Itchy Furball? Try These Dog Allergy Treatments At Home
We’ve all been annoyed by the family dog scratching, especially when it starts in the middle of the night while we’re trying to sleep. However, when scratching and other grooming behaviors become incessant and start inflicting injury, that’s a sure sign of a problem. Many things can cause excessive biting or licking, particularly dry skin, which is prevalent in climates with low humidity. Another common culprit, no matter where you and your pooch live, is allergic reaction. The most common type of allergic reaction amongst dogs is to environmental factors like dust or pollen. When encountered, these are mistakenly identified by your pet’s immune system as threats. In response, your dog’s body will release excess histamines, which cause your furry friend to itch, scratch, bite and chew to the point of balding and bleeding.While there is no cure for these sorts of allergies, there are certain steps that you can take to help ease your dog’s discomfort.
The best way to prevent allergic reactions is to prevent your dog from ever coming into contact with allergens in the first place. Of course, this is not always easy, and one of the most difficult aspects is determining what, precisely, is causing your dog’s reaction. Some common culprits are dust, dust mites, pollen, and mold.Once you’ve pinned down a cause, you must do everything in your power to mitigate your dog’s exposure to the allergen. In the case of something like pollen, though, contact is unavoidable—all dogs demand their walks, after all. In such a situation, cleaning your dog’s coat with a hypoallergenic grooming wipe immediately upon returning home can remove many of the offending particles, as can a quick rinse down with the hose or shower sprayer.
Shampoos, conditioners, rinses, and anti-itching solutions are all quick and easy ways to cleanse the allergens from your dog’s coat and to provide some immediately relief to your beleaguered canine companion. Unfortunately, they are also relatively short-term solutions when compared to other measures on this list. For maximum effect (and avoiding harm to your dog’s skin and coat) these should be employed once or twice a week. Your best choices are hypoallergenic shampoos that feature aloe, oatmeal and primrose petal as major ingredients to help sooth irascible itching.For more severe cases, cortisone shampoo can also be used. There are also a variety of salves and creams that use cortisone as their active ingredient. These can be spread on sparsely-furred areas, on the bottoms of your dog’s paws and between their toes. Since the uptake of these solutions into your pet’s blood stream is relatively inefficient, they can be used without worrying about long-term consequences that come with injections or steroids. You must, however, prevent your pet from licking these solutions off once they’ve been applied.
Fishy oil and flax seed both contain omega 3 fatty acids, which have long been lauded for increasing the health and shine of dogs’ coats. Moreover, these fatty acids also effectively reduce the amount of histamines and other chemicals released into the skin in response to contact with allergens. Supplementing your dog’s diet with one of these is a good start to easing allergic irritation.If you want to nip the problem in the bud, giving dogs Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bifidus probiotic cultures as a dietary supplement when they are young may help reduce the risk of developing allergies when they are older. Later in life, acidophilus can still be given to help mitigate the irritation caused by environmental allergies.Another powerful option, especially in conjunction with omega 3 fatty acids, is biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin that has shown great efficacy in reducing allergic reactions in dogs. The subject of numerous studies, biotin is safe as a dietary supplement with no side effects or toxicity hazards.
Antihistamines are widely used in the veterinary field, but on their own are only found to be effective in about thirty percent of dogs. When combined with strategies of avoidance and with omega 3 fatty acids, allergy treatment with antihistamines is more effective in a wider percentage of the canine population.Only certain antihistamines, Benadryl among them, are known to relieve the itchiness and irritation of allergic reactions. Different antihistamines may have different levels of effectiveness, and each comes with its own host of side effects. Antihistamines should only be used under your veterinarian’s guidance.Some veterinary care specialists claim that we are in the midst of an allergy epidemic—more and more dogs are showing more frequent and severe allergic reactions. Potential causes for this include overzealous vaccination regimens, unsatisfactory breeding practices, an overabundance of processed food or a combination thereof. Because of this, it is more important than ever to take steps that ensure your four-legged friend’s health and happiness.