Home Remedies For Environmental Allergies In Dogs

environmental allergies in dogs

Fighting allergies in dogs can be a full-time job. And environmental allergies in dogs are even harder to avoid and manage, because the allergens can be anywhere … inside or outside the home. 

As many as 40% of dogs have allergies … and environmental allergies in dogs are the most common. They happen when your dog’s immune system overreacts to something like pollen, dust, mold or any other airborne substance. Your dog may also have allergic reactions to trees, grass and weeds. When your dog has a reaction, his antibodies mount an attack to get rid of the invaders. 

When your dog reacts to an allergen, he produces IgE antibodies. They alert the immune system that something isn’t right. They also attach to mast cells in the connective tissues. These mast cells help regulate the immune system by producing histamines to fight the allergens. This causes your dog to have redness, inflammation, itching, sneezing and irritation.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has An Environmental Allergy?

When your dog reacts to something in the environment, it’s often seasonal. And it usually takes place in the spring when molds from leaves surface or plants produce pollen. Others have reactions in the fall. There are fewer reactions during the cold of winter or summer heat. 

Dogs may start to show allergy reactions between 1 and 3 years of age. Here are some common symptoms of environmental allergies in dogs …

  • Red, runny eyes
  • Hives and inflamed skin
  • Itching and scratching
  • Loss of hair
  • Ear infections
  • Sneezing
  • Licking or chewing paws

How To Treat Environmental Allergies In Dogs

If you know your dog has a food allergy, it’s simple enough to avoid the suspect food. But it’s not that easy with environmental allergies. You can’t isolate your dog from the outdoors for an entire season!

And you want to avoid suppressive medications that stop the symptoms but do nothing to eliminate the source of the allergic reaction. Your vet may recommend allergy drugs like Atopica, Apoquel or Cytopoint that suppress your dog’s immune response. But then, your dog is more vulnerable to disease. Sometimes the side effects  can be worse than the allergy. So instead, try these alternatives that help build immunity and provide relief. 

RELATED: Read more about Apoquel for dogs …

Home Remedies For Environmental Allergies In Dogs

1. Bovine Colostrum

All mammals produce colostrum in mother’s first milk. This provides newborns with maternal antibodies until they develop their own immune systems. The excess colostrum from cows is now available to help manage your dog’s allergies.

Cows have immunity to common allergens because they have an antibody known as IgG (1). When you feed your dog colostrum, he benefits from those antibodies. Colostrum also has a substance called proline-rich polypeptide (PRP). This is an anti-inflammatory. And there’s research supporting this (2). It may also create special T-cells to stop the allergic response.

You can give your dog colostrum in a powder or a capsule. If it’s a powder, your dog can just lick it from your hand. Give 1/16 tsp per 25 lbs of body weight. Small dogs can have 1 capsule, and 2 capsules daily for medium to large dogs. 

FOUR LEAF ROVER RECOMMENDS: Bovine Colostrum from grass-fed cows. It’s rich in immune-boosting antibodies and proteins, to help promote a robust immune system. Buy Bovine Colostrum now >> 

2. Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is rich with enzymes from the bees themselves. Bees collect pollen from all kinds of different flowers. And that means it’s likely they’ve collected pollen that makes your dog itch.

When you give your dog a small amount of the pollen he’s allergic to it can desensitize him to the pollens. Here’s what to look for when buying bee pollen:

1. Pollen should come from local bees with allergens from your area. 

2. Use a small amount to start with … like one granule the first day with his food. Watch for a response. As long as there's no response, increase by a granule a day over several weeks. Eventually, you want to give 1 tsp per 30 lbs of body weight daily..

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Your dog’is constantly in contact with allergens on the ground. So itchy paws and skin are a common allergic reaction. Raw, organic apple cider vinegar can help to provide relief. Here are some ways to use apple cider vinegar to bring your dog some comfort. 

Apple Cider Vinegar Paw Bath

Keep a large bowl or bucket at the door with the following:

  • 1 part apple cider vinegar
  • 2 parts water 

When your dog comes in, soak his paws for about 5 minutes. And instead of rinsing, just dry his paws well.

