licorice root — yep, the same stuff used to make the chewy black candy — is sometimes called “nature’s cortisone.” Except licorice doesn’t come with the adverse effects that long-term corticosteroid use can cause. Holistic practitioners, therefore, love its anti-inflammatory effects.
In addition to providing relief from allergies and atopic dermatitis, licorice can help with a number of other canine health conditions, including:
Licorice root is also fast-acting and highly effective. It’s highly safe for most dogs, but of course, you should check with your vet before giving it. The best part? It’s a sweet-tasting herb that dogs usually enjoy.
Chances are you have a bottle of apple cider vinegar hanging out somewhere in the kitchen cabinet. Well, dig it out and put it to good use battling some of the environmental issues that are bothering your dog.
Apple cider vinegar can be used to rinse the pollen — a notorious allergen — from your dog’s’ paws after a spell outdoors. And it will help ease any rashes and itches that accumulate between her toes, just like the thyme infusion we discussed earlier.
While it’s not appropriate for open wounds or bites, you can spray it onto a dog’s itchy skin spots to provide some relief.
You cherish your dog’s companionship and unconditional love — and you would do whatever it took to help her feel her best. This includes researching the pros and cons of both conventional and complementary treatments for issues like allergies.
Whether your pooch is scratching because of flea bites, or suffering from airborne allergens like pollen, mold, or dust, you have a number of remedies for dog allergies to try. A combination of approaches might be best for you: say, a short-term course of corticosteroids combined with an apple cider vinegar paw rinse and some CBD oil for extra TLC.
Do you have allergies, or do you share your home with a pet who does? We’d love to hear about your experiences treating allergies, so leave a comment below!
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