Dog Allergy Symptoms And Natural Solutions

Dog Allergy Symptoms And Natural Solutions

Is your dog suffering from itchy skin, goopy eyes, or stinky ears?

If he is, then your dog may have an allergy to something in his food or environment. Allergies in dogs are all too common, and they can be hard to manage.

The good news is, there are several effective natural solutions available to help with dog allergy symptoms. And you can avoid giving your dog allergy drugs that can do more harm than good.

First, how can you tell your dog has allergies?

Signs Of Allergies In Dogs

These are some common signs of allergies in dogs.

  • Itchy skin
  • Itchy ears, chronic ear infections
  • Red or inflamed skin, hives
  • Swelling round the face, ears, lips or eyes
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • GI symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Excessive licking

Those are some general symptoms of allergies in dogs. But you may see more specific signs, depending on the type of allergy your dog has.

Signs Of Food Allergies In Dogs

Food allergies are usually a little different from other allergies. In fact, most food "allergies" are not true allergies ... meaning an immune system reaction that can be severe. Often, when people think their dog has food allergies, their dog is more likely to have a food sensitivity or intolerance.

Allergies Vs Sensitivities
True allergies usually lead to immediate, more severe symptoms ... things like facial swelling or hives, or more severe gastrointestinal problems. But food sensitivities are usually a slow-developing reaction to an ingredient or substance in your dog’s food. Often dogs can develop an intolerance or sensitivity to a protein like chicken, beef, or eggs, for example. And you may not see a reaction as soon as your dog eats the food. It could be several hours or even days later.

Signs of food sensitivities include

  • Gi symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting
  • Skin symptoms like itching
  • Poor coat
  • Chronic ear infections

With food intolerances, you'll need to experiment with different foods ... and be patient, because again, these intolerances may not show up right away.

Common food sensitivities 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
  •  Genetically Modified (GMO) foods – soy, alfalfa, corn, zucchini, yellow squash, canola, beets, milk, papaya

It's a good idea to ask a holistic vet for help in narrowing down the cause of your dog's food sensitivity. If your dog eats kibble, it's a really good start to switch to a raw or home cooked diet. This will help him avoid some of the likely intolerances listed above. Your dog could be reacting to the additives, grains and artificial ingredients in his food.

Signs Of Environmental Allergies In Dogs

Seasonal or environmental allergies are usually an immune system reaction to a substance in your dog's environment. If it's seasonal, it could be something like tree or plant pollens. Or, it could be something in your home like mold or dust.

Some common signs of environmental allergies are ...

  • Itchy paws
  • Redness between the toes
  • Inflamed skin in places like the muzzle, paws, armpits, groin
  • Respiratory symptoms like sneezing, runny nose or coughing

Seasonal allergies will be easy to recognize as they'll only happen at certain times of year. But if your dog has year-round symptoms, he could be allergic to something that's in your home. If that's the case, you can help improve the air quality in your home by changing furnace filters often. Have your home checked for pollutants like mold. (Mold is toxic for everyone in your home, so it's important to get it removed professionally.)

Signs Of Flea Allergy In Dogs

Some dogs are highly allergic to flea saliva. This means that just one or two flea bites can cause flea allergy dermatitis.

Dogs with flea allergy dermatitis will show some of these symptoms ...

  • Extreme itchiness
  • Especially itchy at the base of the tail
  • Flea "dirt" near the base of the tail
  • Red or inflamed skin
  • Scabbiness on the skin

And you may see fleas on your dog, of course. You'll need to work hard to get rid of fleas on your dog as well as in your home and yard. Read more at the link below.

RELATED: Find out about natural flea treatments for dogs ...

Other Dog Allergy Symptoms

The dog allergy symptoms listed above are some more obvious, recognizable symptoms ...

But there are some other signs your dog may have allergies ... and they're not quite as clear.