Apple Cider Vinegar Itchy Skin Rinse

For itchy skin, use an apple cider vinegar rinse. Here’s what you need:

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup cooled green tea
  • 1 cup filtered water

Bathe your dog with a natural shampoo, rinse … and then use this ACV mixture. Pour all over and pat dry.

Apple Cider Vinegar Flea Spray

For flea allergies, an apple cider vinegar spray should help repel them. Here’s what you need:

  • 6 oz apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
  • 4 oz warm water

Mix everything in a small spray bottle. Use this spray weekly on your dog’s coat and underbelly. Be careful around his eyes. Also avoid open wounds as it will sting.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids help regulate the inflammatory response that causes allergies (3) … and there’s research to support this. 

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA help regulate inflammation. They’re found in cold water, oily fish. Mackerel and sardines are good choices because they’ve got a higher content of EPA and DHA. You can also use an omega 3 supplement. It’s best to avoid fish oil because it’s unstable and can go rancid. Plus it’s also environmentally unsustainable.

You want to choose a clean, sustainable source of omega-3s like green lipped mussel oil or ahiflower oil.

RELATED: Is fish oil good for dogs?  

5. Quercetin

Quercetin is a bioflavonoid with natural antihistamine compounds to stop allergic reactions without suppressing the immune system. There’s also been research into quercetin establishing that it can turn off histamine production (4). It also stops the production of inflammatory molecules and prevents itching.

Here are some fruits and vegetables that contain quercetin that you can feed to your dog: 

  • Apples (feed the skin too)
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Parsley

There are also quercetin supplements. If you use a supplement for humans, assume the dose is for a 150 lb human and adjust for your dog’s weight.

Caution: Don’t use quercetin supplements long-term. Only give it for as long as it’s needed. Don’t give quercetin to dogs with kidney disease.

6. Herbs

Here are 2 herbs with anti-allergy properties.

Nettles

Nettles contain histamines that can help protect your dog from allergens. Wear sturdy gloves when harvesting nettles so you don’t get stung! Dry them or make nettle leaf tea to add to your dog’s food. Or sauté fresh nettles with grass-fed butter or ghee to add to your dog’s food. 

  • If using a tincture: 1 drop for every 25 pounds, 2-3 times per day.
  • For tea: use 1 oz of dried nettles in a quart of filtered water. Add the herbs to boiling water, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp of cooled tea for every 25 pounds. Divide this between morning and evening and add to your dog’s food.
  • Make a compress: put tincture or tea on a clean cotton cloth and apply to the affected area. Use hot or cold.

Astragalus

Boost the immune system and relieve allergy symptoms with astragalus. You can use powder or capsules. Give 100 mg per 10 lbs of your dog’s weight per day. You can also use a tincture and drop into your dog’s food. 

RELATED: Read about more solutions for your itchy dog …

There are other things you can do to minimize environmental allergies in dogs.

How To Prevent Environmental Allergies In Dogs

Try these lifestyle changes to help reduce your dog’s environmental allergies.

  • Improve your dog’s diet and feed a whole food, raw diet to boost gut health your dog’s natural immunity.
  • Keep the air in your home allergen-free by changing the furnace filter often. 
  • Avoid cleaning or vacuuming around your dog as these activities stir up dust. 
  • Wipe down your dog with a damp cloth to remove allergens he may have picked up … especially after walks or being outdoors. 
  • Use non-toxic and natural cleaning products. 
  • Test your house for mold and get it removed – mold is harmful to everyone in your home.

These tips and remedies can help alleviate the discomfort of environmental allergies … but they’re also common sense solutions in this toxic world.

References: 

1. Hurley WL, Theil PK. Perspectives on immunoglobulins in colostrum and milk. Nutrients. 2011;3(4):442-474.

2. A M Keech. Peptide Immunotherapy: The Use of Bovine Colostrum Proline-Rich Polypeptides in Cytokine Modulation for the Alternative Relief of Allergic Symptoms. J Allergy Clinical Immunology, Vol 119, Issue 1, Supplement S260, January 1 2007.

3. Mueller RS et al. Effect of omega-3 fatty acids on canine atopic dermatitis. J Small Anim Pract. 2004 Jun;45(6):293-7.

4. Mlcek J, Jurikova T, Skrovankova S, Sochor J. Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response. Molecules. 2016 May 12;21(5):623. 


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