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Understanding Pet Allergies and Treating Them Holistically

By Donna Stanley
In August 20, 2015
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Skin and coat issues due to allergies are one of the greatest complaints that veterinarians see in their practices every day. They are the most annoying, and unfortunately, the least responsive to pharmaceutical treatment. Allergies can wear both you and your pet out! But many times the treatment is merely putting a “band aid” on the problem and not treating the root cause, therefore the problems keep returning. Fortunately, holistic veterinarians have a new modality to deal with these issues in the form of essential oils. Not only is the treatment effective, but it is fast-acting, thorough, and long-term with zero side effects. Instead, your pet will experience bonus side benefits!

Allergies can present as a variety of symptoms, but in the dog, the most common symptoms occur as skin irritations resulting in itching, scratching, digging, and gnawing at the skin. Chronic ear infections are another common symptom. Occasionally dogs will have respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or a nasal or ocular discharge. Food allergies may produce, in addition to skin irritations, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Symptoms can extend to even include seizures. And many holistic vets feel that allergies can ultimately result in chronic diseases such as arthritis, asthma, chronic urinary tract infections, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.

Dog Allergy Symptom Chart

Allergies and/or skin issues usually stem from the following:

  1. Environmental Allergy
  2. Bacterial/Viral/Fungal Infections
  3. Flea Allergy
  4. Food Allergy
  5. Parasitic Allergy

Environment Allergy:

These types of allergic reactions can either be related to harsh chemicals found in the outside environment (grass, pollen, etc), or to fabrics, household detergents, or cleaning chemicals.

Sometimes it takes one season of “allergies” to pollens for a pet to grow immunity to them (I see this often the first Spring with a new pup). Some pets react to these outside allergens long term, therefore, the only solution is to treat the root cause: Strengthening the immune system! I usually recommend a daily supplement with super antioxidants to keep your pets immunes system up. I recommend using a supplement such as NuVet Plus (Canine or Feline) in this situation. This is treating the root cause.

In a nutshell, an allergy is the result of an immune system that has, for one reason or another, turned against itself. Sometimes, this reaction seems instantaneous, as when a dog receives a food that contains something to which he is allergic, and he breaks out almost immediately with a rash or itchy skin.
We know there can possibly be a genetically derived propensity for developing allergies, but of course, there’s not much you can do about this after your dog’s allergies have already begun to surface. And in my experience of breeding dogs for almost 30 years, most allergies are solved simply through diet alone. I see it time and time again.

If your pet is exhibiting external signs of allergic reactions to environmental allergies, you must spot treat as well, to alleviate the discomfort and irritation it is causing for your pet. This is where a topical treatment like our Allergy Formula comes to the rescue. It may be caused by detergents, cleansers, lawn chemicals or such.

You can also begin to replace your household cleaners with all natural products and replace them with products that contain no harmful chemicals.
For instance:
• Clean floors and surfaces with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water.
• Wash pets bedding or clothing in a gentle blend like our All Natural Pet Shampoo which can double as a cleaning agent in the home, and as a detergent (hand wash is recommended)
• Also consider replacing harsh chemical prescription flea/tick medications and replace them with our Flea and Tick Formula. Many pets have horrible reactions to spot on treatments and break out in rashes, exhibit raw skin wounds, or suffer harm to the liver and other organs. When the body is working overtime, month after month, try to cleanse out the harsh chemicals found in the Rx flea/tick medications. The immune system can be compromised, and this sometimes will manifest in either outer or inner allergic reactions or organ dysfunction.

Bacterial/Viral/Fungal Infections:

The above infections usually manifest through coat and skin as well, as well as the ears. Traditional medicine can throw all kinds of creams, steroids, and antibiotics at the issue, only to find that these medications encourage MORE bacterial growth… not only on the skin itself but in the gut. A healthy balance of good gut flora shows itself externally as well, and then you have a vicious cycle. And now you are out lots of money as your veterinarian experiments with treatments on your pet at YOUR expense. Consider a dog food that contains guaranteed live Probiotics and Prebiotics such as the Life’s Abundance All Life Stage Formula
Essential oils, like in our Allergy Formula, target bacterial infections, fungal infections, and yeast, topically. (Click here to read article “Yeast and Your Dog”)

Food Allergy:

Again, as we talk about skin manifestations of allergies, we must focus again on the internal health of our pets. If not fed species-appropriate food, and foods that are not laced with colors, additives, and inflammatory ingredients, not only will they keep exhibiting external issues, but also symptoms such as flatulence, vomiting, or diarrhea. It’s very important to make sure your pet is being fed a food that is always replacing the gut with good healthy flora, and also essential fatty acids that are absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy coat and healthy skin. We recommend using Life’s Abundance Grain-Free All Life Stages food, as well as their kibble diet for Felines as well, packed with healthy ingredients to ensure your pet is healthy from the inside out.

