Hello all you pet parents! We’re back with new topics and we’re off to a very exciting start: seasonal allergies! I get them, chances are many of you get them, and a surprising number of pets do as well.
Many folks are familiar with the practice of administering Benadryl for their itchy pet but there are many holistic options you can try as well. The first step is to ensure allergies are your pet’s problem. Being itchy when the pollen count rivals recent lotto numbers is certainly a telltale sign but the symptoms of allergies can look very much like flea dermatitis, a yeast infection, or be a physiological expression of an emotional problem like anxiety. Respiratory symptoms are less common in animals than they are people but they can occur too.
Without going too much into the “diet debate,” there is a lot to be said for natural cures and true health beginning with healthy, whole foods. There is some evidence that raw honey can be very beneficial to dogs and alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies. The key is to purchase raw, local honey. It contains small amounts of the pollen of local plants that trigger the reaction. The theory is similar to how vaccines work by exposing the dog to small amounts of the problem ingredient. It is also believed there is something about the honey/pollen combination that provides symptom relief. Don’t forget that it is tasty too and an excellent supplement to traditional Kong stuffers like peanut butter and spray cheese.
As is true for humans, salmon oil offers a host of benefits for dogs and cats. Specific to allergy-fueled itchy skin, it reduces inflammation, which is half the battle with allergy relief. Dr. Becker of Healthy Pets, also suggests adding coconut oil to your pet’s diet. It contains lauric acid, which reduces the body’s natural yeast production. You can read her article here.
Another method for reducing allergies is to minimize your pet’s exposure, like by keeping outdoor time to a minimum when the pollen count is high and washing bedding frequently, as detailed in this short article from the Whole Dog Journal. Your vet may recommend prescribing a seasonal medication for your pet’s allergies, especially if her symptoms are brutal. While potentially necessary, drugs do not address the root cause and can have their own side effects like loose stools. I strongly recommend doing some research on your pet’s species’s immune system and how to support it since that is where allergies start. If your pet is struggling with allergies, please update your Sitter for your Critter professional and let us know if we need to take additional steps to protect your pet.