Allergies In Dogs
Allergies should be considered a national epidemic! How many pet owners talk about their dog’s skin issues!? It is one of the number one causes of a trip to the vet.
- constant licking and scratching
- itchy, runny eyes
- chronic ear infections
- scabs and the all too common, ‘hot spots’
- runny, soft stools
- chewing paws
- itchy back and base of tail(common in flea allergies)
- dull coat, scaly skin, excessive shedding
What causes allergies?
This is an immune system reaction to any common protein. The body sees these as dangerous and produces a series of chemicals to neutralize the perceived threat. Histamines cause the runny eyes and skin reactions common in allergic reactions. Some allergies can even be life threatening as airways close down and the throat tightens. Even small amounts of allergens can cause dramatic reactions in the body. The whole body responds to allergens, not just the skin. Effects can be seen in the lungs, blood vessels and the digestive tract.
Only 10% of allergies are due to foods. The most common cause of allergies in dogs is fleas, followed by inhaled allergens and contact dermatitis. Allergies can be seasonal and happen at any age.
Common allergies are to:
- tree, grass, weed pollen
- mold spores
- dust and dust mites
- cigarette smoke
- cleaning supplies
- fabrics, plastics and rubber
If your dog is experiencing irritable bowel disease, chronic burping and or a noisy tummy along with chronic skin, ear or foot infections, the chances are he is suffering from a food intolerance, not an allergy. Food intolerances happen in the gut only but effect the way nutrients are absorbed in the body. It is not an immune system event. Intolerances can develop over time and are not as immediate as true allergic responses.
The skin, lungs and kidneys are the major detoxifying organs in the body. If the body is exposed to a variety of toxins, it becomes overwhelmed and out of balance. The immune system over reacts to common proteins and symptoms develop. This is why allergies can effect the whole body.
So the number one thing we can do is to keep the body in balance and prevent overtaxing our defense systems.
- Avoid over vaccination
- Keep pets off freshly mowed or fertilized lawns
- Rinse feet off after playing in grass
- Vaccume rugs and floors
- Change air filters regularly
- Bathe regularly with oatmeal or aloe, chemical free shampoos
- Comb and brush to remove dust and pollen
- Keep water dishes and bowls clean – do not use plastic feeding or water bowls!
- Limit exposure to antibiotics, steroids and antihistamines
Help from the inside:
Although some foods can be a trigger in a small percentage of allergies, a good diet helps build and balance the immune system so that it can be effective in managing allergens.
Feed a diet of anti-oxidant rich fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. Kibble is dehydrating and hard for the kidneys and liver to process. It also dries out the skin. Most commercial dog foods are loaded with chemical preservatives, colors and other artificial ingredients.
Add omega 3 fatty acids to help decrease inflammation. Commercial foods are cooked at high temperatures which destroy these healthy fatty acids.
A whole food based diet is easier to digest and contains a natural source of vitamins and minerals. These foods help keep the body clean on the inside and prevent chronic inflammation to stress the immune system.
Health always comes from the inside out. Keep the body in balance and reduce your trips to the vet!
As a chiropractor for both people and animals, I have a unique perspective on health and healing. Health is not merely an absence of symptoms. Covering symptoms with drugs and lotions, only drives disease deeper. You wouldn’t spray paint over your oil light indicator in your car, why cover allergy symptoms with drugs and medications. Help your dog’s body be as truly healthy as it can be by feeding a diet rich in natural, unprocessed foods and keeping his environment clean and free of chemicals and drugs.
Watch your dog’s skin bloom with proper care on the inside and on the outside!