Also, consider exploring species appropriate raw diet. Click here to read more about this and watch an outstanding video, by holistic veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker:

Flea Allergy:

Honestly, my opinion on this subject is pretty simple. Eliminate the fleas, eliminate the irritation, and this allergy is absolutely obliterated.

See our Flea and Tick Formula (consider taking your pet off of the Rx Flea/Tick medications, as the medication itself may be causing the irritation!!!).

Furthermore, consider our Flea and Tick Bundle. Add the Allergy Formula to eliminate the itching, biting and irritation on the skin surface. I know it sounds simple, but it truly is. When you get out of the thinking that conventional medicine limits you to, you open yourself to a whole world of possibilities! This is a true HOLISTIC approach to health.

A perfect example is me! I had eczema suddenly appear at age 47–never had it my entire life. I went from doctor to doctor, dozens of creams… then one day it hit me: “If I were one of my dogs, I’d add fish oils (Essential fatty acids) to their diet and go paleo!” I did that, and in 3 days, the rash was gone and has never returned! And all this after 8 months of traditional medicine failing me time and time again. It was trying to treat the symptoms, but never the root cause! It ended up being an inflammatory reaction to glutten!

Parasitic Allergy:

The most common parasites that come to mind are mites. These sometimes appear in animals that are exposed to barn swallows or other environments where these may be present, such as areas where there are many farm animals.

Another form of topical parasite that can manifest, is Demodectic Mange. Now, don’t panic. “Mange” usually conjures up ideas of some sickly, hopeless dog that has no cure. Demodectic mange is merely a compromised immune system allowing the parasites that naturally live on your pet (AND YOU, by the way… which is why people with autoimmune disorders often develop skin lesions) to multiply and thrive. It’s the same with animals. Treat the parasite topically with our Flea and Tick or Allergy Formula, and then build the immune system with a good antioxidant-rich supplement, like the NuVet Plus.

Please don’t think I am over-simplifying things… but after 30 years with dogs and pets, I have seen a holistic approach make total sense. If all vets practiced the concept of appropriating a holistic and nutritional approach, they would lose a lot of money… I’m just being upfront and honest with you. Most vets do not get sufficient training and education in nutrition. Anything else they know is fed to them by the commercial dog food companies.

A holistic approach to allergies makes it clear that external symptoms are merely an outer manifestation of something going wrong internally. This is contrary to the conventional Western medicine way of thinking in which, often, only the symptoms are attacked, with little or no concern for the underlying cause.

There is a certain amount of discipline involved with setting aside the obvious skin condition for a time while you change diets and add supplements; thinking in terms of whole-body, long-term effects of whatever therapies you will use in the future. Not everyone has the time, patience, or forbearance to go through a holistic protocol for treating allergies, and it’s a waste of time for everyone concerned to try to force a holistic protocol on someone who only wants a quick fix. If you are reading this, I would assume, you’ve probably been through traditional “quick fixes” and they have failed you.
Perhaps the most important concept to be clear with here is that Western medicine’s way of diagnosis (and its philosophy of treatment) is very different from alternative medicine’s methods. When a Western-trained practitioner sees an allergic animal, he immediately visualizes the biochemical symbols that are running amok, and his plan of attack is to use chemicals to block the out-of-control biochemical reactions. Usually, his only choice is pharmaceuticals or surgery.

Treatment Summary

My general treatment protocol for allergies, then, would look something like this:
• Reduce the flea populations on and around the dog.
• Reduce the potential for food allergies by improving the quality of the food, and at the same time . . .
• Enhance the immune system with high-quality food and nutritional supplements.
• Don’t challenge the immune system excessively – with any vaccines that are less than absolutely necessary, for example.
• Reduce environmental causes of allergy – airborne smoke and dust particles, for example. Air quality is important in preventing the passage of allergens through the air. If your dog (or anyone else in the family) has allergies, consider using a quality household air filter.
• Whenever possible, use methods that enhance the animal’s innate ability to balance its own immune system and use methods that are the most natural and have the least potential for toxicity.

I realize this is a very long post, but the issue of allergies is not a quick and easy topic to cover and is multi-faceted. So thank you for hanging with me, and be sure that your pet will thank you as well!

  • sandra sharp says:

    My Maltese is due for his rabies and distemper vaccination… But we couldn’t because he had a skin infection… And redness in one of his eyes and she thought a slight ear infection on that same side… She is treating it with antibiotics and an eue and in ear medication… Little Luke is 11 years old… It’s also time for his confortis….. I just gave him his heart guard medicine a couple days ago ..and we recently changed his diet to only the Hill’s prescription diet Derm defense environmental sensitivities…… Your article makes me interested in the flea and tick and allergy oil and the vitamins….. But won’t he be oily all the time????

  • JJanessa says:

    This information is really a need for pet lovers. I found this information during surging on internet and really it is very useful for me.

    I also found a good information post on Types And Reasons of Allergies in Dogs which will also help you to give a right path to cure your pets.

    Best Regards
    JJanessa @ PetSeed

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