Chronic Ear Infections
Ear infections can be uncomfortable and painful for your dog. And when they keep happening repeatedly, it can get really frustrating. Sometimes they can be due to yeast, ear mites or swimmer's ear.

But if you've ruled out these common causes and treated the ear infection ... and it keeps coming back, your dog may have ear problems due to allergies.

Red Nail Beds 
Red nail beds are easy to see if your dog has white nails, but not quite as clear in dark nailed dogs. In either case, the nails will be light pink near the base of the nail. Sometimes this area will change color and have a reddish tinge to it. Then it can appear as blood-red, brownish red or bronze colored. The nails may also be sensitive, or your dog may be licking them a lot.

This discoloration is a sign of an immune response showing something is wrong. First you'll want to rule out a thyroid disorder or a foot injury. But otherwise, these symptoms can be a telltale sign of allergies.

Skin Discoloration
In some dogs, especially light-colored dogs, you may notice inflamed skin around the lips, jowls or toes, with a bronze or pink color. If your dog doesn't have a yeast infection or sunburn, it could be a sign of allergies.

Irritated Eyes
If you see your dog pawing at his eyes, or he has goopy discharge or watery eyes, these can be signs of allergies.

But be sure to rule out an eye injury. See your vet if necessary, because some eye injuries need medical attention.

Natural Remedies For Dogs With Allergies

Conventional allergy treatments include drugs like Apoquel. These may work in the short term ... but allergies will often return. And allergy drugs have some serious side effects, because they work by suppressing part of your dog's immune system. This leaves him vulnerable to other disease.

Luckily there are some effective 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, its anti-inflammatory properties also help reduce allergy symptoms. Give 1/16 tsp powdered colostrum per 25 lbs of body weight daily.

2. Bee Pollen 

If your dog is allergic to pollen in his environment, giving him small doses of bee pollen can help desensitize him. But you'll need to make sure you buy local bee pollen so it contains the pollens that cause your dog's allergies. Start dosing with one or two grains mixed with food, and gradually increase until you're giving 1 tsp per 30 lbs of your dog's weight per day.

3. Herbs

Many herbs have anti-allergy properties ... such as nettles and astragalus. These herbs boost immunity and histamines to reduce allergy symptoms. You can make a tea using 1 oz of herb in a quart of filtered water. Boil the water, add the herbs, then cover it and let it steep for 30 minutes. Give 1 Tbsp of cooled tea daily for every 25 lbs of your dog's weight with meals.

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 (canned are OK).

Or you can give an omega-3 supplement. While you may think of fish oil for omega-3s, there are good reasons to avoid it. Fish oil is very unstable and turns rancid easily. Fish oil production is also harmful to the ocean environment because of the large quantities of fish harvested. Instead, choose oils like green lipped mussel oil or ahiflower oil. These are sustainably grown, so they're safer options for your dog and the environment.

RELATED: Read about the best omega-3 fatty acids for dogs ...

5. Quercetin 

Quercetin is known as Nature’s Benadryl because it's so effective for allergies. It has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.

Adding quercetin rich foods, like apples (including the skin) and berries to your dog’s diet can reduce his reaction to allergens and ease symptoms. You can also buy quercetin supplements. If it's packaged for humans, assume the dose is for a 150 lb person and adjust for your dog's weight.

6. Medicinal Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain a substance called beta-glucan that can support your dog’s immune response to allergens and help prevent reactions. 

You can feed your dog whole mushrooms (be sure to cook them as raw mushrooms are indigestible). Or give a mushroom supplement ... but make sure you buy a supplement that contains the whole mushroom, not just mycelium (which is only part of the mushroom). Whole mushrooms are higher in beta glucans and much more effective for your dog.

Give a product made for dogs and follow the recommended dosing. Or again give a human supplement with dosing for 150 lb person and adjust for your dog's weight.

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Allergies can be frustrating. But with the right tools, you can help reduce (and even prevent) the pain and discomfort your dog experiences.


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