Is your dog chewing on his/her paws for no apparent reason and scratching non-stop around their collar? Does he have watery eyes, red ears, and constant sneezing? It sounds like your buddy might have some allergies.
Just like in people, seasonal allergies can be just as uncomfortable for dogs. Unfortunately, recognizing these symptoms as allergies isn’t always apparent. Since your dog can’t exactly put into words what’s wrong with him, it’s up to you to look for the signs. So, how can you tell if your dog might be experiencing allergies? Before we tell you, let’s talk about allergies first a little.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies are sensitivities to elements found in your dog’s everyday environments – things like dust and pollen.
While these things aren’t typically fatal to dogs, their immune system may respond differently and react to an otherwise harmless substance as hazardous. Your dog’s immune system protects him from infections and illnesses; however, the immune system can be detrimental to the body when it comes to allergies.
When this happens, your dog’s immune system reacts by emitting histamines that typically cause inflammation as well as itching. Inflammation, in turn, causes the various symptoms linked to an allergic reaction.
What’s Inducing the Allergic Reaction?
Like people, many natural substances can be allergens, and every dog is allergic to different things. However, some common environmental allergens include:
- Flea saliva
Furthermore, dogs can also have food-induced allergies. If you notice any of the symptoms below, we recommend contacting your vet for a detailed examination as both food and environmental allergens cause similar symptoms.
Dog Allergy Symptoms
A clear indicator that your dog is experiencing allergies is constant scratching or biting, which often leads to redness and swelling. Here are the most common symptoms to look out for:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Hair loss
- Ear infections
- Itchy flaky skin (pruritus)
- Shaking their head and scratching one or both ears
- Smelly ears
- Licking of the paws and anus
- Patchy skin or skin bumps
Dog Skin Allergies
Skin allergies are the most common type of allergic reactions in dogs, and environmental allergens are the main culprit. The most commonly hit areas are usually the ears, paws, wrists, ankles, underarms, muzzle, groin, eyes, and between the toes. If your dog has a skin allergy, then there is a good chance that it will lead to subsequent infections. Your dog may try to lick or bite his skin, which can then make him susceptible to bacterial infections.
Allergy Medicine for Dogs
Colostrum and Dog Allergies
Colostrum is a compound naturally found in mothers’ breast milk. It plays an essential role in strengthening the newborn’s immune system and digestive tract. Colostrum is beneficial to adult animals too. Colostrum contains a component called proline-rich polypeptide (PRP).
Research reveals that PRP helps eradicate or improve symptoms of allergy. It does this by altering the immune response to certain allergens. PRP can help generate immune cells that contain and turn off the immune response. PRP can also repress immune cells that contribute to allergic reactions. Furthermore, Bovine colostrum also provides your dog with the right antibodies to common allergens.
Pet parents can find colostrum in either capsule or powdered form. How much you give your dog will vary based on several factors, such as size and age. For the best results, give it to your dog on an empty stomach or add it in some yogurt for easy delivery. Give some to your dog daily for a month, and then as needed if your dog’s allergy symptoms settle.
NOTE: Colostrum works well with environmental allergies as well as seasonal allergies.
Mushrooms and Dog Allergies
Mushrooms may help manage your dog’s allergies. Mushrooms contain a compound called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a fiber found in the cell walls of some substances, particularly mushrooms and various types of seaweed, algae, grains, and yeast.
Beta-glucans alter the immune response in allergies by adhering to specific immune cells. This changes its response and inhibits inflammation and any allergic reaction they may induce.
Furthermore, beta-glucans can also stimulate immune cells called macrophages. These macrophages then target, capture, and eliminate foreign elements like viruses.
So, when you give your dog beta-glucan, his immune cells will grow more active and stronger. If you’re getting medicinal mushrooms for your dog, make sure the formula has a certificate of analysis with a beta-glucan content of at least 30%.
NOTE: Medium-sized dogs should get roughly 400 to 500mg of mushrooms daily.
Quercetin is a phytonutrient naturally found in fruits and vegetables. It’s an antioxidant, antihistamine, and anti-inflammatory. Quercetin is often called Nature’s Benadryl because it can switch off the production of histamine.
Remember histamines? Research has shown that quercetin inhibits immune cells from discharging histamines. Quercetin can be found in foods like apples and broccoli. But for best results, consider giving your dog quercetin in a concentrated powder. Quercetin is best administered on an empty stomach. The recommended dosage is 8mg for every pound of your dog’s weight (So for a 20 lb. dog, you’d give 160 mg)
Nettles for Dog Allergies
Nettles is an herb that can help manage your dog’s allergies. The herb stimulates your dog’s body to shield itself from harmful allergens. Nettles also contain quercetin, which increases nettles’ anti-allergy effects.
You can also use a nettle tincture to help your dog and his allergies. Just give 2 drops per 10 lbs. of your dog’s body weight daily. A nettle tincture may help with symptoms such as face rubbing, watery eyes, sneezing, and breathing complications associated with allergens. Moreover, it may subdue inflammation and excess mucous secretion in nasal tunnels.
Baking soda is a cheap treatment that can work wonders! It soothes itching, irritated skin. Here are two recipes that you can make at home:
Baking Soda Paste
Mix 1 tbsp of baking soda with water until it turns into a paste. Spread it on itchy, affected areas, leave it on for a couple of hours, and then wash it off. If your dog’s feet are affected, spread some between the toes or on top of his feet.
Baking Soda Spray
Mix 1 tbsp of baking soda with 8 oz of water. Transfer the mix to a spray bottle and sprinkle some on your dog’s skin as needed. Shake the mixture well before each use.
There you have it – some easy solutions to help manage your dog’s allergies! The bad news is that there is no antidote for allergies in pets. However, there are ways to address the various symptoms and to reduce allergen exposure. Pet parents should always keep an eye out for these symptoms and treat any itches so that they don’t lead to more serious conditions.