Allergies affect our pets as they affect us, but symptoms tend to differ. Humans deal with itchy eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Pets get itchy, scabbed skin, runny eyes, vomiting, and diarrhea. The cause of allergies in pets can be difficult to pin-point. Foods, household products, and environmental factors can all cause allergy symptoms in pets.
Allergy medicine for dogs and cats
Allergy symptoms are often due to improper immune response. As a result, many conventional allergy treatments work by suppressing immune function. A depressed immune system leaves your pet’s vulnerable to disease. Steroids and anti-allergy drugs work to reduce allergy symptoms, often only temporarily. Steroid drugs also cause the destruction of good gut bacteria. This makes allergy symptoms worse as these bacteria help to regulate immune function. It also leaves the body more susceptible to food allergies and food-borne illness. Pet foods for allergies are usually low quality or contain allergens like MSG. Increased inflammation and low nutrient levels only make allergy symptoms worse.
Common allergy symptoms in dogs and cats:
- Sneezing, coughing
- Itchy skin, eyes, ears
- Recurring ear infections
Home remedies for allergies in pets:
- The first thing to look at is your pet’s food: Common allergens include grains like corn, wheat, and rice. Chicken, beef, eggs, and dairy are often the cause of skin allergies and irritation. Home-made or raw meals tend be the best route for pets with chronic allergies. To be 100% sure of what is causing your pet’s allergies your vet can perform allergy testing.
- Healing the gut: Reducing irritation to the intestinal lining can keep allergens from entering the body. This, in turn, limits allergy symptoms and heals the gut. Supplementing with probiotics increases the number of good bacteria in the gut. These good bacteria help to regulate immune function and protect the body.
- Regulate immune response: Regulating immune function can reduce itching and calm digestive upset. Herbs can support the immune system to respond to allergens appropriately. This works to reduce irritation as well as inflammation.
- Herbs and supplements for allergies: Herbs can be used in many different ways to manage allergy symptoms. Topically herbs can reduce irritation and calm the skin. Witch hazel is astringent, apply to yeasty ears with a cotton ball to clean. An infusion of calendula is very soothing when applied to irritated skin. For quick relief of itching mix 1 part water with 1 part apple cider vinegar and rinse irritated areas. Stinging nettle is an herb that naturally lowers histamine production in the body. Supplements like quercetin and bromelain also reduce histamine levels and manage allergy response. Omega-3 supplements from cold water fish lower inflammation, histamine levels, and enhance the function of the immune system.
Managing allergy symptoms in our pets can be a full-time job. To make things easier on you and your pet it is best to first remove the allergens that are affecting your pet. A holistic or integrative vet will be able to pin-point with an allergy test what foods or chemicals are irritating your pet but can be expensive. You can do this at home for less money by doing an elimination diet for your pet. Start with different protein sources and try to limit grains as they are harder to breakdown. As an elimination diet will take longer than allergy testing you can use some of the home remedies listed above to reduce allergy symptoms and skin irritation during this process.
Dr Maggie’s Skin Care Ointment can help relieve the itching associated with allergies in pets.