Is your dog suffering from itchy skin, goopy eyes, or stinky ears?
If yes, then your dog may have an allergy to something in his food or environment.
The good news is, there are tons of great solutions available ...
… without giving your dog dangerous over the counter medications that often do more harm than good.
But before I get to that, let’s determine whether those symptoms are really an allergic reaction.
1. Dogs With Ear Infections
Ear infections can be uncomfortable and painful for our dogs. But there are many reasons they could be happening ...
- Yeast infections
- Ear mites
- Swimmers’ ear
If you have ruled out these common causes but your dog continues to suffer from …
- Stinky ears
- Black or brown build-up
- Regular head shaking
- Scratching at the infected ear
- 2 or more ear infections a year
… this may mean that he has an allergy.
Especially if the prescriptions you have been giving him only provides temporary relief. This is because they’re treating the symptoms - not the ongoing problem.
Temporary Solutions For Ear Infections
- Use a 50/50 mixture of purified water and apple cider vinegar to clean the ear
- Soak a cotton ball in witch hazel and wipe the inside of the ear to reduce inflammation
2. Dogs With Red Nail Beds
If your dog has white nails, you will see a light pink color near the base of the nail. This is the quick and is less noticeable in dark nailed dogs.
Sometimes this area will change color and have a reddish tinge to it. It can appear:
- blood red
- brown red
This discoloration is a sign that his immune response is kicking in …
… and that means something is wrong.
Other signs that his nails are bothering him are:
- the nails are sensitive to the touch
- your dog is constantly licking or itching his paws
While you will want to rule out thyroid disorders or a foot injury, these symptoms can be a telltale sign of allergies.
Temporary Solution For Inflamed Nail Beds
- Keep the space between your dog’s toes clean by wiping them with a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel
3. Dogs With Skin Discoloration
With light-colored dogs, you may notice inflamed skin around their lips, jowls or toes with a bronze or pink color.
If your dog does not have a yeast infection or sunburn, it could be a sign of allergies.
Temporary Solutions For Discoloration of Toes and Mouth
- Use a 50/50 mixture of purified water and apple cider vinegar to clean the area
- Add ¼ to ½ tsp of apple cider vinegar to their water to discourage yeast
- Avoid veterinary-grade solutions like Benzoyl Peroxide. It can dry the skin and increase irritation
4. Dogs With Itchy Skin
If your dog has:
- irritated skin
- red underbelly
- dull coat
… he may have an allergy.
No matter how many baths or over the counter allergy medications you give him, he will continue to scratch non-stop.
But, before jumping to allergies as the cause, take these steps first:
- Switch to a milder shampoo and be sure to rinse your dog thoroughly. Some shampoos are full of irritants like fragrance, artificial colors and phthalates
- Make sure your dog doesn’t have fleas
Temporary Solutions For Irritated Skin
- Apply Aloe Vera gel from the plant to the area up to 3 times per day
- Apply paste made from 1 tsp of baking soda and a few tbsps of water to the area
- Apply an oatmeal poultice made from oatmeal powder and water to dogs who do not have a grain allergy
5. Dogs With Watery Eyes
Scratching at his eyes, goopy discharge, tearing up - these can be signs of allergies.
But be sure to rule out eye injury first.
Temporary Solutions For Eye Irritation
- Use a warm, damp cloth to dab the affected area at least once per day
- Soak a chamomile tea bag in water, squeeze out the excess water and let it cool, then dab it on the area around the eye to soothe irritation
- Consider homeopathic eye drops
Natural Solutions For Dogs With Allergies
You may have noticed that I only provided temporary solutions when talking about allergy symptoms.
The reason these are temporary is that they will help with your dog’s immediate discomfort but …
… they will not solve the underlying issue.
For long-term comfort, you need a long-term solution. But first, you need to know what type of allergy they have.
There are two common types of allergies that affect dogs:
- Food allergies
- Environmental allergies
Here are ways to identify and resolve these allergies.
Allergic reactions to food will often be more persistent and continuous. Especially, if you feed the same foods regularly.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from a food allergy, you need to identify what is causing the reaction.
Common food allergens include:
- Grains - corn, wheat, rice
- Proteins - chicken, beef, eggs
- Root Vegetables - potatoes (including sweet potatoes), carrots, yams
- Legumes - peanuts, lentils, beans, peas, soy
- Dairy – milk, yogurt, cheese
- GMO Foods – soy, alfalfa, corn, zucchini, yellow squash, canola, beets, milk, papaya
There are three ways to help you determine what food your dog is allergic to:
- Switch to Raw - If you are feeding your dog kibble, consider switching to a raw diet. Your dog could be allergic to the additives, grains and artificial ingredients in his food.
- Allergy Test – you can have your dog’s saliva or blood tested to measure antibodies to common food allergens. This can be effective and time-efficient but it can also be costly.
- Elimination Diet - an elimination diet can take 4 to 6 months. It can be less costly than tests and lets you test the specific foods your dog consumes. It may also help if the food your dog is allergic to is a less common culprit.
During the diet, you will feed your dog bland foods and avoid common allergens. Once his symptoms have subsided, you will reintroduce one food each week.
If the newly added food causes any symptoms, you can permanently remove it from your dog’s diet.
The second type of allergy your dog may be suffering from is environmental allergies. This type of allergy is more common. It happens when he breathes in allergens in his environment such as:
- Dust mites
You can test your dog’s to identify allergens. But this can be invasive. And even if you identify the source, it’s unlikely you can remove it from his environment.
Symptoms of environmental allergies will often be seasonal (spring and fall). Though they can be year-round if the allergen is something in your home.
Usually, doctors will prescribe drugs like Atopica or Apoquel but …
… these often do more harm than good.
Luckily there are great natural solutions you can try.
1. Bovine Colostrum
Bovine colostrum is the first milk a cow produces after giving birth.
This milk contains antibodies that boost your dog’s immunity to common allergens.
As a bonus, it’s anti-inflammatory properties also help reduce allergy symptoms.
2. Bee Pollen
If your dog is allergic to pollen, giving him small doses can help desensitize him to its effects come allergy season.
Many herbs have anti-allergen properties such as nettles and astragalus.
They boost immunity and histamines to reduce allergy symptoms.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3’s like EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) help to regulate your dog’s inflammatory response.
Add these to your dog’s diet by feeding him cold water fish like mackerel and sardines.
You can also give him a supplement.
While your go to supplement may be fish oil, it’s not recommended. Instead choose a supplement like phytoplankton. It’s a safer option for your dog and helps the environment.
Quercetin is known as Nature’s Benadryl. This is because of its antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.
Adding quercetin rich foods, like apples, to your dog’s diet can reduce his reaction to allergens and ease symptoms.
This fibre can change your dog’s immune response to allergens to prevent reactions.
Allergies can be frustrating. But with the right tools, you can help reduce (and even prevent) the pain and discomfort your dog experiences.
And that is a solution that will make you and your dog happier.